According to most polls taken since last month’s party conventions, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton enjoys an insurmountable lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump. Consequently, a number of commentators on both sides of the partisan divide have declared the race over. Clinton, they say, has won.
There are several problems with this conclusion.
First of all, the “official campaign,” won’t begin until September 26, when Clinton and Trump face off in their first presidential debate. Clinton is not a stellar debater and Trump, a seasoned entertainer, excels in these formats.
Second, recent polls indicate that Trump is closing the gap. Whereas until this past week Clinton enjoyed a 6-8 point lead in the polls, in two polls taken this week, her lead had contracted to a mere 1-3 points.
Third, it is quite possible that Clinton’s problems have only begun. Her peak popularity may be behind her. Since her nomination, barely a day has passed without another stunning exposé of apparently corrupt behavior on the part of Clinton and her closest advisers. This week’s AP report that half of Clinton’s non-official visitors during her tenure as secretary of state were donors to the Clinton Foundation was merely the latest blow.
The continuous drip of corruption stories will have a corrosive effect on Clinton’s support levels. If the revelations to come are as damaging as many have claimed, their impact on Clinton’s candidacy may be fatal.
In light of Clinton’s weaknesses, Trump’s main hurdle to winning the election may very well lie with the NeverTrump movement. That movement encompasses much of the Republican establishment – that is, the political class of centrist elected officials, opinion-shapers, former officials and ideologues. Its members have vowed not to vote for Trump even if it means that Clinton wins the White House. The fact that so many prominent Republican voices continue to oppose Trump even after he has been nominated hurts his ability to build support among swing voters.
As far as the NeverTrumpsters are concerned, Trump carried out a hostile takeover of their party.