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Presidential Horse Race 2016: How Donald Trump can close the polling gap in the next two weeks

Heading into the second-to-last full week of the 2016 campaign there is much speculation as to how Donald Trump should approach the remaining days to try and close the polling gap between him and Crooked Hillary Clinton.

As of Sunday, the Real Clear Politics average showed Hillary with a lead of a little less than six points nationally and the picture doesn’t look a whole lot better in the crucial swing states that Trump must win in Trump rallyorder to remain competitive in the Electoral College.

One thing’s for sure, Trump must do something to steer the narrative in the race away from him and back towards the issues that won him the Republican nomination in the first place.

It’s his message that started his campaign and it’s his message that needs to finish it. A.B. Stoddard writes in Real Clear Politics, “Trump, a former Democrat who held mostly liberal positions, employed political operatives to strategically mine the GOP base for hot spots, then devised a message tailored to the moment. Onetime consultant Sam Nunberg told New York Magazine earlier this year that in 2013 and 2014 ‘I listened to thousands of hours of talk radio, and he was getting reports from me.’ Trump’s message was soon about immigration, trade and corrupt, out-of-touch elites in Washington who could no longer grow the economy…

“Trump seems to have abandoned his original message in favor of warning voters of a rigged system that will allow Clinton, Mexican billionaires, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the media and international banks to steal the election from him. And while even close allies of Clinton’s have urged her to make a closing argument about her strengths -- instead of making the campaign solely a referendum on her opponent -- she will spend the remaining days speaking mostly of him. At this point, it will likely be enough.”

Stoddard seems to think it’s too late for Trump to get the campaign refocused on his message, but I think it can still be done – especially since no one (outside of the most ardent, unreachable Democrats) really likes Crooked Hillary and the electorate is still somewhat volatile.

Some had hoped last week’s third and final presidential debate would do the trick of getting Trump back in the game. While by most accounts Trump held his own in the back-and-forth with Crooked Hillary, he fell short of selling undecided voters on the reasons why he deserves their vote. There was no knockout punch, so to speak.

In other words, there’s more than enough reason to vote against Hillary. We already knew that. Trump must work towards presenting the conservative issue agenda that will generate an Election Day wave that could give him a surprise victory.

Richard Viguerie wrote at ConservativeHQ.com last Thursday about the debate, “Trump failed to lay out a clear understanding of the two world views that are on the ballot this election. Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies’ radical agenda for America mostly went undiscussed (during the debate).

“In the remaining days of the campaign Trump needs to bypass the biased national media and buy large blocks of time and have a conversation with the American people about his and Clinton's world views. If he doesn't the national media will crush him and many other Republican candidates for federal and state offices.”

Viguerie’s suggestion makes good sense and I hope Trump’s paying attention. The Republican nominee has come too far to surrender the election to the Democrats just because the media is against him.

But instead of simply buying up airtime for campaign infomercial-type presentations as has been done many times in the past, I have a different idea. Statistically speaking, most observers would agree that Trump’s main problem in this election is with women voters who have been repulsed by his comments throughout the campaign and more specifically of late with the audio tape from a few weeks ago and the several “groping” accusers that came forward after the second debate.

Trump needs to address this women voter problem head-on in the most attention-seizing way possible. I suggest that he buy an hour’s worth of time on one of the networks and hold a town hall meeting – complete with an all-female audience of undecided voters who can pepper him with questions that he’ll answer directly.

If Trump is truly going to speak directly to women voters, this is exactly the type of thing he needs to do. Be humble. Apologize. Explain why he was wrong and what events in his life have made him a changed man.

Who should moderate? None other than Megyn Kelly.

Trump invited Kelly to visit him at Trump Tower in April where they apparently “cleared the air.” The relationship has apparently soured of late. Having Kelly moderate and maybe ask some questions of her own would be a good place to start Trump’s road to redemption.

To say such a scenario might make him uncomfortable is an understatement. But if Trump truly wants to win the election he needs to do something jarring to recapture the country’s attention ahead of November 8. And it won’t be accomplished through ad buys or through more interviews with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

While we’re on the subject of what Trump might do to improve things in the next fifteen days, he can go a long way to shoring up support in his own party by publicly showing some contrition towards his primary opponents. This is one thing that’s been missing from his efforts to unite the party behind him.

