Donald Trump’s path to victory is narrowing. According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Hillary Clinton leads Trump nationally among likely voters by a margin of 47 to 41.5 percent.
That’s the good news for Trump.
The bad news is in the polling in key states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. As the critical election cycle sign post of Labor Day looms, Trump trails Hillary Clinton in all of them.
The Electoral College map should be keeping newly-installed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway awake at night. You can see this for yourself at 270towin.com. There are 34 combinations for an Electoral College victory for Hillary Clinton. There are only 11 such combinations for Donald Trump.
The most worrisome state for Trump is Pennsylvania. With Virginia and its 13 electoral votes now solidly in the hands of Hillary Clinton – the latest polls have her up by as much as 19 points – Trump must win Pennsylvania in order to get to 270 in the Electoral College. Without Pennsylvania, Trump has no plausible path to victory.
It doesn’t look good.
During the primaries, the pundits were saying – with a straight face – that Donald Trump could actually win Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, becoming the first Republican candidate since George H.W. Bush to do so. Today, Trump trails Clinton in Pennsylvania by nine points in the RCP Average and he’s trending downward.
Pennsylvania is Trump’s biggest problem but it’s not his only problem. In Florida, Trump was ahead of Clinton by three tenths of a point as recently as August 2. Today, he’s down by nearly five and also trending sharply downward.
With only 75 days until election day, Donald Trump is now counting on some sort of seismic event. He needs a revelatory bombshell on Hillary Clinton – a disclosure of some misdeed so heinous and so disqualifying that even a supine national media cannot paper over it. Given Mrs. Clinton’s history, such an earthquake is certainly possible. But it’s not a campaign strategy.
If Trump goes on to lose the 2016 election, historians will point to the week of August 1 as the iceberg that sank his ship. Trump’s mishandling that week of the Gold Star Khan family, together with a couple of other self-inflicted wounds, will be seen as the moment at which he lost the momentum he had built and carried through the GOP convention in mid July.
Historians will also note that a complacent and elitist Republican Party, a party that chose to ignore the rumblings of dissatisfaction in its rank and file, a party that derisively dismissed a clear manifestation of that dissatisfaction in the form of the Tea Party, made a Donald Trump candidacy possible.
An experienced candidate could have easily beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016. Donald Trump is not an experienced candidate.
That lack of experience led to the missteps that it now seems will cost the GOP the presidency again.
The GOP leadership has only itself to blame.