Trump, who prides himself on his loyalty to staff, is showing a reluctant acceptance that the team that brought him this far might not be suited to the rough-and-tumble race against Clinton. While polls show Trump competitive with the likely Democratic nominee, even his most defensive advisers acknowledge that national polls at this point are meaningless and a waste of money this far from voting. Trump’s team expects the polls to tighten—if not flip to Clinton’s favor—as voters are presented something more than a theoretical choice between the two New Yorkers. A real campaign is going to be needed.
Trump, too, is showing signs he’s shifting from the ad-hoc operation that has logged wins through his media savvy. A sign that Trump’s machine is maturing, he has opened three offices in Delaware, ahead of next week’s primary. And next week, Trump is slated to deliver what advisers are describing as a foreign policy address at Washington’s National Press Club.
It’s not clear that Trump’s supporters will react fondly to the shift. After all, independent vendors outside his event on Friday were still selling T-shirts silkscreened with this gem: “Ted Cruz sucks. Hillary Clinton swallows.” Another offering urges supporters to “Trump That Bitch.” Trump’s appeal has been that he refuses to conform, that he does everything that he can to be provocative, if not offensive.