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PRESSED FOR CHANGE

The Wall Street Journal issues an ultimatum to Donald Trump: shape up or drop out

By Jake Flanagin

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, a leading conservative voice in US media, has called on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to shore up his spiraling campaign by Labor Day (Sep. 5), or drop out of the race.

“Mr. Trump has alienated his party and he isn’t running a competent campaign,” reads an editorial published on Aug. 15 (paywall). “If they can’t get Mr. Trump to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races.”

The board criticized Trump for “blaming everyone else” and “behave like someone who wants to be president,” or hand his party’s nomination to vice presidential pick Mike Pence, governor of Indiana.

The Republican candidate is trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in every swing state, and by a sizable margin nationwide. But Trump is delusional about his current chances, the Journal insists: “[He] thinks the crowds at his campaign rallies are a substitute for the lack of field organization and digital turnout strategy. And he thinks that Twitter and social media can make up for being outspent $100 million to zero in battleground states.”

Still, the Journal harbors no delusions about the odds of a radical Trump reformation. “Even with more than 80 days left, Mr. Trump’s window for a turnaround is closing,” the board admits. “The ‘Trump pivot’ always seemed implausible given his lifelong instincts and habits.”

Will criticisms from a conservative figureheads in the media hold much water with the Trump campaign? Not likely—the candidate seems solidly convinced that the problem is the media, not him.