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Eye On Candidates
May 9, 2016

Can Primary Trump Win General Election?

Donald Trump's strategy has carried him through the primary, but now some are asking how far it can take him - specifically, will what worked in the Republican nomination contest also carry him to victory in November?

Trump’s Primary Strategy May Not Serve Him Well in General Election

Since his GOP rivals dropped out of the race, Trump has stuck to basics—using his celebrity to draw big crowds at rallies, dominating news shows on TV, eviscerating opponents with insults—even as some down-ballot Republican candidates cringe, nervous about being forced to defend him, and Democrats predict he’ll be radioactive to a good number of working women, minorities, and independent voters.

The primary electorate is about 20 percent of the general election electorate. So far, Trump hasn’t strayed from a rally schedule that follows the route to a GOP primary victory, campaigning in West Virginia, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington.

 But on Sunday, day four of the general election, Trump appeared to shift to the center on a couple positions. He came out in favor of a hike in the minimum wage and suggested that the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes—maneuvers that seem targeted at general-election voters....

Some politics watchers say they’re waiting, with skepticism, to see how he builds a fundraising operation from a dead standstill, how he courts mainstream voters repelled by some of his past statements, and how he balances all the other competing demands of fighting a candidate Democrats think is much easier to defend.

How well Trump manages the process of shifting from a nomination-seeking mode to a general-election mode is likely to determine how well he fares in November, assuming the likely GOP nominee becomes the actual nominee.