Tuesday, a week after the election, I checked my email before 6 a.m. The sun wasn’t up, but the Trumps were.
“This is INSANE,” bellowed the subject line of an email from Don Jr. at 4:06 a.m.
At 4:07 a.m. — yes, one minute later — younger brother Eric put out a call to arms that sounded more like dialing for dollars.
“We need to HOLD the line,” Eric's missive stated. “Every Patriot needs to step up.”
I’m a patriot, depending on what we’re saluting, but I need to know what line we're holding and what I'm stepping on or in.
Come 5:06 came big daddy.
“VOTER FRAUD,” said the otherwise message-free email from the least-reticent Trump.
The email, instead, included links to where I could donate, starting at the low, low price of $5. Every email, Republican or Democrat, includes the links, which is the whole point.
This year's presidential, Senate and House races collectively raked in $14 billion, "blowing away records," reports the Center for Responsive Politics. Colorado had the seventh-most expensive Senate race in the land, $73.8 million.
It was all about the Benjamins, as in a couple of $100 C-notes, as in small dollar donors. This year nearly 40% of Joe Biden's campaign was financed by lunch pail donors. Trump punched in at 45%. (If you're curious: Hickenlooper raised $13 million of his $39.3 million from those who could only manage $200 or less. Incumbent Cory Gardner got $5 million of his $26 million from small donors, the center found.)
Trump is hawking his "election defense fund," but deep in the fine print you will learn your new donation can also pay for old campaign debts or a future race.
Trump thinks Democrats stole his second term like Kenya Moore stole Vivica A. Fox’s phone on “Celebrity Apprentice.” That's a "Real Housewife of Atlanta" versus an "Independence Day" star. Brandi Glanville, another barely housewife, was mixed up in it, too.
"They truly hate each other,” Trump told E! Online five months before he rode down an escalator into history. “They hate Kenya. Actually, Kenya hates Vivica like you've never seen ... probably hates Brandi more than she even hates Vivica, but the three women on the show are a total disaster, which I love."
Kenya denied it like a Trump denying election results.
"I didn't need to steal a phone to win," Kenya said.
"You're fired," Trump said.
Democrats beg, too, because a hound dog and foxhound are still both dogs. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper's campaign seeded my inbox with mooching, as well.
I know Hick well enough to know he'd be embarrassed by the emails bearing his name. He would never manipulate a supporter with passion but little means to pony up for a person of significant wealth, like him or Trump, via constant, desperate pleas and tests of loyalty.
Down in the fine print, where else, you find Hick's money is collected by ActBlue, a national Democratic churn that boasts of "billions raised online since 2004."
'Boo!" stated an email subject line four days before the election. "Sorry! Did we scare you? You know what’s really scary though?? (sic) Six more years of Cory Gardner and Mitch McConnell turning the Senate into a legislative graveyard.
"Eeek, we just got chills. Can you chip in $10 or more to help us reach our final fundraising deadline tonight ..."
After Election Day, Email Hick started asking for money for Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff.
Monday night on Fox News, Laura Ingraham shut down another importune from Sen. Lindsey Graham. The host urged the faithful to give to the Republicans in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoffs. Graham urged them to donate on his website, instead.
"We get the point," Ingraham said, cutting him off. "This is like a used car salesman after a while.”
No, it's something different. When I was a kid, my grandfather sent money to a televangelist in Baton Rouge to help feed kids and save souls, I think.
For the rest of his life and after, a variety of pleas rolled in like grifters on a paddleboat, because he had made a donor list. That was nearly 50 years ago.
It's all so unnecessary and riddled with bipartisan vanity, one more thing for candidates to fight over.
Without a primary, Team Trump burned through a billion dollars.
Think about that: If you spent $100 a day, it would take you 10 million days (27,379 years) to spend that kind of scratch. Among the perks, Trump campaign reportedly bought a fleet of luxury cars — bought.
“They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early,” said Trump critic Mike Murphy, a veteran consultant who advised John McCain and Jeb Bush. “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”
The monkeys did a good job. Last Sunday morning, Don Jr. wanted $5 more bucks.
"My father needs his BEST supporters, like YOU, to step up and help him DEFEND the integrity of this Election," he wrote. "He’s calling on YOU to give us the resources we need to be ready for whatever the Left throws at us."
They must be throwing $100 bills.