The Trump Shadow: GOP Hopefuls Go Broke Trying to Catch Up

As we inch closer to the 2024 elections, the GOP circus seems to be taking a wild turn. The headline? Former President Donald Trump is still reigning supreme, leaving other Republican presidential hopefuls scrambling for the limelight. Let’s break it down!

With the Iowa caucus just three months away, the GOP “Burn-Rate Brawl” is in full swing. “Burn rate” – that’s the cash candidates spend compared to what they raise. The tricky part? Spend too soon and you might run dry when it really matters; wait too long and you might fade away.

Let’s talk numbers: A recent FiveThirtyEight poll has Trump with a whopping 59% support among Republican voters. His closest rival, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis? A meager 13%. Even with this gigantic lead, Trump seems to be playing it cool with his cash. He’s spent just 36% of his staggering $53.7 million haul. This low burn rate suggests he’s relying on his base for support in these early stages.

DeSantis, meanwhile, is in a spending frenzy. Once soaring at 35% support, he’s nosedived to 13%. Desperate times? His burn rate’s a scorching 60% of his $31.2 million pot. Looks like DeSantis is splurging to win back the GOP heart.

Then we have the underdogs. Nikki Haley, ex-governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the UN, sits at 8% support, with a 38% burn rate from her $18.6 million stash. Vivek Ramaswamy, the entrepreneur with deep pockets, has a heart-stopping burn rate of 84% from the $26.6 million he raised. Christie and Scott? They’ve got their own tales of financial woes.

But what’s fascinating? While some GOP players are digging deep into their pockets, others are grasping at straws (or should I say gift cards?). Take North Dakota’s Governor Doug Burgum, who resorted to offering $20 gift cards for just $1 donations. Yep, you read that right. And ex-Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson? He’s dangling at the bottom with just 0.6% support and barely any cash in hand.

Over on the Dem side, President Joe Biden seems to be sitting pretty, having spent only 31% of his $44.4 million raised. Other Dems? A mixed bag of fundraising stories, with some close to tapping out.

Bottom line? The 2024 GOP nomination seems to be Trump’s game to lose. As his competitors burn through cash, he’s waiting in the wings, banking on rallies and “backroom politics.” It’s an unpredictable race to the finish, and we’re here for all the twists and turns.