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Donald Trump is furious about his terrible polling and taking his anger out on everyone around him. So how do his campaign staff make him feel like they’re serving him well and save their own jobs? The answer, apparently, is to do something completely useless when it comes to actually reelecting Trump.

The Trump campaign has spent around $400,000 on cable news ads … in Washington, D.C., which voted 91% for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Even the campaign isn’t pretending this $400,000 in ads (mostly on Fox News) is about voters: “We want members of Congress and our DC-based surrogates to see the ads so they know our strong arguments for President Trump and against Joe Biden,” campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told The Daily Beast. Uhhh, dude, you should have cheaper and easier ways to be sure congressional Republicans and campaign surrogates know the argument for your candidate than television ads. Could it be that’s not really what this is about?

So the campaign isn’t pretending the ads are really intended to reach voters, but even so the explanation for the ads is obvious nonsense. Two sources tell The Daily Beast the deal: for real, this is about comforting Trump as he obsessively watches Fox News. If he sees ads for himself, maybe he’ll feel better about all of the signs he’s tanking.

And maybe he’ll feel better about the hard-hitting ads from the never-Trump Republicans at the Lincoln Project that have driven him to late-night rage-tweeting—ads that George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, said were run in D.C. specifically so that Trump would see them, saying that although “There are no persuadable voters in the District of Columbia,” he “was thinking, ‘Well, why can’t you just run an ad on the cable provider for the White House, so that some certain individual would see it?’”

The Trump campaign seems to be embracing that view, putting money into making Donald Trump think his campaign is mounting a fierce defense of him even though that exact action is taking money away from efforts that would actually help get him votes. Which is just great for Democrats, because time and strategic effort and money going to make Trump happy without winning votes is time and strategic effort and money not going to, well, winning votes. Add that to the money the campaign is wasting in Ohio and the 2020 gets better and better.

And speaking of Lincoln Project ads …

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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