Parscale, a Texas-based digital strategist who is relatively new to politics, had been employed by the Trump Organization's businesses since 2011. Faced with staffing a presidential bid at the last minute, he brought in some outside vendors, including The Prosper Group, to help staff Trump's digital presence.
Vincent Harris, a digital strategist who worked very briefly for Trump this spring, said much of what Trump is doing others did a year or more ago.
"I worked for Sen. Paul and we were doing a lot of things they are doing now, back in the primary election," the Harris Media head said. "But look, who won and lost?"
Kenneth Pennington, one of the strategists behind Sen. Bernie Sanders' Democratic primary digital strategy, offered this perspective: "It's possible Trump could have been a much better online fundraiser. He hasn't made a real effort. When we were really competitive … we were edging up to $43 million [in online donations] a month."
Sanders' small-dollar fundraising was perhaps the most notable of the 2016 cycle: He raised nearly $135 million of his $231 million online.
Trump has also had online fundraising success compared to his lackluster traditional fundraising. He's brought in twice as much from donors giving less than $200, much of it coming from online solicitations, but his late start has put him far behind Clinton. While her online fundraising is more than Trump's — $60 million to Trump's $37 million in online support — it's only one-fourth of her total financial support. And much of Trump's online solicitations are merchandise sails, from those iconic "Make America Great Again Hats," for instance.
Of course, both Trump and Clinton have raised money online through their joint fundraising accounts with their parties but those numbers aren't released until October. However, by focusing almost entirely on fundraising online, strategists say Trump may not have time or money to implement a digital strategy aimed at persuading undecided voters and energizing his base to get out and vote in November.