From the first Morning Jolt of the week:
The Trump Tryout
So, let’s see how presumptive-nominee Donald Trump is doing.
A new poll from the Republican firm Civitas finds Hillary Clinton leading Trump in North Carolina, 49 percent to 40 percent.
A new poll from the station WSB in Atlanta finds Trump barely ahead of Clinton in Georgia, 42 percent to 41 percent.
Trump is ahead, 37 percent to 31 percent… among Miami-Dade County Cuban-Americans, traditionally one of the most heavily-Republican demographics in the state of Florida. Trump’s share of the vote is the lowest level of support among this group ever recorded.
The ORC national poll commissioned by CNN finds Clinton ahead nationally, 54 percent to 41 percent. Other than Rasmussen, every pollster has Clinton ahead, usually by double digits or close to it, in every poll since the beginning of March.
But Trump’s numbers will improve once the Republican Party unifies behind him, right?
“Does it have to be unified? I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so,” Trump told George Stephanopolous Sunday. “I think it would be better if it were unified, I think it would be — there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense.”
As for the idea of unifying behind the Trump agenda, that’s harder than it sounds because he keeps changing his positions. He’s already reversed positions on tax increases, the minimum wage, self-financing, and paying down the debt, and suggested the United States might tell its creditors it needs to renegotiate what it will pay back, despite contractual obligations.
We’ve been hearing from Trump fans for the past year that he’s going to beat Hillary Clinton like a drum, that his win is going to be ‘yuge’, that we can’t put any stock in head-to-head polling during the primary. They insist “once he goes to work on her” his numbers will rise and her numbers will drop.
Well, it’s time to go to work.
We’ll have two months of general election polling between now and the GOP convention July 18. Think of this as an audition. If Trump really is the general election juggernaut that his fans insist, he should have no problem closing the current gap and improving his currently abysmal numbers. If, as we skeptics contend, he’s electoral poison, radioactive among women, Latinos, and young voters, and that voter opinions of him are already set and largely intractable, the numbers won’t move significantly.
In mid-July, the Republican delegates will gather in Cleveland, and they will face the choice about whether to continue on a path that appears disastrous, or whether to choose a different one.
The delegates could vote to change the convention rules even BEFORE the first round of balloting takes place. That’s right, in the days leading up to the convention, the RNC Rules Committee could recommend rules changes to the Convention Rules Committee. That committee could tweak the recommendations but they they would ultimately have to send the new rules to the floor of the convention for a vote by the delegates. If the delegates vote to change the rules so as to ‘unbind’ themselves, then they could vote for whoever they wanted even in that first round.
If Trump is still down by ten points or so nationally in mid-July, traditionally red states are turning purple, purple states are turning deep blue… why shouldn’t the delegates alter the rules and choose a new nominee? Why are they obligated to ratify a landslide loss?