Though many many mainstream media members and their allies in the “Never Trump” movement believe Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in to win in November, the New York Times editorial board seems a bit unnerved that Clinton is not polling ahead of Trump by a greater margin.
In a July 1 editorial, the Times argued that part of Clinton’s challenge in the general election is “not to underestimate Mr. Trump’s continuing appeal to aggrieved working-class voters.”
Ahead of Clinton’s Tuesday appearance in the Tar Heel State with President Barack Obama, the Times specifically focused on the important swing state, where Trump is essentially tied with Clinton even though Clinton has approached swing states like North Carolina “with a traditional mix of advertising, rallies and grass-roots outreach” while Trump is “largely depending on rallies, Twitter and free media promotion” because he “has no money for ads, about one-tenth the staff of the Clinton campaign and, so far, only sketchy plans to address either problem.”
The Times frets that while “Clinton holds a double-digit lead in some national polls, in others she leads by low single digits. And though Mr. Trump’s numbers have fallen, Mrs. Clinton’s have not risen by a corresponding amount.”
The outlet warns that “Trump will not remain tapped-out and off the air for long” and his “continuing popularity despite his flailing performance is a strong signal that” Clinton “will have to raise her retail politics game quickly to prevail.”
The Times also acknowledged that Trump’s “fiery talk against foreign trade agreements and his calls to ban Muslim and Mexican immigrants resonate among disaffected blue-collar workers and rural residents” and while “some Trump voters say that while his outlandish statements concern them, his freewheeling campaign speaks to their irritation with politics, government and ‘political correctness.’”
Trump wins on matters of the heart and the Times points out Clinton’s “uninspiring” campaign theme of “Stronger Together” has “struggled at times to move from poll-tested to passionate.” The Times points out that when Clinton last appeared in North Carolina, she gave a “thoughtful presentation of issues” but her speech “wasn’t rousing.” Trump is directly appealing to working-class Americans by framing the election as a choice between Americanism and globalism, and Clinton’s allies have acknowledged that trade may be her Achilles’ heel in this election.
The Times’s lack of certainty about November’s outcome is a concession that none of Trump’s numerous self-inflicted wounds have been fatal and the mainstream press have not been able to knock out Trump.