The Lid: 89 Days Out, Trump Campaign Remains Pivot Free

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… The ongoing Olympic games have us longing for a simpler time, back when we could debate the optics of a politician’s equestrian dressage hobby instead of whether one candidate called for a violent uprising against another. #TBT

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‘16 from 30,000

If you adhere to the dusty old rules of politics, you know that the winner of each party’s primary election is supposed to charge into the general election with that classic cliché move lovingly known as “the pivot.” But the political norm is getting some strange variations this cycle, with both candidates declining to bow to the political center when it comes to key parts of their campaigns. We got a vivid reminder of that today from Donald Trump, who was characteristically blunt when telling TIME about his reluctance to change his style now that’s not just talking to GOP primary voters. “I am listening to so-called experts to ease up the rhetoric, and so far, I’m liking the way I ran in the primaries better,” he said, perhaps overestimating the gentleness of his recent statements about ISIS and the Second Amendment. “I got more votes than anybody in the history of the primaries, I got 14 million votes and won most of the states. But I’m now listening to people that are telling me to be easier, to be nicer, be softer. That’s OK, and I’m doing that. Personally, I don’t know if that’s what the country wants.”

On the slightly more traditional side of the 2016 aisle, Hillary Clinton *IS* trying to appeal to Trump-wary Republicans and independents, publicizing the endorsements of big-name GOP defectors on an almost daily basis now. But those endorsements are almost exclusively based on her fitness for the job over an unpredictable and inexperienced nominee, rather than on the ideas she actually espouses. In fact, when it comes to economic policy, we learned again today that she’s giving no ground at all. As our colleague Alex Seitz-Wald notes, Clinton doubled down on progressive causes in her economic policy speech, offering no nods to “grand bargain”-type compromises on the deficit or entitlements.. As Seitz-Wald notes, “Clinton has paid no price for the leftward shift, since Trump is more interested in litigating her character than her policy in any kind of traditionally ideological way. Trump's own rhetoric on taxes and spending have undercut his and other Republicans' ability to tag Clinton as, say, a tax-and-spend liberal.”

Programming note: The Lid, like our big sib First Read, is taking a break from publishing on Fridays in August. But we WILL recommend a great weekend read instead! Don’t miss an inside look at the life of our very own Trump campaign correspondent, Katy Tur. Katy has been covering the Trump campaign for NBC News since the very beginning. She wrote about her experiences for Marie Claire here -- a must read for campaign junkies.



“It’s a fire hose. He can set himself on fire at breakfast, kill a nun at lunch and waterboard a puppy in the afternoon. And that doesn’t even get us to prime time.”

-- Senior Clinton adviser to TIME, talking about compiling opposition research against Trump.


Donald Trump campaigns in Erie and Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Bill Clinton speaks to the Asian American Journalists Association in Las Vegas.