The once rock-solid grip that the president had on his party seems to be slipping. Talking with pollsters and strategists from both sides this week, it’s clear that Trump is suffering not just with Democrats and independents but also with GOP voters. They tell us of polling that shows Trump underwater in districts he carried easily in 2016. One GOP strategist told me that even in heavily Republican districts, Trump’s job approval rating among Republicans has dropped 10-20 points. The KFF poll released last week found Trump’s overall job approval rating among Republicans dropped 12 points between May and July. On handling coronavirus, the drop in GOP support was an even more dramatic 26 points…

But as Washington Post columnist and Ethics and Public Policy Center senior fellow Henry Olsen noted, just bringing GOP voters back isn’t enough for Trump to win. “Trump and the GOP are losing because independents who might have backed them have turned away in the aftermath of the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd. To win, or just to make it close, the president and his party have to win them back.” Winning them back will require Trump to prove he’s not only taking this pandemic and this moment in history seriously but is making appreciable progress in getting the economy and life back to normal. The idea that Trump will be able to stay disciplined and focused enough to deliver on this seems unlikely. He will need something outside of his control to happen. Even good news about a vaccine trial or the easing up of COVID outbreaks may not be enough. Strategists who’ve been conducting polling and focus groups tell us that the voters Trump needs to win have basically tuned out and turned off this president. And, warns a GOP strategist, Biden is a tougher opponent than Trump has ever had to face. “Biden,” says this strategist, “is acceptable for anyone with any grievance with Trump.”