I’m not talking about buttering up Paul Ryan, John McCain and Mitch McConnell – those guys don’t matter a lick in the big scheme of things. They’re just establishment stooges who are just as unpopular as Hillary Clinton. But Trump needs to say he regrets the damage he inflicted with his over-the-top comments to Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina… and really, all of them as a group.

Voters need to see that Trump is willing to try and make amends with the people who perhaps know him best (in a political sense) and to admit he was wrong to do and say the things he did earlier this year. Mike Pence has been making the rounds meeting with Trump’s former rivals at various times but a lot more can be accomplished -- and quickly -- by doing the work himself.

Time is running short and certainly most Americans have already made up their minds as to whether they’ll vote for him or not. But if Trump musters some sincerity and his rivals acknowledge that the air has been cleared – finally, after all this time – then I can’t help but think it could make a difference.

There are late deciders in every election, definitely in this one. Fifteen days is a long time if they’re used productively.

Yes, #NeverTrump has suffered this election, but they’re not alone

Speaking of making amends, at some point a very divided conservative movement is going to have to do some serious soul-searching in terms of how to begin the process of healing the significant and deep wounds that have opened up over this election.

This isn’t something that can be done on a mass scale. Ultimately, each person is going to have to decide on their own how they’re going to approach former friends who have in some cases become bitter enemies.

The race has apparently already taken its toll on the holdouts from the #NeverTrump contingent.

David French writes in National Review, “I’ll be honest: It’s miserable (opposing Trump). There is nothing at all rewarding, enjoyable, or satisfying about seeing your beautiful young daughter called a ‘niglet.’ There is nothing at all rewarding, enjoyable, or satisfying about seeing man after man after man brag in graphic terms that he has slept with your wife. It’s unsettling to have a phone call interrupted, watch images of murder flicker across your screen, and read threatening e-mails. It’s sobering to take your teenage kids out to the farm to make sure they’re both proficient with handguns in case an intruder comes when they’re home alone…

“So, no, things have not ‘calmed down,’ and I’m always amused when people tell me that I belong to Never Trump because it makes me feel good about myself. There’s nothing that gives me pleasure about this election season. But if I can do anything to expose and oppose this latest debasement of our politics and culture, and to defend my wife and daughter, then at least I will have purpose.”

In his article French also talks about Erick Erickson, who has experienced similar harassment from the kook fringe. But nutcase posting isn’t confined to #NeverTrumpers and the so-called Alt-right. Ask Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham or any well-known conservative commentator about the threats and torment they’ve endured at the hands of leftists. Different political orientation, some unhinged conduct.

No sane person would condone such things. Simply for expressing political opinions, there’s no justification for this behavior from a very small cordon of sick people.

Needless to say, we’ve gotten our fair share of inappropriate comments here at ConservativeHQ as well, particularly in the days before the nomination was determined in favor of Trump. We gave a full-throated endorsement to Ted Cruz and fought with Ted to the end. And we’re proud of it.

But no one, including the #NeverTrumpers, should use the excuse that they’ve been abused by unbalanced creatures as a reason for sitting out this election and projecting this kind of sickness onto those of us who’ve decided to back Trump.

Speaking out in public carries a price for all of us. From family members to friends to acquaintances, no one is immune. The culture is the culture, especially these days.

Other #NeverTrumpers are blaming the greater culture for the rise of Trump, saying the gullible American population has learned to glorify “bad guys” as opposed to the hero figures in our world.

Erick Erickson writes at The Resurgent, “Donald Trump is not just the product of an outraged Republican base angry at the broken promises of its leaders. Trump is the product of a culture that has routinely celebrated the deviant as the hero and the disdainful as the righteous.

“Republicans, this year, are justifying Trump’s behavior by claiming Democrats did it first. From the left giving Bill Clinton a pass to treat women abusively because he advanced their agenda to re-writing history to claim the 2000 election was stolen, yes the Democrats did do all those things.”

