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Patricia O'Connell
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Michael Toner and Karen Trainer Co-Author Book Chapter on Campaign Finance After Historic Election of Donald Trump

July 18, 2017

Washington, DCMichael E. Toner, partner and co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, and his colleague Karen E. Trainer co-authored a chapter of a recently released book on the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Toner and Ms. Trainer explore many long-standing assumptions about the American campaign finance system, and how they were shattered by Republican Donald J. Trump and his campaign committee in the lead-up to his historic and improbable election as the 45th President of the United States.

The book, Trumped: The 2016 Election That Broke All the Rules, was edited by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley – all leading experts in American politics. The three editors contributed chapters to the book, along with Mr. Toner and Ms. Trainer, and many other respected authors – including journalists, analysts, and scholars. The book examines every facet of the stunning 2016 election, and what its unlikely outcome will mean for the country as it moves forward under the Trump Administration.

In Chapter 12, entitled “The $7 Billion Election: Emerging Campaign Finance Trends and Their Impact on the 2016 Presidential Race and Beyond,” Mr. Toner and Ms. Trainer analyze noteworthy changes in campaign spending, including trends in fundraising for major presidential party nominees and political parties, Super PAC spending, and the extensive use of online advertising and social media.

Mr. Toner and Ms. Trainer explore the factors that enabled President Trump to win the White House despite being significantly outspent in the Republican primary, and by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election. He overcame that spending disadvantage by communicating directly with voters through his mastery of social media and his ability to garner extensive earned media. The success of his campaign calls into question the widely held assumption in campaign finance literature that a presidential candidate can never raise enough money, and that those who invest in large staffs and paid advertising programs have the overwhelming advantage in the race for the White House.

Chapter 12 of Trumped, edited by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley, is made available with the permission of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, all rights reserved, and can be viewed here.