CHARLOTTE — Back when Donald Trump was winning Republican primaries, many observers marveled that he had somehow suspended the law of political gravity. The rules did not seem to apply to him. And indeed, they didn’t — all the way to the GOP nomination.

Only in the general election has the law of political gravity reasserted itself, with a vengeance. Gaffes are killing Trump. Revelations about his past behavior are doing grievous damage. The inadequacies of his campaign are hurting him every day.

But what is less noticed is that the sheer unimaginative, competent conventionality of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is killing Trump, too. On the stump, Clinton is following all the rules that Trump ignores. She is doing it the old-fashioned way — in a style that doesn’t thrill even her supporters but makes her seem a safe and solid choice in an election in which most voters don’t seem inclined to gamble.

“Maybe it’s kind of a woman thing,” Clinton said at an appearance here at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Sunday evening. “We make lists, right? We make our lists, and then we try to figure out what we’re going to get done and cross it off.” That’s exactly what Clinton is doing in her campaign, and it’s what she did in Charlotte, the biggest city in perhaps the most critical swing state in the nation. She had a list, and she methodically followed it.

Pick a popular Charlotte city councilman, James Mitchell, to give an introduction? Cross it off.

Pick a popular North Carolina state senator, Jeff Jackson, to give another introduction? Cross it off.

Feature Josh Stein, the Democrats’ candidate for state attorney general? Cross it off.

Feature Linda Coleman, the Democrats’ candidate for lieutenant governor? Cross it off.

Give an extended pitch for Roy Cooper, the Democrats’ candidate for governor? Cross it off.

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Give an extended pitch for Deborah Ross, the Democrats candidate for U.S. Senate? Cross it off.

Namecheck Rev. William Barber, the state NAACP leader and architect of “Moral Monday” protests? Cross it off.

Urge everyone to vote early, and to go to the website to find out where to do it? Cross it off.

Ask all to text “J-O-I-N” to 47426, to collect more data on supporters, even at this late date? Cross it off.

Can anyone imagine Donald Trump dealing with such details every day on the stump, making sure to feature local Republican candidates, building support among local officeholders, and dwelling on the mechanics of voting, early and otherwise?

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And that was just Clinton’s list before she started handing out promises. She had a list of them, too, rooted in an effort to surpass even Barack Obama’s record of colossal government spending.

Clinton promises “the biggest investment in new jobs since World War II.” The list is long: more taxpayer dollars for roads, bridges, transit systems, ports, airport, water systems, a new electric grid, and more.

“There are millions of new jobs associated with clean energy,” Clinton said, sounding much like Obama in 2008. “I want to see us deploy a half-billion new solar panels in the first four years of my administration.”

She promised more advanced manufacturing, more for small businesses, an increase in the national minimum wage, more corporate profit-sharing, equal pay for women, universal pre-K, “good schools with good teachers in every single zip code in America,” more technical education, and college that is free, free, free.

“I’m going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for any family whose income is $125,000 or less per year,” Clinton said, taking a page from Bernie Sanders. “Now, that’s the vast majority of Americans, but if your family is above that, I want it to be debt-free.”

And then there are the rights Clinton will protect and expand. Voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, LGBT rights, rights of the disabled. “We have to stand up for the progress we’ve made.”

And then she’ll reform the justice system.

As the speech went on, the list got longer and longer. But complete as it is, it doesn’t seem especially thrilling to voters, and certainly not to young voters, who, were they 18 back in 2008, would have been transported by Obama’s promises. Remember that excitement? It was nowhere near the campus of UNC Charlotte on Sunday.

I talked to a lot of students. As it happened, the first I approached — Meghan, age 18, Ashley, age 19, and Alex, age 18 — weren’t there for Hillary at all. I asked if they had already voted — they had not — and if they were registered — they were. Then I asked who they planned to vote for.

Sheepish silence. “Should we really say it?” asked Ashley.

“Alright, we — ” Meghan began. She hesitated a little and then said, almost under her breath: “Trump.”

“Trump,” added Ashley in agreement. Alex, it turned out, was undecided because he was unenthusiastic about any of the candidates. Ashley and Meghan, being more interested in politics, had already gone to a Trump rally. They wanted to see Clinton to get a look at the other side.

Next came George, age 21, and a friend, age 20, who did not want his name used.

“I don’t know if I plan on voting,” said George’s friend. He said he had no particular reason for not voting — it would be his first time ever — but the unmistakable lack of enthusiasm in his voice gave the reason away.

George said he will vote for Clinton. “I just don’t like Trump as a person,” he said. When I asked the old poll question of whether his vote would be a vote for Clinton or a vote against Trump, he said, “Probably a vote against Trump, to be honest.”

Next came Isaiah, age 21, and Jason, age 20. Neither had voted, and both described themselves as uncommitted.

“I’m looking at all the candidates in the field, not just the two-party system, but third party,” Jason said.

So could they vote for Gary Johnson or someone else? “That’s very possible at this point,” Isaiah said.

What about the reports they’ve seen that young people aren’t all that enthusiastic about this election? “That’s a fairly accurate statement,” Isaiah said. “That would describe me.”

Those attitudes were troubling to two slightly-older people I met, Jeremy Hachen and Christina Garner. Both are 25, both teach school, and Jeremy is running for a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives. They were some of the few people I met at the rally who have already voted — for Hillary.

I asked about the lack of enthusiasm among younger voters. Jeremy explained that he thinks Clinton is “a phenomenal candidate,” but doesn’t have much flash to appeal to students.

“Hillary is like a Ford Taurus,” Jeremy said. “Very reliable, but nobody really wants her as their first car.”

Indeed, not too long ago both Jeremy and Christina wanted somebody else; both voted for Sanders in the North Carolina primary. “But as soon as she became our candidate, we completely switched over,” Christina explained. “We support her fully.”

Joseph, age 18, also voted for Bernie, but has now settled on Clinton. “I just think that Trump’s a bigot,” he said.

The interviews went on in that fashion — some enthusiastic, more not so. Others who attended — I talked to a group, Omar, age 19, Abdullah, age 18, Zedd, age 18, and Faisal, age 18, all students — were not citizens and could not vote for anyone. (They all assured me that if they could, they would vote for Clinton.)

A couple more things, for some Trump supporters who are skeptical of news reports. First, Clinton had a good-sized crowd, estimated, perhaps a little optimistically, at 3,200. In any event, it was plenty big. Second, she looked fine. She walked a good distance to the podium — no aides around — spoke in a strong voice, and never looked tired. The event finished after 7:00 p.m., her last public event of the day.

Clinton’s campaign has the latest technology to try to identify voters, reach them with customized appeals, and get them to the polls. Democrats have led the way in that area the last two presidential cycles, and even more so this time with the deficiencies of the Trump campaign.

But the heart of the Clinton effort, as the campaign enters its final days, is an ultra-conventional, old-school, list-checking, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other march to election day. If Clinton wins — and the polls suggest she will — then the law of political gravity will have fully returned to its old place.

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