The Hill: Trump Closing Strong

The Hill‘s Jonathan Swan looks at Trump’s apparent consolidation of the GOP base down the stretch:

“We treat him like a toddler who should get an electoral cookie for not soiling himself in public,” said Liam Donovan, a former aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Then again, Republican voters seem to be rewarding him for it, so go figure.”

More than anything he has done or said, Donovan thinks Trump’s improved standing probably has to do with FBI Director James Comey shifting the public’s focus to Clinton by informing lawmakers last week of the FBI’s discovery of emails that may be relevant to the bureau’s investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information.

“Especially insofar as FBI leaks and WikiLeaks chatter have crowded out any Trump oppo,” he added, “and kept what has been dropped from getting any real traction.”

Full piece here.


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The Hill: Republican voters coming home to Trump

The Hill‘s Jonathan Swan and Niall Stanage see Republican voters coming home to Trump:

Liam Donovan, a former aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that recent polls notwithstanding, Trump’s “greatest challenge” has been his inability to consolidate self-identified Republicans.

“At some level the base naturally wants to come home, but Trump’s mouth keeps getting in the way,” Donovan said. “When the polling looks good it’s because he is performing like previous nominees — no more, no less.”

Donovan said Trump gains with hesitant Republicans only when he campaigns with discipline.

Offering Trump some unsolicited advice, Donovan said, “Put away the Android Twitter app. Let the news cycle consume your opponent instead of trying to seize back the spotlight.”

Full piece here.

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CBS News: Can Trump Win the Popular Vote?

CBS’ Will Rahn ponders a hypothetical split between the popular vote and the Electoral College:

However, Liam Donovan, a conservative columnist and former Republican operative, makes a convincing case that the popular vote is also likely beyond Trump’s grasp.

It’s exceedingly rare for a candidate to win the Electoral College but not the popular vote, of course, which is why it’s only happened three times. “But to the extent it’s possible,” Donovan told CBS News, “what you’d need is for Trump to run up the score in ‘garbage time’ within the densely populated blue wall,” especially along the coasts.

Trump would also need to outperform Mitt Romney in big blue states like California and Illinois, but “we don’t see any indication of that happening – if anything, he’s doing a bit worse as the GOP-friendly ‘burbs desert him.”

Trump so far hasn’t made up that deficit with the working class white voters that were supposed to prop him up. And given demographic changes in the south, he’ll likely be getting fewer Republican votes in places like Georgia and Texas, two deep red states that have been flashing blue a bit lately.

In other words, even if Trump does a bit better than a typical Republican nominee in places like Maine and Connecticut, he’s still underperforming Romney when it comes red states, which could easily cancel out any gains in Democratic areas. In fact, he’s currently underperforming Romney in a majority of states, a point recently made by Huffington Post polling director Ariel Edwards-Levy.

“Bottom line: if Trump wins the popular vote, the Electoral College will follow,” Donovan says. “And the sort of uniform swing you’d see there probably busts well through 270 electoral votes, in my opinion.”

Full piece here.

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