National polls show that Donald Trump is currently losing to Hillary Clinton by five points or more. (Which polls? Most of them. All of them.) However, Americans should probably cancel any late summer-vacation plans and remain glued to the news, because according to Republican National Committee Chairm Reince Priebus, they’re about to witness a comeback of historic proportions.
Sunday on ABC News’ This Week, Priebus praised Trump for a “great week” in which he stayed “on message” and showed “maturity as a candidate.” Finally, with 77 days until the election, Trump is “getting into a groove,” Priebus explained, “and I think what you’re going to see is these polls will begin to tighten in the next couple of weeks, and by Labor Day or thereafter, I think you’re going to be back to an even race if we continue down this path.”
“I think he’s going to get this thing back on track,” he added, growing even more optimistic. “And also tight and ahead as we move through September.” (Emphasis ours.)
On the same program, Kelly Conway, Trump’s third campaign manager, agreed that Trump turned things around in the past few days. “This is the best week, I think, so far in the Trump campaign, mostly because he’s able to be himself, the authentic Donald Trump,” she said. “But also the pivot that he’s made is on substance.”
To recap, on Monday Trump proposed a new “ideological test” for prospective immigrants, which he and his running mate would likely fail. On Wednesday, there was a major campaign shake-up, in which Trump hired Conway and Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon. On Thursday, he read from a teleprompter and said he “regrets” saying things that “may have caused personal
pain,” without specifying which incidents he was referring to. Then on Friday, demoted campaign chair Paul Manafort resigned. Trump released his first ad, which starts with an explanation for why he may lose. He tried to reach out to black voters by telling them their situation is so terrible that they have nothing to lose. And over the weekend, Trump’s campaign signaled that he may be on the verge of offering undocumented immigrants a path to legal status, which would be a major flip-flop — though it’s unclear what he meant.
Yet according to Conway, the week was a huge departure for Trump because he’s been offering “specific plans” on topics like law enforcement, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, and middle-class tax relief. When questioned by George Stephanopoulos, Conway didn’t really clarify any of the questions surrounding the Trump campaign, from his new immigration plan to whether he’ll drop his fight over the dates set for the presidential debates.
On the latter topic, Conway would only confirm that Trump is prepping for the debates. “The debates are a fabulous opportunity to force a conversation onto substance,” she said, offering a non sequitur about lessons she’s learned in her five days on the job. “I think Donald Trump is back in Hillary Clinton’s head,” she said. “If you look at
the way they’ve responded to this week — and that’s exactly where he
needs to be, occupying serious real estate in Hillary Clinton’s head.”
For what it’s worth, Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said they’re actually having the opposite problem. They’ve yet to find someone to play Trump in Clinton’s debate prep because, “It’s very hard to find someone to mimic the reckless temperament and the hateful instincts and divisive instincts of Donald Trump.”
It’s sad that the Clinton camp has stooped to childish insults rather than accepting their impending shellacking with grace.