The Donald Trump campaign have spent $32m on his ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball caps © AP/Press Association Images
The Donald Trump campaign have spent $32m on his ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball caps © AP/Press Association Images

Number crunching Trump, Clinton and procurement

3 November 2016

The procurement aspects of America’s fascinating presidential election boiled down to baseball caps, Jedi mind tricks and guacamole bowls.

$3.2m

The amount Donald Trump’s campaign spent on ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball caps between June 2015 and September 2016 according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. In the same period, the Republican presidential candidate’s organisation spent just $1.8m on polling.

8,000

The number of voting jurisdictions in the US. The presidential election is thoroughly analog – there is no online voting – with votes counted on a variety of different machines, most of which are not connected to the internet. This makes it impossible to hack the vote and difficult to steal without a lot of what one consultant calls ‘meatspace’ (people in the flesh ready to commit actual crime, rather than wreaking havoc in cyberspace). Chris Ashby, a leading member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, says: “You’d have to Jedi-mind trick lawyers, political operatives and state election administrators, all of whom scrub precinct-level returns for aberrant election results, and scrutinize any polling place result that is not in line with what they would have expected, based on current political dynamics and historical election results.”

$32.4m

The money Hillary Clinton’s campaign will spend on TV advertising in the final week of the campaign, more than double its spend for the week before. Trump will probably spend about $20m and Future 45, an organisation backed by Joseph and Marlene Ricketts, owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball club, and billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, is forecast to spend $10m.

270

 The number of votes in the US electoral college a candidate needs to win to become president. The electoral college essentially allocates a number of votes to each state (loosely based on the size of their electorate) which are awarded on a winner take all basis. The quickest way to pass that threshold for Clinton or Trump would be to win California (55), Texas (38), Florida and New York (29 apiece), Illinois and Pennsylvania (20 each), Ohio (18), Michigan and Georgia (16 each), North Carolina (15) and New Jersey (14). Three presidents – George W. Bush (2000), Benjamin Harrison (1888) and Rutherford Hayes (1876) – have been elected even though their opponents won more of the popular vote.

0.5%

The share of America’s GDP accounted for by the most expensive presidential election ever: the 1896 contest in which Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Without adjusting for inflation, the costliest contest was the 2012 race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney which cost $2.6bn, which was just 0.1% of the country’s GDP.

$75

The asking price for Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s Guaca Bowle. According to the official description: “Jeb and Columba love whipping up guacamole on funday Sunday. Now you can get in on the act with this Guaca Bowle. Jeb’s secret recipe not included – yet.” Once a frontrunner, Jeb, whose brother and father are former presidents, flopped in the primaries so his recipe remains secret.

$102,000

This is not the annual salary of Obama’s dog handler, as some Republicans have suggested. This is the salary of Obama’s personal assistant who was once spotted helping the dog off a plane in Maine and was misidentified by the local newspaper as the man who looked after the president’s pooches. The story was part of an orchestrated campaign to suggest that Obama’s presidency was the most expensive ever, costing around $1.4bn a year. Actually, this suggested that Obama was a bit of a bargain. Former White House aide Bradley H. Patterson calculated that in 2008 George W. Bush’s presidency cost $1.6bn. Half of that was spent on the Secret Service and $271m on the president’s helicopter squadron. So whoever wins the 2016 election will probably cost the US taxpayer around $1.5bn.

12,888,450

The number of Twitter followers for Trump, compared to 10,126,238 for Clinton. The Republican is more active on Twitter although analysis suggests he only writes the angrier, negative ones that are posted from an Android device: he owns a Samsung Galaxy.

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