I’m sure if you asked Hillary Clinton’s campaign they’d say they’re getting the same thing from Trump supporters and probably even from the leftist kook fringe otherwise known as Bernie Sanders backers.

Where does it stop? That’s the greater question. Communications advancements have made it much easier to stalk people electronically. It’s life in the 21st century. If you’re bothered by it, shut it off.

All of us are heartily sorry for French’s and Erickson’s ordeal. But the #NeverTrumpers dug a hole for themselves when they took a position early on that they can’t really defend and wouldn’t listen – at all – to those of us who aren’t nuts and literally begged them to join the effort to save the country from Hillary Clinton.

They pushed us aside and lumped us in with the crazies. That’s their mistake.

The debate will go on. There isn’t an easy solution on this one, folks. Healing can begin with some of the measures listed above…we’ll see.

The media downplays violence on the left to further the Democrat narrative

After having just finished talking about the poor treatment of some of the #NeverTrumpers at the hands of the kook fringe in Trump’s hemisphere, it’s time to add some perspective on political violence and its true sources. Reality and statistics show the vast majority of the hostility comes from the left side of the spectrum.

The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “[T]he political Right has no monopoly on violence. The media is merely more likely to downplay or ignore violence on the Left, whether it comes in the form of hoaxes or provocations…

“The Left has many violent elements that desperately need to be addressed. The media can't keep pretending the Left are just rowdy kids while trumping up violence every time it appears to come from the Right.”

The Examiner piece details several instances of leftist political violence ranging from Operation Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to the furious backlash over California’s Proposition 8 which affixed traditional marriage in the state’s constitution in 2008 (subsequently overturned by the federal courts, of course).

The Examiner Editors didn’t include any mention of the recent Project Veritas video which demonstrates leftist Democrats actively conspired to foster violence at Trump rallies. The proof is indisputable.

I myself drove past a large Trump-Pence sign alongside a busy road on Saturday that had been spray painted “Racist” in red paint. I can only imagine what Trump supporters in heavily blue districts go through at the hands of the fascist left that seeks to silence them from expressing their preferences.

It gives me hope in one sense – that there might be pockets of Trump support that truly are “silent” and will only reveal themselves on Election Day. I suspect that will be the case but to what degree no one can say for sure.

One way or another, political violence is a societal problem not confined to one candidate or ideology. With as divided as the nation happens to be at present, I doubt it’s going to get much better as long as the media keeps ignoring its real sources.

Gingrich says the polls are wrong, predicts Trump Brexit-like wave

Finally today, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the biased media has heavily slanted their coverage of this year’s election towards Crooked Hillary. Some observers, including myself, believe Donald Trump is succeeding despite the best efforts of journalists to discredit him.

Newt Gingrich is one of those people.

Harper Neidig of The Hill reports, “Speaking in a radio interview with John Catsimatidis, the former House Speaker claimed that Trump is coming up in the polls because of his staunch grassroots support.

“’Certainly the polling that we’ve seen recently would indicate that he has come on and begun to move,’ Gingrich said. ‘And this is in an environment where the elite news media has done everything they could to destroy him.’

“’So it’s a remarkable tribute to Trump’s ability to persevere and to the degree that he represents the spirit of millions and millions of Americans that he has survived this onslaught.’”

Similar to what I discussed above, Gingrich pointed out that three to four percentage points of voters might not be identifying themselves as Trump supporters. These are the people who are afraid they could face political violence from the left if they dare put a sign in their front yards indicating they support Trump and Pence.

I believe there’s something to Gingrich’s theory. Whether it will deliver a Brexit-like victory is another matter. And then there’s the question of voter fraud to contend with.

It all makes for an exciting finish to the campaign season. Fifteen days to go and the result still isn’t close to being determined no matter what the media says.

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YES!

I have written episodically/consistently/persistently [since the Indiana primary] of a mandate that The Donald must atone - here and elsewhere - so it's great to notice that you feel "he can go a long way to shoring up support in his own party by publicly showing some contrition towards his primary opponents."

That's why upwards of 6M GOP-base voters are "not yet trump" [rather than "never trump"], for he has not apologized with specificity.

People are starting to vote; time is expiring!