On one level, the strategic choices made by Donald Trump’s nominal primary opponents are immaterial becuase there never was a competitive primary. But this bit from a Tim Scott postmortem is amusing:
But by then, even many of those around Mr. Scott believed his candidacy had already run its course.
His debate performances were flat. His television ads weren’t working. His operation was burning through far more cash than it was raising. And his super PAC had canceled its own television ads days before Ms. DeCasper’s staff call.
There was one other detail that had been closely guarded: The man long expected to be the super PAC’s biggest donor, the billionaire Larry Ellison, wound up not giving anything to the group after Mr. Scott entered the race, according to four people aware of the group’s finances. From 2020 to 2022, Mr. Ellison donated $35 million to Scott-aligned groups, and a huge check had seemed a foregone conclusion when Mr. Ellison showed up at the Scott kickoff and got a shout-out from the stage.
Before his run, Mr. Scott telegraphed to allies that he had expected a significant sum to flow into his super PAC, according to three of the people familiar with the discussions and planning, and the super PAC wrote a budget for roughly half the amount that Mr. Scott had predicted. But donations fell well short of even that smaller sum.
I’m not really sure why you would spend that much money and then abandon your candidate as soon as the campaign starts, but I guess you have to give him credit for not falling for the sunk cost fallacy.
Retroactively, this credulous story is highly amusing:
So secret it never existed! Support that was “unwavering” until it wavered as soon as his campaign started! But then most anti-Trump activity among Republican elites is ultimately vaporware, so…