According to TIME, last week Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus informed Donald Trump that if he continues to trail Hillary Clinton badly, the party apparatus will spend its energy on down-ballot races rather than focus on the presidential race.
Two GOP officials briefed on the phone call between Trump and Priebus asserted that Priebus pointed to internal party polls revealing Trump’s candidacy in serious trouble. Priebus reportedly said bluntly that because of Trump’s numerous public relations gaffes since the GOP convention, he would have done himself a favor if he had stayed at his Mar-a-Lago Club. The officials reported that Priebus reminded Trump that his title is RNC chairman, not chairman of the Trump campaign.
Trump told TIME that the story was false, asserting, “Reince Priebus is a terrific guy. He never said that.” He countered, “Why would they state that when I am raising millions of dollars for them?”
The last two weeks have been disastrous for Trump; an NBC/Marist poll taken between August 3-7 showed Hillary Clinton increasing her lead over Trump in three battleground states: from three points to four points in Iowa, from nine points to 11 points in Pennsylvania, and from a tie to a five-point lead in Ohio. In addition, Clinton’s lead in New Hampshire is now 10 points; in Michigan, 10 points; in usually reliably red Georgia, seven points; and Virginia, as much as 12 points.
There is precedent for the GOP to focus on down-ballot races rather than spend its energy on a failed presidential race.
There is precedent for the GOP to focus on down-ballot races rather than spend its energy on a failed presidential race; in 1996, the GOP figured out that nominee Bob Dole was going to lose to incumbent Bill Clinton; consequently devoting its energy to fighting for the down-ballot races. The GOP’s approach was to warn Americans about Democrats having complete control of the White House and both houses of Congress. As Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said, ”If Clinton is re-elected, heaven forbid, the last thing the American people want is for him to have a blank check in the form of a liberal Democrat Congress.”