Part II of How Comte Overthrew Marx is scheduled for next Monday.
While I, or, rather, we, work on fine tuning this entry over the weekend, we will offer readers the end of week circulars.
His pulling the rug from under the media over the birther issue can only be interpreted as more bad news for Clinton: The smoothness with which he pulled it off is a demonstration of his rapid improvement as a general election candidate. Greater confidence, amazing unpredictability, a finely honed message, united with his seeming genius at controlling the political discussion all make him uniquely formidable in the final stretch before election day.
After updating our state-by-state election analysis with this week’s poll results we see the swing states breaking out as follows:
State of the Race
Compared to our rankings from last week, this current state by state breakdown is even more positive for Trump. Two states, Colorado and New Hampshire, have been moved from lean Clinton to tied. Florida is now lean Trump, while all of the lean Trump states remain in the Trump camp.
The solidification of Ohio for Trump holds important implications for his chances of taking Pennsylvania. In presidential elections Ohio has normally been 3 to 5 points more Republican than Pennsylvania. If this past trend holds true this year – which we suspect it will because the voting demographics of both states have remained stable over the years – then to win Pennsylvania Trump must take Ohio by at least 3 points.
Recent polls suggest Trump is already ahead in Ohio by at least 3. If he can expand this lead to 5 points or more on election day he should be expected to also win Pennsylvania.
The contest for Virginia continues to narrow between Trump and Clinton. This validates our recommendation that the Trump campaign not write off Old Dominion.
Michigan and Wisconsin, once considered by most pundits to be out of reach for Trump, are now beginning to show evidence of inroads by Trump there as well. Neither is as promising as Pennsylvania and Virginia. But if Trump does win those latter two, it will mean he is sweeping the electoral map.
Conway’s Remaking of Trump
The strategy of Conway to make Trump non-threatening is one of the major factors behind the poll shift in his favor.
If his debate performance reminds voters of normal Republican candidates he may become unstoppable in the final weeks.
A lurking danger remains that she collapses on stage. In that event the media would try to blame such a high profile medical episode as a consequence of Trump being too aggressive with Clinton. Trump should keep this in mind during debate preparation when he considers what tone to use against her. A calm, matter of fact one will suit him best and give him a strong defense in case the media blame him for her fainting.
We continue to see a vulnerability in his employment of Stephen K. Bannon.
As we have mentioned before, the altright label is becoming more toxic the more Richard Spencer is speaks about it to the public. Though Bannon probably does not share the same altright politics as Spencer, his mentioning earlier this year that he gave the altright a platform on Breitbart makes Bannon a potential liability to the campaign.
Bannon should be quietly retired from the campaign to eliminate a risk that Trump is knocked off message by a controversy about the altright. Even if the risk is very small, it is not a risk worth taking especially when it seems Conway is the one engineering the Trump campaign’s comeback and Bannon, who has little to no campaign experience, is not adding anything to the campaign positive enough to offset the risk his remaining brings.
Will She Drop Out?
It was inevitable that her health scare would lead to speculation about Clinton exiting the race.
How feasible is her withdrawal?
It is quite unlikely. For one, withdrawing would raise many legal complications now that state ballot deadlines have passed.
But perhaps the most important factor determining that she will remain is that the one and only reason she has stood behind Bill Clinton for four decades was to gain the presidency. To withdraw now means her accepting that she sold her life away to a disastrous marriage only to abandon the goal she has been obsessed with her entire professional life; abandoned a few weeks before an election which she still has a realistic chance of winning.
If she has Parkinson’s she may be even more determined to remain in no matter the poll results because the personalities of Parkinson’s patients often become more stubborn as the disease advances.
We can only hope she remains because she was always to weakest candidate the Democrats could send into battle against Trump.