Donald Trump returns to Anaheim, California — a city that earlier this year tried to pass an official resolution against him — for a huge lunchtime rally Wednesday. Trump has apparently set his sights on undermining support for Hillary Clinton in California, the state whose 55 electoral votes make it the biggest prize in the general election.
— Dennis Romero (@dennisjromero) May 21, 2016
As the only Republican candidate still in the race, Trump does not need to campaign for the California primary on June 7, and in terms of the general election, the state would appear to be unwinnable for Trump. In a KABC/SurveyUSA poll released on Monday, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 14 percentage points in California and by 23 points in the Real Clear Politics average of all polls pitting Trump against Clinton in the Golden State.
If he wants to win the general election in November, Trump would need to win “swing” states such as Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, and Ohio with 18. Clinton now holds only a small lead in both states, one that Trump could, and must, reverse if he has any hope of winning the White House in November.
Instead, Trump is returning to southern California, to Anaheim, a city that its own hometown weekly newspaper, the Orange County Weekly, calls “by far one of the most riot-happy cities in Southern California.”
When the Anaheim city council debated a resolution that would officially condemn Trump in April, angry confrontations between his supporters and anti-Trump protesters ensued, resulting in protesters being pepper-sprayed, as in the video below, and a series of physical confrontations between pro- and anti-Trump groups.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to heat up his rhetoric, as seen in the following interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News in the video below.
For Donald Trump, his latest foray into California comes after a series of polls appeared to show that he had closed the gap in his race for the White House against Hillary Clinton. After the recent polls, the Real Clear Politics polling average showed the Trump vs. Clinton race basically tied, with Trump holding a lead of 0.2 of a percentage point.
The bump in the polls gave Trump a new sense of momentum in his campaign. However, professional pollsters, while acknowledging that Trump had made genuine gains, cautioned that the new polling should not be taken too seriously. They attributed some of Clinton’s apparent weakness to the fact that she is still engaged in a primary battle with a vocal and divisive opponent in Bernie Sanders, whose supporters have made a show of saying they will withhold their votes from Clinton.
“We’re at the height of the animosity between Clinton and Sanders, and that explains some of this,” Jim Williams, of Public Policy Polling told the online news site Vox. “This is when you’re going to get people stomping their foot and saying, ‘No, I’m not going with Hillary.'”
CBS polling director Kathy Frankovic added that polls taken in May, while they give a snapshot of how voters are feeling at the moment, have very little value in predicting how an election will go in November.
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“You’re worrying or celebrating prematurely,” Frankovic told Vox. “You can look for signs and explanations as to why things are the way they are, but you have to be aware that you’re looking at a lot of people who haven’t decided yet.”
Polls do not become meaningful until around Labor Day, Frankovic believes.
After leaving Anaheim, Donald Trump heads to Billings, Montana, for another rally that will stream live on Thursday.
[Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images]