Report: Trump tells GOP donors that New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and, um, California are in play

California, where the GOP is so weak that it just got locked out of a Senate election because it didn’t have the numbers to place a Republican in the top two in a jungle primary.

I think Trump can win the election. I … do not think he’s going to muster a Reaganesque landslide, which is what would be in the offing if California and New Jersey end up in play. If you disagree, odds are you’re either (a) guilty of an even more insular groupthink than the pundits who keep dismissing Trump’s chances or (b) convinced that what he said today is just idle pep-talk blather that he doesn’t really believe and which shouldn’t be taken terribly seriously. Although, if you’re in the second group, how do you explain the fact that he just plunked down money to poll New York? He really does seem to believe that he’s going to compete in the strongest Democratic strongholds, which is an interesting way to allocate resources for a campaign that’s sure to be operating at a major financial disadvantage. Imagine being a donor sitting in the room when Trump said this, knowing that he was about to ask you for a six- or seven-figure check to help him take the fight to Hillary in San Francisco.

Competing in deep blue states will take not just major momentum but a serious ground game. How’s that working out so far?

Meanwhile, RNC officials still aren’t even sure where the [Trump] campaign has already deployed staffers. Trump’s field organization is a patchwork of aides, some paid, some retained on a volunteer basis and many left over from the Republican primaries. While he has campaign chiefs in Florida — and solidly blue states like Washington and New York — in crucial battlegrounds including Ohio and Colorado, Trump doesn’t have so much as a state director

“States like Ohio, states like Florida, Virginia, Colorado — they’re called toss ups and battlegrounds for a reason,” [former Romney aide Kevin] Madden said, noting as few as 400,000 voters could be the difference between picking up toss up states and watching your presidential ambitions evaporate. “That’s where organization is so crucial. The ability to fight hand-to-hand combat all the way to Election Day.”…

“If you have 10 staffers in a place like Washington, which traditionally has been a long shot for Republicans, that’s 10 staffers that you don’t have in a place like Ohio and Florida,” Madden said. “Every dollar that you’re spending somewhere else that you’re not spending in a battleground state is potentially a wasted resource.”

Nothing suggests a well-organized campaign with its priorities in order quite like staffing up in Washington while neglecting Ohio. The state parties can and will help Trump on the ground, just as the RNC will help him nationally, but local Republican officials in battlegrounds like North Carolina and Michigan say they haven’t heard from his campaign yet. Why? Are Reince and his crew supposed to pick up the slack on that too?

In case you’re still in the grip of the “delegates will dump Trump at the convention” nonsense, here’s James Carville sowing discord on that point from the left.

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