Trump on the Ropes? Nope.

The last week or so we’ve heard a lot about Donald Trump’s flagging campaign. Seems the unconventional candidate isn’t meeting conventional standards for what and where his campaign should be. As of this writing – June 23, 2016 A.D. – it’s a lot of hooey.

The hope among the MSM, Democrats, and the #NeverTrump rump is that Trump’s mojo ends with the primary and caucus season. A broader playing field full of independents and ethnics and women and “other” works against Trump. His message resonates only with surly unemployed gun-toting flyover country white males – who need to thumb rides to the coasts to find hourly wage jobs packing and shipping microchips, anyway.

Then there’s Trump’s supposed struggle with scale. This about a man whose business ventures are global.

Social and earned media, big rallies, and a shoestring campaign budget won’t cut it in a nationwide General Election, we’re informed. Never mind that the election really isn’t nationwide. There are red states that will go red and blue states that will go blue, even if Kim Kardashian was squaring off with Britney Spears. And battleground states, which either Trump or Hillary need to win. The proper scale is “battleground” with the betting that Hillary needs to play defense on blue turf like Pennsylvania.

When it comes to campaign budgets, the question is: “How much money do you need to win?” That answer isn’t always or often: “As much or more than your opponent.”

Hillary might raise and spend $1 billion, but once her campaign reaches saturation with target voters, what then? Bigger, better paydays for her consultants? An effective campaign needs to target persuadable voters with messaging that rings bells… that convinces these voters and gets them off their duffs on Election Day.

2016 is essentially a reelect -- for Hillary and the Democrats. Hillary is Obama’s third term. As the “incumbent,” Hillary is going to tap a lot of resources and raise bundles of cash. Trump is the “challenger,” and while he can and will raise plenty of money, he won’t -- nor does he need to -- match or exceed Hillary’s stash. He needs enough dough to get his messaging to enough persuadable voters in target states to defeat Hillary. Oh, and like any challenger, Trump needs to keep Hillary playing defense. That task appears to be in Trump’s DNA.

Hillary is building “infrastructure” to turnout the vote, cry Trump’s GOP naysayers. She’s stealing a march! 

A campaign only needs big, resource-absorbing turnout efforts when it 1) expects the turnout to be low, meaning getting its own voters to the polls or 2) believes that it’s going to have trouble motivating its voters in a large turnout election. Right. Anticipated close elections where relatively small swings in the vote can win the game might benefit from a campaign’s turnout efforts, but the variables that go into slim margins of victory or loss can be many.

Trump’s detractors bemoan Trump’s campaign absence -- to date -- of a voter turnout infrastructure. The answers to this are: 1) voter turnout in 2016 won’t be the challenge; persuading voters will be. 2) Hillary might need targeted voter ID and persuasion efforts in critical states because Democrats and independents are less enthusiastic for her. Perish the thought, but too many of them might cast votes for Trump. The culprits? Obama/Clinton fatigue, with an emphasis on the latter (not even Democrats trust Hillary). Attraction to Trump’s nationalist/populist themes. Or to protest the Democratic establishment stacking the deck for Hillary and spurning Bern.  

Then there’s the other shoe to drop. Earned and social media, which are hard to place price tags on. Trump demonstrated during the nominating process the ability to command both. Assuredly, the MSM is trying to level the playing field for Hillary, giving her more favorable coverage, upping Trump’s negative coverage (if that’s possible), and surpassing Trump’s messaging. If Hillary had given a speech about Trump like Trump gave about Hillary this past Tuesday, is there any doubt the MSM would have made Hillary’s speech headlines?

On the other hand, digital and social media are the Wild West. No MSM to police and spoon-feed content to audiences.

Let’s recall – ruefully – that in the late 70s the Iranian Revolution involved the Ayatollah Khomeini messaging supporters in Iran via distribution of cassette tapes. There was no Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and whatever else that compete with the MSM nowadays. In social media, Trump is the undisputed master, but the CW says now that his mastery is a one-off. Trump’s flare for social media won’t help make a “revolution.” Some of the very same doubters now were impressed with Trump’s social media acumen and dominance in the spring.  

