Are you enjoying the new Trump pivot? Like President Obama's pivot to the economy—coming soon to a theater near you since the spring of 2009—Donald Trump has been just about to pivot to the general election since the evening he wrapped up the nomination in Indiana. And yet, there's always a shiny object catching Trump's eye: Some Republican officeholder for him to insult or conspiracy theory to promote.
Because like most septuagenarian men, Donald Trump can't pivot. He is who he is. Which, if you're a Trump believer, is actually a feature and not a bug. Trump is the guy who always tells it like it is. Those shifty Khan people had it coming! He was only talking about NRA members using their voting power!
But now Trump has really and truly pivoted. He's gone almost 144 hours straight without spinning off into Trump Classic mode. He's even disavowing his position on deporting illegal immigrants. Sad!
Here's the reality of where the race—and I use that word somewhat sarcastically—stands as of today. Trump is down nationally by an average of six points. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's been above the 45 percent mark for exactly three days in the last year. Read that again: Above 45 percent for 3 out of 365 days.
Since winning the nomination, he's averaging about 40 percent in a two-way race.
There's more bad news: State polling suggests that the national polls are actually overstating Trump's strength. In Ohio, he's trailed Clinton in all but two polls taken in the cycle. It's worse in Michigan, where he's -7 with only 36 percent support. In Pennsylvania he's -9. Ditto New Hamphire.
But here's the really bad news: Trump has been losing in North Carolina since late June. And North Carolina is just 16 days away from sending out its early ballots. So don't go kidding yourself into thinking that Trump still has three months to turn the race around. Voting starts in battleground states soon: Georgia, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Michigan all start voting before September 30. And yes, Georgia is a battleground this time around.
So Trump wouldn't have to merely execute a giant turnaround on November 8. He'd have to pull in an even larger majority on Election Day to overcome the early votes cast against him from when he was down big in the polls.
I know what you're thinking: Okay, that's pretty bad. But I have a thought to cheer you up. If Joe Biden or any minimally competent Democrat were the nominee, we wouldn't be having discussions about holding North Carolina. Oh, no. We'd be freaking out because Texas and Utah would be in serious jeopardy. The Dems would own the entire Atlantic seaboard and we'd be elbow-deep into a realignment that would last a generation. So it could be worse.