Donald Trump pulled off one of the biggest upsets in American political history when he toppled Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday – and he did it using far less cash than his rival.
Relying heavily on an unorthodox mix of social media, unfiltered rhetoric, and a knack for winning free TV time, the New York real estate magnate likely paid less than $5 per vote during his insurgent White House bid, about half what Clinton paid, according to a Reuters analysis of campaign finance records and voting data. Those figures assume the candidates spent all the funds they raised.
Trump’s cost-effective win has upended prevailing concepts about the influence of money in American politics and raised the question of whether a lean, media-savvy campaign can become the new model for winning office in the United States.
Political strategists and academics tend to agree, however, that Trump’s performance would be tough to repeat. A household name for his luxury brand resorts, reality TV stardom, and ability to surround himself with non-stop controversy, Trump held advantages that many political candidates lack.
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