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Is This the Definitive Week in the Presidential Campaign?

Don Rose 25 September 2016 2 Comments

Just when you thought Hillary Clinton was on a losing downslide–due to a couple of self-inflicted wounds–she appears to have bottomed out and begun a slow but sure incremental uptick. Little doubt that she now leads Donald Trump nationally by 3-4 points again, just as the first debate comes upon us. (I write, of course, prior to that event.)


Trump still holds slim leads or ties in some major battleground states, but at the moment they cannot put him over the top. Further, the battleground states are a lagging indicator and if she continues to inch her way upward nationally, the individual states will probably improve.

As an aside here, Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, one of the most astute reporters in the business and author of a book on Hillary, noted recently that the flaws many see in both Clintons–especially lack of transparency–seems to have served them well. Both have not only survived but eventually thrived after multiple “scandals”–most of them phony but a few quite genuine that in past years would have knocked either out of the box. Yet she is currently the favorite in this race.

Needless to say, the same is triply true for Trump, whose torrent of blatant lies, disgusting attacks on people of both parties, overt racism, xenophobia and questionable business dealings have only served to place him in close contention for the presidency. It is a different political world we inhabit today.

As for the debates, I do not expect much in the line of fireworks or make-or-break gaffes on either side–though both will have their zingers. Clinton is far too controlled. Witness her daylong performance before a hostile Benghazi committee. Trump, whose main job is to appear genuinely presidential, is unlikely to risk going nuclear. If, however, anyone really blunders, he is more likely.

If all goes as I expect, Clinton will win under traditional debate scoring, but this will have little effect on Trump’s constituency, which will find him the winner short of another round of bro-love for Vladimir Putin.

Forget how the instant pundits score the debate. They often differ from the collective views of real people.  CNN may run its usual instant poll to determine the winner, which may be predictive of polls that come out by Wednesday, which are the ones to watch. If a clear winner emerges, he or she may be set on a winning course.

If it’s a fairly even split I expect Nate Silver’s 538 and Sam Wang’s Princeton Election Consortium will show a continuing rise for Clinton. If Trump really manages to look as if he could be the commander in chief, particularly convincing suburban women, he has the potential to rise again and maybe to win. But I doubt it.

In short, I think this will be the definitive week and a trend will be set at its end. That is the point when things begin to stabilize and polling becomes much more predictive. Barring, of course, the unlikelihood of something explosive occurring in debates two and three. Stay tuned.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer


  • Chuckle said:

    Bennison’s Bakery conducted an unscientific “Cookie Poll” with reference to the upcoming Presidential Election.

    920 specialty cookies were sold with the likeness of Hillary Clinton

    708 decorated cookies were sold with the likeness of Donald Trump.

    Bennison’s Bakery is located in downtown Evanston, Illinois, which is commonly called “The People’s Republic of Evanston.” The US Representative (Comrade Jan Schakowsky) for the 9th Congressional District is a crypto-Marxist who poses as an Obama Democrat.

    Hillary has reason to worry if the cookie poll is any reflection of reality in La la land. She ought to be outpolling 8-1 in progressive Evanston.

  • Jim Bowman said:

    Is the poll rollling? If so, a baker’s dozen of Trump cookies. And considering the flexibility and dream-like quality of Marxism, it’s time for the question, what’s the difference between it, especially crypto, and Obama Democrat-ness?

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