So the emperor went in procession under the rich canopy, and every one in the streets said, 'How incomparable are the emperor's new clothes! what a train he has to his mantle! how it fits him!' No one would let it be perceived that he could see nothing, for that would have shown that he was not fit for his office, or was very stupid. No clothes of the emperor's had ever had such a success as these...
It started out as observations from those who cover campaigns, especially the fundraising and financial aspects. Donald Trump wasn't spending all that much on his own Presidential campaign.
There was a kind of paradox at play there. Trump entered the 2016 campaign last year bragging, bragging that he was the richest guy on the block worth billions of dollars. Yet he was campaigning almost entirely for free. You couldn't blame him, though. The media - Fox Not-News, the other cable channels, Daily Show, late-night stand-ups, social media - were all giving him free publicity. Even the attacks were all good for Donald, as unashamed and vulgar and he was, because even bad coverage was still getting his trademarked name - Trump (tm) - out there. Why spend millions on an ad campaign when your name and face was plastered over the news channels?
As a result, Trump grew in power and position among the Republican candidates. None dare knock him off the hilltop because the party feared he would flee and start his own campaign, one that would draw a third of their own voters away and ruin every electoral chance. None dare go after his rabid fanbase of angry voters, hoping to either win them over should Trump self-destruct or to avoid their wrath.
At no time did the Party do its homework, force the issue, argue against Trump's wealth. The Republican mindset about business and wealth was that you never question it, it's always good, everyone WANTS to be rich and powerful, and no one should ever question the rich and powerful. The party leaders never bothered to call up their friends in the world that Trump comes from, to find out if Trump was really telling the truth - as though Trump was never the world's biggest bullshit artist - about being a billionaire. They never worked up the nerve to insist on Trump helping out with the overall Party fundraising, to put money down for the other elections the GOP needed to win this cycle.
And on and on the con game went. Nobody wanted to delve too deep when they had the chance during the Primaries, and so Trump bluffed his way through a gauntlet of timid, foolish, unfit candidates within a political party trapped by their own self-serving fantasies. By the time anybody could do anything, he was the only one left.
'But he has nothing on!' a little child cried out at last.
'Just hear what that innocent says!' said the father; and one whispered to another what the child had said. 'There is a little child that says he has nothing on.'
It is the prerogative of children to state the obvious. The very young do not play the games of self-deception and deceit that adults play.
Critics kept warning - not just the general voters but the Republican Party itself - that Trump was a trap: every endeavor he'd ever gotten himself into went bankrupt or failed because he wasted money, indulged on himself, refused to do the heavy lifting, or merely sought to put his name on stuff before it collapsed into dust.
Trump wasn't going to be campaigning for the glory or health of the Republican Party: he was going to campaign for himself. And get as much money out of it he could before the deal went sour.
Thing about Trump's deal-making abilities: he's really not that savvy about smoothing out things that could profit both sides. He just goes in, argues for more and more slices of the pie, bullies those who don't cave quick enough, insults critics without care, and refuses to pay for services rendered by threatening to sue and forcing his workers to settle for less.
This is not a guy who has the temperament to talk to "other" rich people about donations and financial support. This is a guy who made three phone calls to deep-pocket backers of the GOP and gave up, having failed to get one donation that the RNC hoped to get out of the calls.
And today was a horrific day for the RNC: Filings with the FEC show that Trump really doesn't have that much money in hand, and he's been spending a lot of what he did have on his family, close business associates, his own businesses, and questionable vendors all of whom tie back into Trump.
And now the entire party is stuck. The Republicans can't get any of their deep-pocket billionaires to finance a campaign the wealthy can tell is a rip-off (because they know already Trump is a grifter). The Republicans can't dump Trump - not before the convention, not during the convention, not after - because Trump has enough of a following that when (not if) he departs he leaves behind a riot of angry voters refusing any order the party elites could issue.
There's a struggle now for the SuperPACs and outside funding to carry on direct (as allowed by Citizens United) support to the Senate and House campaigns: the mad hope that they can separate the Congressional tickets from a now-toxic Presidential one. That has problems too: You can't separate the party like that anymore. Nearly every voter votes the entire ticket (if they know to: far too many leave the down-ballot slots empty) anymore, that's how partisan our system has gotten. Voters will still vote for OR against a party entirely on how that party's leadership sells the whole group.
This is where the Republicans are right now: Trump's broke, nobody's rushing in to start paying for things, they've got a convention in less than a month where the corporate backers are jumping ship, and this is all getting public in the worst way.
It's a good thing the Republican Party is already dead. Otherwise I might worry this would be bad for the country. Thank God for schadenfreude.
'But he has nothing on!' said the whole people at length. And the emperor shivered, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought within himself, 'I must go through with the procession.' And so he carried himself still more proudly, and the chamberlains held on tighter than ever, and carried the train which did not exist at all. - Hans Christen Andersen