Once again, the mainstream media is shocked and chagrined over the staying power of Donald Trump.
Last week, various news outlets touted two national polls appearing to show the presidential race slipping away from real estate mogul.
The Washington Post ran a front-page story about its own poll showing Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead over Trump, all but suggesting that The Donald was on his way to collapse.
There was no shortage of explanations for Trump’s “faltering” campaign. In addition to savaging the reality TV star’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration, media analysts pointed to Trump’s weak campaign infrastructure, his fundraising problems, persistent criticism from some GOP leaders, and the threat of another convention delegate challenge as evidence that Trump may have reached the end of the line.
Some even suggested that Clinton was on her way to an electoral landslide.
The fact that the Post poll was methodologically flawed – there were far too many Democrats in the survey sample, for example — and was contradicted by a separate NBC poll showing Clinton and Trump nearly tied did nothing to change the mainstream media narrative.
And what happened? The polling didn’t hold up. A spate of surveys conducted in the wake of Brexit — the UK’s decision to pull out from the European Union – show Trump and Clinton in a dead heat again. At least one poll even shows Trump in the lead.
And nearly all of the battleground state polls still show an exceedingly tight race — just as they did when the Post was touting the results of its own biased national poll.
What’s actually happening in the 2016 race is almost the precise opposite of what the mainstream media insists on portraying.
Trump, after a month of missteps, is beginning to pull his entire campaign together. He’s fired his controversial campaign manager, and added a slew of new staff. He’s also agreed to begin serious digital campaign operations, thanks to the addition of a former veteran of the Ted Cruz campaign.
Trump’s also tightening up his messaging, downplaying issues like the mass deportation of illegal immigrants, and zeroing in on the trade, jobs and economy — areas where he is killing Clinton in the polls. And his fundraising is beginning to take off.
How has the media responded? They appear to be dumbfounded. After Trump delivered his best speech to date in Pennsylvania, where he is running strong, the New York Times devoted a scant five paragraphs to the event.
The Washington Post, which had lavished praise on Clinton’s foreign policy speech a week earlier, ignored Trump’s speech.
The mismatches in the presidential race are likely to come into sharper focus in the coming weeks. Clinton is already performing at her peak, enjoying vocal support from the White House and the mainstream media. And yet she is barely holding her own.
And there is real political trouble for Clinton on the horizon. More damaging revelations about her emails while Secretary of State have raised new questions about her honesty and integrity, doubts that are likely to grow in the run up to the election.
Trump, by contrast, is just getting warmed up. He’s weathered the worst and is not only still standing, but is preparing to advance to the next stage.
The polls also suggest that the core fundamentals favor Trump. Voters prefer the reality TV star handling of the two biggest issues of the campaign – rebuilding the economy and thwarting global terrorism.
Even worse, Clinton’s favorability rating, which had grown, is falling fast. And overall, voters rate Trump as a stronger leader and more honest than Clinton.
The White House appears to be growing increasingly nervous over Clinton’s inability to get the better of Trump. President Obama now mentions Trump almost daily in the most disparaging of terms.
And in one key battleground state, North Carolina, President Obama is about to take the unusual step of campaigning side-by-side with the former First Lady.
Obama won the state in 2008 but narrowly lost it in 2012. The state has a large bloc of African-American voters, but Trump until recently enjoyed a single-digit lead.
In other battleground states, Trump continues to hold his own, frustrating media analysts who expected him to fade. Even worse, Trump’s claim that he can expand the electoral map to include Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin is borne out by recent polling in those states.
In the biggest prize, Florida, one poll showed Clinton opening up an 8-point lead three weeks ago. Predictably, mainstream media commentators jumped on that poll as evidence of a growing anti-Trump trend.
But the latest poll released this week shows Clinton with a 3-point lead, well within the poll’s margin of error.
While the mainstream media is still trying to coronate Clinton as America’s next president, the voters clearly have other ideas.