If somebody told me a year ago that the future Republican nominee’s lead in Texas would be in the mid-single digits, forcing him to campaign in the state with a little over two months until Election Day, I would have probably told them they’ve had enough to drink.
But with 76 days until voters head to the polls, the current GOP nominee, Donald Trump, finds himself in that exact predicament.
On Tuesday, at a rally in Austin, Texas, Trump was forced to spend time in a state that shouldn’t even be in question for Republicans this year.
While there, Trump once again read from a teleprompter, his new favorite hobby since his campaign shake-up last week.
The staff-written speech focused on some of his favorite themes: calling the system rigged, attacking the media, and claiming he is the only candidate who will put “America first,” although his life story shows that he has always put himself above all else.
Video of the rally:
In the low-energy speech, Trump promised to create millions of new jobs and prevent outsourcing to other countries. Of course, independent economic analysts have assessed that his plans would actually lead to a financial crisis worse than the Great Recession, costing millions of American jobs and reducing GDP.
To ensure his supporters remain terrified enough to vote for him, Trump also renewed his focus on crime and illegal immigration, which are actually at decades-long lows, but he failed to mention that.
“We are going to build the wall,” Trump instead told his crowd of supporters. “Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”
Trump also repeated his favorite lie that the Second Amendment is under assault by the Democrats and will essentially be abolished under Hillary Clinton. Not true, of course, but the crowd loved it nonetheless.
And, of course, it wouldn’t have been a post-shake-up Trump rally if the Republican nominee didn’t pretend to appeal to African-American voters by telling them their communities are “unsafe, horrible places” defined by crime and poverty.
“What do you have to lose?” Trump once again asked minority voters.
What’s sad about Trump’s Texas campaign trip isn’t just the content of the teleprompter speech, but the fact that he was forced to travel to the state in the first place.
After all, Mitt Romney defeated President Obama in the Lone Star State by 16 points in 2012.
The latest polling out of Texas this year gives the Republican nominee an astonishingly small lead of six points over Hillary Clinton. According to RealClearPolitics, Trump only leads in the state by an average of 8 points.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Trump’s campaign events in Texas are “the closest to the general election by any major-party presidential nominee in two decades,” signifying just how worried Trump is about traditional Republican states slipping away from him.
While actual battleground states continue to shift dramatically toward the Democrats, the Republican nominee is stuck in Texas trying to keep that state from heading in the same direction.
Team Clinton should be feeling pretty good right about now.