Donald Trump’s primary playbook leading him out of bounds

From The Associated Press:

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — In the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s long been an article of faith: The rules of political gravity don’t apply to Donald Trump.

Maybe now they do.

After winning state after state while bouncing between controversies in the GOP primaries, Trump is still stumbling on the stump. His latest unforced mishap: an off-hand remark that critics quickly slammed as a suggestion that gun-rights backers should take a literal shot at Hillary Clinton should she win the White House.

But rather than continuing to float above the criticism, Trump is losing ground in preference polls and alienating prominent Republicans by the day. Even some of his supporters worry Trump’s lack of a filter is hurting his White House chances, a concern they say has only grown in recent weeks.

“You’d think it would be pretty simple for a grown man to keep his mouth shut sometimes,” said Seth Walls, 18, a landscaper from Whitetop, Virginia, who attended his first Trump rally on Wednesday. “These Twitter rants and things he does in the media, I definitely think it’s hurting him.”

With early voting set to begin next month in several states, time is running short for Trump to make a major change in his approach. As he did in the primaries, the billionaire continues to dismiss guidance from senior Republicans, in and out of his campaign. He has yet to return to running television ads even as Clinton fills the airwaves, and leads a campaign team that remains badly understaffed.

But it’s not a surprise the latest flap springs from a Trump rally, the centerpiece of …

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