One of the things that hurt the Tea Party in 2012 was that while they were opposed to most every Democrat and especially Obama, they also didn’t want to give money to the RNC or any national group. Big donors and billionaires had no problem contributing to groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, who spent hundreds of millions with no measurable results.
The IRS made sure that any Tea Party group smaller than Tea Party Express would be unable to use their own funding in 2012. Instead, they went from candidate to candidate. When someone won a state primary, they were supported. As the harsh light of reality fell on them, another one was selected. This went on until Mitt Romney eventually won the nomination, as was predicted the whole time.
Now we have Donald Trump. He has money, but he doesn’t need to use it. He’s poised to get a plurality in many early contests. But, like 2012, he may see a succession of different #2 finishers in different states.
Bush has wasted the most money fighting Trump, followed by Rubio or Cruz, I’m not sure. If Trump does get the nomination, my guess is that many rank and file Tea Party members won’t work against him and won’t need to worry about financial contributions to Trump’s campaign. Would Trump need federal matching funds or any funds? Could he win on free media attention alone? If he does, he could create a recession in the media industry that relies on political ad revenue every few years. That would be something to see.