For Trump, social media will continue to play a critical, if hard to quantify, role in circumventing and subverting the MSM, providing him with an uncensored platform.

One last point about earned media. Not all earned media is national, of course. Much is local and statewide. Trump would do well to ingratiate himself with earned media outlets in critical states. It provides yet another end-run of the national media establishment.   

We’ve heard this in the last days: Trump’s campaign is in disarray. Tongues are wagging about Trump firing the hard-edged Corey Lewandowski. This is the sort of personality-driven story that matters most to DC insiders, DC being an industry town. Fact is, like sports coaches and managers, campaign managers are hired to be fired. The reasons are many and varied and not always reasonable or fair. Lewandowski, whatever his capabilities, isn’t the Indispensible Man. Trump will develop a team, including a manager, capable of steering his campaign through the November 1 elections.   

Then come the polls, which we’re told show poorly for Trump – or show troubling signs. No need to go deep in the weeds here. Polls – horse race numbers – aren’t worth squat in June. Post Labor Day polls – traditionally when undecided voters begin to focus on elections – matter. Every poll subsequent to Labor Day matters even more, as common sense dictates.

As to the polls themselves, there are well done and poor samplings, either due to sloppy methodology or deliberate skewing (how the samples are weighted). American Thinker writer, Sierra Rayne, has admirably analyzed highly publicized polls that are poorly weighted. Those polls give casual consumers the impression that all is going Hillary’s way. It’s a crock. See Rayne’s analyses for more in-depth.

Finally, there are perceptions of Hillary and Trump. Trump’s negatives are in the sixties; Hillary’s float in the fifties. Or so say the polling. The bet is that come the elections, Hillary and Trump are about on par in negatives. Another wager is that if Hillary wins, it’ll be a vote against Trump. Hillary isn’t much liked or trusted. Her challenge is to make Trump even less liked and trusted.

If Trump wins, it’ll be more than a vote against Hillary – though that will be an important component. It’ll be a vote for change and Trump’s ability to bring it about.

If voters see Trump as the change agent, the MSM, Democrats, and #NeverTrump rump have more reason to cringe… and ever more reason to try to waylay Trump before November. 

The last week or so we’ve heard a lot about Donald Trump’s flagging campaign. Seems the unconventional candidate isn’t meeting conventional standards for what and where his campaign should be. As of this writing – June 23, 2016 A.D. – it’s a lot of hooey.

The hope among the MSM, Democrats, and the #NeverTrump rump is that Trump’s mojo ends with the primary and caucus season. A broader playing field full of independents and ethnics and women and “other” works against Trump. His message resonates only with surly unemployed gun-toting flyover country white males – who need to thumb rides to the coasts to find hourly wage jobs packing and shipping microchips, anyway.

Then there’s Trump’s supposed struggle with scale. This about a man whose business ventures are global.

Social and earned media, big rallies, and a shoestring campaign budget won’t cut it in a nationwide General Election, we’re informed. Never mind that the election really isn’t nationwide. There are red states that will go red and blue states that will go blue, even if Kim Kardashian was squaring off with Britney Spears. And battleground states, which either Trump or Hillary need to win. The proper scale is “battleground” with the betting that Hillary needs to play defense on blue turf like Pennsylvania.

When it comes to campaign budgets, the question is: “How much money do you need to win?” That answer isn’t always or often: “As much or more than your opponent.”

Hillary might raise and spend $1 billion, but once her campaign reaches saturation with target voters, what then? Bigger, better paydays for her consultants? An effective campaign needs to target persuadable voters with messaging that rings bells… that convinces these voters and gets them off their duffs on Election Day.

2016 is essentially a reelect -- for Hillary and the Democrats. Hillary is Obama’s third term. As the “incumbent,” Hillary is going to tap a lot of resources and raise bundles of cash. Trump is the “challenger,” and while he can and will raise plenty of money, he won’t -- nor does he need to -- match or exceed Hillary’s stash. He needs enough dough to get his messaging to enough persuadable voters in target states to defeat Hillary. Oh, and like any challenger, Trump needs to keep Hillary playing defense. That task appears to be in Trump’s DNA.

Hillary is building “infrastructure” to turnout the vote, cry Trump’s GOP naysayers. She’s stealing a march! 

