I know that one should not get cocky until after the election results are in, but as a former Republican who is disgusted with what the GOP has become, I can't help but take some glee in the panic and despair raking GOP insiders over what Donald Trump. My favorite comment comes from an Iowa Republican: "'Trump is under performing so comprehensively...it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America’'
Republican insiders are more convinced than Democrats that Donald Trump is so far behind Hillary Clinton that he can't win in November.
Roughly half of Republican members of The POLITICO Caucus — activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states — believe that Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is basically shut off after another week in which the GOP nominee appears to have ceded ground in national and most battleground state polls.
Democrats, however, aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. Seventy-two percent of Democratic insiders said despite Clinton’s clear advantage at this stage of the race, the presidential election isn’t effectively over.
“While it's true that previous candidates have come back from greater deficits to win, it won't happen in 2016. The electorate is far more base-driven, with fewer persuadables,” said an Iowa Republican. “Trump is under performing so comprehensively across states and demographics it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America!’
“Trump has failed to demonstrate he has a plan and path to 270” electoral votes, added a Wisconsin Republican. “Considering the disadvantage a GOP candidate starts with, the work in key targeted states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania has to be error-free. There is no evidence that Trump has done that or that he has much of a ground game to begin with.”
Slightly fewer than half of Republican Caucus panelists, 47 percent, said Trump is right to suggest his participation could hinge on the dates, times, identities of the moderators and other details — while 53 percent said Trump is making a mistake by not committing to the debates without conditions.
Other Republicans agreed with the overwhelming majority of Democrats, 85 percent, who said threatening to hold out of the debates was a mistake. One Michigan Republican said Trump “looks petty and scared.” Two Florida insiders — one from each party — called the GOP nominee “chickens---t.”
Added an Iowa Republican: “Someone has failed to teach Trump the basics of candidate school. He doesn't understand that he's no longer negotiating with [RNC chair] Reince [Priebus] and a single cable network. This is an entirely different thing. And leaving an empty chair against Hillary would be a complete disaster. He would look weak and scared and like a loser, which he would never allow around his brand. It would literally put a wooden stake in the heart of his entire campaign.”