[T]he Republican race has not only defied “momentum” but often contradicted it. Whenever Trump seemed to be on a glide path to the nomination (such as after Super Tuesday or March 15), he’s had a setback. When he’s seemed to be vulnerable (such as after losing Iowa or Wisconsin), he’s rebounded.
This maybe — or probably — is just our reading too much into noisy data. But it’s possible there’s some sort of thermostatic effect at work. When Trump seems to be on the verge of becoming the presumptive nominee, there’s more focus on his awful general election numbers; meanwhile, the media’s incentives for covering him change, with the possibility of Trump imploding at a contested convention becoming a more attractive story than the man-bites-dog narrative of Trump winning the nomination in the first place. When Trump seems to be in trouble, conversely, Republicans are forced to contemplate the problems of a contested convention and the inadequacies of Cruz and Kasich, and the media becomes more eager to tell a Trump comeback or pivot story.
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