Donald Trump could have a surprising prolem during his campaign: money. Several of the biggest GOP donors, including billionaires Ken Griffin and Steve Schwarzman, have already said they won't back him. Griffin is already committed to Ron DeSantis. Schwarzman and others are probably not far behind. On Friday, Robert and Rebekah Mercer said they have also had it with Trump. Charles Koch was never interested in Trump.
If all the big donors bail, Trump will have to depend on small donations, which DeSantis will also have, in addition to the megayacht set. This is likely to mean that in a primary, DeSantis could have as much money as Trump, maybe more.
Trump already has $110 million is one of his PACs, but by law he can't use that for his campaign because it was collected for other purposes. Using it would be illegal, but since when has that stopped him? That said, if he flouts the law, that could encourage DeSantis to do the same thing in the primaries. It could also come back to haunt him, eventually, particularly if he doesn't win the election and doesn't get the strange deference the DoJ gives to presidents.
Now that Trump is formally a candidate, he will be on the hook for legal fees for cases in New York, Georgia, and D.C. Since he will have to pay those out of his own pocket, he may not be willing to fund his own campaign, as he did in 2016 (and did not do in 2020), so money could become a serious issue for him.
Of course, every Republican voter knows who Trump is, so he doesn't need the publicity whereas DeSantis is less well known and will have to spend big time just to become known. Nevertheless, Trump having a money problem would be something new for him. Well, it would be new for him in politics, at least. (V)