In a typical presidential race, polls tighten near the end as undecided and previous unengaged voters finally begin to focus on the candidates and their policy differences. But this year, polls indicate that with each passing week, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s lead has stayed consistent, or in some cases, appears even to be widening.

Given these dynamics, one would think that Trump and his campaign would be doing a better job leveraging the awesome power of the presidency to their advantage, particularly because of the historically wide ideological swim lane that Trump has created for himself.

This lane is much more forgiving than it has been for any other Republican presidential candidate in the modern era. Much of the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy, trade and fiscal spending is at odds with traditional conservative orthodoxy.

Trump headed into the final stretch with a much stronger playbook than any of his predecessors enjoyed. He had his rabidly loyal base and the broad support of nearly all Republicans in Congress. But time and time again, Trump failed to run the winning plays available to him.