The Election Obviously Isn’t Over Now

I observed a couple of weeks ago that the Hillary Clinton campaign seemed to be treating the election as already won. ¬†Well, that’s changed: ¬†the danger of a Trump victory is back.

In reality, the letter that FBI director James Comey sent to Congress this past Friday, October 28, should have been a complete non-event. ¬†Here’s the letter; please click and read it to see how little real information it has, or even claims to have. ¬†But the Republicans–not just Trump, but the party in Congress as well–are treating it as shocking new revelations, with Trump calling it “bigger than Watergate,” and House Speaker Paul Ryan trying to claim that the FBI is finally doing the right thing after having done the wrong thing before. ¬†Now again, I see¬†absolutely nothing in that letter to justify any such reactions–feel free to disagree with me on that when you read the letter–but what matters in an election is not the reality but the perception.

So, the big question is, how much of the voting public is going to¬†perceive that startling new revelations of untrustworthiness have just come out about Hillary Clinton? ¬†That remains to be seen. ¬†Looking at Nate Silver’s statistical updates won’t tell us anything for a few days, because even when it says “updated 5 minutes ago,” that doesn’t mean that you’re getting a reading of what the situation was 5 minutes ago; you’re getting more of a reading of what was going on four or five days ago. ¬†If you click it now, you’ll see Hillary’s probability ratings declining. ¬†That’s been the case for days, and the FBI letter has not yet made a difference here. ¬†¬†As of Sunday, October 30, she’s in the high 70s (we’re talking percentage probability, not projected vote share); just a few days ago she was in the ¬†high 80s. ¬†And again, we do not yet know how the FBI letter will affect these estimates, because it takes days for Nate Silver’s blog to catch up with new changes.

Nate Silver also has an article here¬†about how the Hillary Clinton campaign may respond in the coming days. ¬†Already, the campaign is calling on the FBI to disclose the whole thing, in order to indicate that Hillary Clinton doesn’t think she has anything to hide on the matter. ¬†Silver also speculates that the Clinton campaign may be sitting on a more shocking Trump scandal, waiting for the right moment to release it, but I would not count on that, because I see a strong possibility that what we’ve already learned may well be all that’s coming. I happen to think what we know about Trump is bad enough as it is, but almost half the country seems to disagree.

Three states to watch are Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. ¬†The newest polls show Clinton and Trump at close to a tie in Florida, a state that Trump absolutely has to win if he’s to have a chance at winning the election. ¬†As for Pennsylvania, the state where I’ve done some volunteering, Hillary is ahead there, but if Trump could make a comeback before he can make one again. ¬†With Trump showing a chance of winning Florida, Hillary Clinton needs to keep her lead in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina, because if Trump takes either one of those states along with Florida, he can win. ¬†(Politico story.)

There’s one more factor that I haven’t seen mentioned in the news outlets, but that I consider a real one. ¬†Trump himself may come out with a tweet this week that outdoes his other ones in offensiveness and obnoxiousness. ¬†Because I have never been convinced that Trump was serious about wanting to win this election, I see no reason why he’ll feel the need to restrain himself now. ¬†Obviously, I’d be in way over my head if I claimed to actually know what’s going on inside that man’s head, but as you’ve heard me say, I have never really been convinced that he cared about winning, or even waned to win.

I am not enjoying this year. ¬†It’s going to be a bad memory for me. ¬†But it is always good to see all of you, and I strongly urge you to post some comments here and on the discussion board. ¬†And, of course, there’s a line of links to the latest news stories at the right of this OpenLab page.





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