A campaign only needs big, resource-absorbing turnout efforts when it 1) expects the turnout to be low, meaning getting its own voters to the polls or 2) believes that it’s going to have trouble motivating its voters in a large turnout election. Right. Anticipated close elections where relatively small swings in the vote can win the game might benefit from a campaign’s turnout efforts, but the variables that go into slim margins of victory or loss can be many.

Trump’s detractors bemoan Trump’s campaign absence -- to date -- of a voter turnout infrastructure. The answers to this are: 1) voter turnout in 2016 won’t be the challenge; persuading voters will be. 2) Hillary might need targeted voter ID and persuasion efforts in critical states because Democrats and independents are less enthusiastic for her. Perish the thought, but too many of them might cast votes for Trump. The culprits? Obama/Clinton fatigue, with an emphasis on the latter (not even Democrats trust Hillary). Attraction to Trump’s nationalist/populist themes. Or to protest the Democratic establishment stacking the deck for Hillary and spurning Bern.  

Then there’s the other shoe to drop. Earned and social media, which are hard to place price tags on. Trump demonstrated during the nominating process the ability to command both. Assuredly, the MSM is trying to level the playing field for Hillary, giving her more favorable coverage, upping Trump’s negative coverage (if that’s possible), and surpassing Trump’s messaging. If Hillary had given a speech about Trump like Trump gave about Hillary this past Tuesday, is there any doubt the MSM would have made Hillary’s speech headlines?

On the other hand, digital and social media are the Wild West. No MSM to police and spoon-feed content to audiences.

Let’s recall – ruefully – that in the late 70s the Iranian Revolution involved the Ayatollah Khomeini messaging supporters in Iran via distribution of cassette tapes. There was no Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and whatever else that compete with the MSM nowadays. In social media, Trump is the undisputed master, but the CW says now that his mastery is a one-off. Trump’s flare for social media won’t help make a “revolution.” Some of the very same doubters now were impressed with Trump’s social media acumen and dominance in the spring.  

For Trump, social media will continue to play a critical, if hard to quantify, role in circumventing and subverting the MSM, providing him with an uncensored platform.

One last point about earned media. Not all earned media is national, of course. Much is local and statewide. Trump would do well to ingratiate himself with earned media outlets in critical states. It provides yet another end-run of the national media establishment.   

We’ve heard this in the last days: Trump’s campaign is in disarray. Tongues are wagging about Trump firing the hard-edged Corey Lewandowski. This is the sort of personality-driven story that matters most to DC insiders, DC being an industry town. Fact is, like sports coaches and managers, campaign managers are hired to be fired. The reasons are many and varied and not always reasonable or fair. Lewandowski, whatever his capabilities, isn’t the Indispensible Man. Trump will develop a team, including a manager, capable of steering his campaign through the November 1 elections.   

Then come the polls, which we’re told show poorly for Trump – or show troubling signs. No need to go deep in the weeds here. Polls – horse race numbers – aren’t worth squat in June. Post Labor Day polls – traditionally when undecided voters begin to focus on elections – matter. Every poll subsequent to Labor Day matters even more, as common sense dictates.

As to the polls themselves, there are well done and poor samplings, either due to sloppy methodology or deliberate skewing (how the samples are weighted). American Thinker writer, Sierra Rayne, has admirably analyzed highly publicized polls that are poorly weighted. Those polls give casual consumers the impression that all is going Hillary’s way. It’s a crock. See Rayne’s analyses for more in-depth.

Finally, there are perceptions of Hillary and Trump. Trump’s negatives are in the sixties; Hillary’s float in the fifties. Or so say the polling. The bet is that come the elections, Hillary and Trump are about on par in negatives. Another wager is that if Hillary wins, it’ll be a vote against Trump. Hillary isn’t much liked or trusted. Her challenge is to make Trump even less liked and trusted.

If Trump wins, it’ll be more than a vote against Hillary – though that will be an important component. It’ll be a vote for change and Trump’s ability to bring it about.

If voters see Trump as the change agent, the MSM, Democrats, and #NeverTrump rump have more reason to cringe… and ever more reason to try to waylay Trump before November.