With both major political parties' national conventions behind us, we've all gotten a perhaps much-needed break from the term "delegate." But the organization Free the Delegates, part of the "Never Trump" Republican contingent, proved that the controversy is outlasting the Republican National Convention, where their movement failed to unbind delegates from the results of their state primaries. The organization created an anti-Trump ad that will air in swing states, calling on the candidate to drop out of the race.
Of course, that is not likely to happen.
The ad, which is set to begin airing in Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan on Aug. 30, features a clip of Donald Trump from an interview with CNBC last fall, in which he explained that he'd drop out of the primaries if his poll numbers began to sink. "I'm not a masochist," he said. "And if I was dropping in the polls where I saw that I wasn't going to win, why would I continue? I believe in polls." The ad, titled "Keep Your Word," is Free the Delegates' way of trying to get Trump to follow that line of thinking in the general election. It cites a number of polls and analyses which are, to put it kindly, not at all optimistic regarding Trump's chances in November. For example, they cite Real Clear Politics' prediction that Trump will lose with 176 electoral votes compared to Clinton's 362. Other forecasters, such as FiveThirtyEight, paint a similar picture, giving Clinton a 78.5 percent chance of winning.
Presumably, Free the Delegates wants Trump to bow out so that the Republican Party can select a candidate who stands a better chance of defeating Clinton in November. But it's not likely to happen. Politico reported the response of Trump spokesman Jason Miller to the ads: "The reality is, Republicans and non-Republican voters alike are rapidly uniting behind Donald Trump’s candidacy as people look for a real change agent who isn’t afraid to break up the rigged system." Heading out of August, Clinton has an average 4.3 percent lead over Trump in Real Clear Politics' national polling — with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein included. That's a gap that could conceivably be narrowed, or even surpassed, with a couple months to go before Election Day.
But in order to do so, Trump would need a lot of help from swing states, and polling isn't promising in that regard. Clinton has narrow leads in Ohio and Florida, and much larger leads in Michigan and Virginia, according to Real Clear Politics' polling averages. She's also crushing it in Pennsylvania, a state with lots of electoral votes. She's slightly leading in North Carolina, and she's competitive in Georgia, a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential nominee in more than 20 years.
The polls and forecasts may not look very friendly for Trump going into the fall, but it's not likely that he'll bail when there's still technically a chance that he could win. For their part, Free the Delegates remains active, grasping for any method possible to get Trump out of the election.