(NYTIMES) — Of all the ways Donald Trump has shocked the political system, one of the most significant is how he wins primary after primary with one of the smallest campaign budgets.
He still doesn’t have a super PAC. He skimped on ground organization and field offices. Most important, he spent less on television advertising — typically the single biggest expenditure for a campaign — than any other major candidate, according to an analysis by SMG Delta, a firm that tracks television advertising.
But Mr. Trump is hardly absent from the airwaves. Like all candidates, he benefits from what is known as earned media: news and commentary about his campaign on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on social media. Earned media typically dwarfs paid media in a campaign. The big difference between Mr. Trump and other candidates is that he is far better than any other candidate — maybe than any candidate ever — at earning media.
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