Donald Trump Can't Huddle Away With Sean Hannity Forever
This may come to a shock to readers, but Donald Trump has a solid base of support. According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, nearly 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of him, even as the rest of the country seems to detest him. But of course, Trump can't win the presidency with just his voters — he needs to convince other people who might not like him right now that they should nevertheless show up to their polling place and give their vote to him. And despite the narrowing polls, he's not doing a good enough job of reaching out beyond his base.
Trump's outreach in the general election has had some trouble. Even in moments when his polling has been relatively good, as it is now, he's had trouble getting more than 45 percent of Americans saying they'll vote Trump. His highly publicized courting of African-Americans in the past few weeks has been widely regarded as a failure. Ultimately, Trump's outreach has appeared tone-deaf towards the community, and the polls prove it. A Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll published week found Trump's support at just 5 percent with African American voters.
In the past few days, Trump has shown himself to be continuing in his plan to only reach out to voters who like him already. Since his non-press conference press conference about the birther issue on Friday, Trump has entered into a period of almost entirely speaking to friendly media (which, to be fair, considering he's banned outlets from his events in the past, his discourse already tended to be with friendly media).
Trump's retreat into Fox News makes some sense. His press conference last week angered much of the news media because of the bait-and-switch nature of the event. In one instance where a local reporter asked Trump why he relented on birtherism, he responded, “Well, I just want to get on with, you now, we want to get on with the campaign” — aka not offer strong answers.
So, Trump has avoided tough questions about a subject he has lied about, instead getting tough questions like this:
That question came from a town hall event Trump hosted with Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who has explicitly said he is "not a journalist" and is supporting Trump, to the point of even appearing in an ad by the Trump campaign. Hannity's event was billed as continued outreach by Trump towards the African-American community. Just one thing was missing: people who weren't white.
A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was rightly raked over the coals for her campaign's refusal to schedule press conferences. And eventually, the Clinton campaign gave in, and has been behaving pretty much normally towards reporters covering her since then.
But when Trump has raised things that require real questions, for the first time in his life, he avoids the spotlight.