Donald J. Trump has hired a new pollster to help him capture an elusive Republican victory in New York, his home state, two people briefed on the move said. The pollster, John McLaughlin, will be focusing exclusively on New York, polling to determine what type of climb Mr. Trump would face in a state that hasn't voted for a Republican in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
When Donald Trump recently scheduled a speech on energy policy in Bismarck, North Dakota, many Republicans wondered why in the world he didn't pick a bigger city in a swing state. When he soon after started campaigning in California, where Republicans stand no realistic chance of winning the presidential race, GOP insiders scratched their heads once more.
This New York Times article today won't improve the party's confidence in Team Trump's strategic thinking.
Though recent polls show Hillary Clinton leading Trump in hypothetical match-ups in the Empire State, the Times article added that the Republican is nevertheless "adamant" about winning New York.
As for how, exactly, he intends to pull this off, Trump isn't just hiring a pollster. Failed New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, Trump's campaign's co-chair in the state, told CNN the campaign will prevail by "blanketing the upstate region with signs and bumper stickers."
You might think I'm making this up. I'm not. Hitting upstate New York with yard signs is part of the campaign's recipe for success in one of the nation's most populous states. (Carl Paladino lost his 2010 gubernatorial race in New York by 29 points. I just thought I'd mention that.)
Note, the same CNN report added that Republican officials in North Carolina and Michigan are "yet to hear from" anyone with the Trump campaign, and the presumptive GOP nominee "doesn't have so much as a state director" in battlegrounds such as Ohio and Colorado.
When Republicans talk about their anxieties surrounding Trump's candidacy, they tend to focus on his rhetoric: he has an ugly habit of saying outrageous and insulting things that antagonize most of the country. But it's important to remember that the scope of the GOP's fears should go much further.
The Trump campaign has real financial problems as the general election gets underway, and what limited resources he has, the candidate wants to invest in things like New York polling -- as if this is a state that's within reach.
NBC News' Benjy Sarlin, Katy Tur, and Ali Vitali had a great report this week that Trump "is a candidate without a campaign," and it's a problem that's getting worse, not better.
Has anyone considered the possibility that Trump studied Campaign Management 101 at Trump U?