What Trump is Going to Change: Nothing

Despite bad poll results and Republican defections, he thinks he’s winning.

Continuing with my earlier theme about a potential electoral college landslide in November, Stuart Rothenberg writes that – at this point – Donald Trump needs a miracle to pull this one off.

Three months from now, with the 2016 presidential election in the rearview mirror, we will look back and agree that the presidential election was over on Aug. 9th.

Of course, it is politically incorrect to say that the die is cast.

Journalistic neutrality allegedly forces us to say that the race isn’t over until November, and most media organizations prefer to hype the presidential contest to generate viewers and readers rather than explain why a photo finish is unlikely.

But a dispassionate examination of the data, combined with a coldblooded look at the candidates, the campaigns and presidential elections, produces only one possible conclusion: Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in November, and the margin isn’t likely to be as close as Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney.

Both Paul Waldman and Ezra Klein hint at the m-word (momentum) when it comes to Trump – and not in a good way. Here is Waldman explaining why it is possible that we’ll see a continuing stream of Republican defections from their candidate.

If Trump continues to trail badly in the polls, that changes the calculation as well. Up until now, elected officials making this calculation would wonder what would happen if they defected and Trump won. Would they get a primary challenge from the right? Would the Trump administration shut them out? Those could be serious consequences. But if Trump winning looks like a remote possibility, then a different scenario looms much larger: Trump loses, the party descends into recriminations, and who comes out looking good? It might well be those who refused to back him, and did so as early as possible.

Far be it from me to attempt to get inside Trump’s head to figure out what he’s thinking about all of this. So let’s take a look at what he’s actually doing to turn it around. Yesterday he read a speech about his proposed economic policy. All you need to know about it is the fact that Steve Forbes LOVED it. So perhaps Trump has done what he needed to do to win back his big money donors. But beyond that…not much.

All spring and summer we’ve been hearing that he is about to ramp up his ground game. In the crucial state of Florida – we’re supposed to now believe that is just around the corner.

Right now, Trump’s campaign has just one field office open, its Sarasota headquarters. But the Trump campaign is about to rapidly ramp up and have 25 offices open throughout the state by early September, said Karen Giorno, a senior adviser for Trump’s campaign who runs his Florida operation.

When it comes to advertisements, Mark Murray has the scoop.

Nearly $100 million has been spent on general-election TV advertisements in the presidential race since the primary season ended, but Donald Trump’s campaign still hasn’t spent a single cent on one of them.

I guess we’re supposed to believe that this unconventional candidate is going to pull a miracle out of his hat by continuing to rely on big rallies and free media. It is important to remember that free media is usually doled out because Trump said something outrageous at one of his big rallies. And today, the candidate said that he’s not about to change the formula.

Asked by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo what his campaign needs to do to escape from the polling hole it has sunk into, Trump said his campaign needs only “steadiness” and for him to continue “just doing what I’m doing.”

As he often does, Trump pointed to the size of the crowds at his rallies as evidence that his campaign is successfully reaching voters.

“I certainly don’t think it’s appropriate to start changing all of a sudden when you’ve been winning,” he said. “I mean I’ve beaten many people, and now we’re down to one. And we’ll see how it all works out, but I think it’s going to work out well.”

There you have it folks. Either Trump doesn’t really want to win or he is so hermetically sealed inside his own narcissistic bubble that he can’t see reality. I report…you decide.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.