By Dave Andrusko
I have observed presidential politics since I was a freshman in high school and watched the Kennedy/Nixon debates and have been active in the rough and tumble of grassroots politics since the mid-1960s.
Why mention this? Simple because in all that time, I have never seen a presidential contest that even begins to rival Donald Trump versus the matriarch of the International Abortion Establishment, Hillary Clinton, for complexity, unpredictability, and the ever-rising level of media venom spewed toward one contestant, Mr. Trump.
Mrs. Clinton is ahead in most polls but not nearly as far as you might think. Let’s think through the contest which shall likely decide the composition of the Supreme Court for decades, 75 days out from election night.
Here are six considerations.
#1. Never, ever forget that every poll shows that Mrs. Clinton is personally deeply unpopular and not considered either honest or trustworthy.
#2. The negative impact of the overlapping scandals (private e-mailer server/Clinton Foundation] that have dogged Clinton can only worsen. Virtually every few days we learn something disconcerting about Clinton’s use of a personal email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Even loyal partisans, such as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, are unnerved by an AP story which reviewed Clinton calendar as Secretary of State.
It revealed, “At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.”
After making the obligatory qualifiers — correlation is not causation — Cillizza wrote
But, COME ON, MAN. It is literally impossible to look at those two paragraphs and not raise your eyebrows. Half of all of the nongovernmental people Clinton either met with or spoke to on the phone during her four years at the State Department were donors to the Clinton Foundation! HALF.
#3. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s new campaign manager, is pro-life through and through.
#4. When you read the polls, look particularly closely at the ones that include Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Given how unhappy many people are with the Trump/Clinton choice, the numbers voting for the alternatives likely will increase.
Dana Milbank, another reliable Democratic columnist at the Washington Post, is really nervous about Stein (“From Jill Stein, disturbing echoes of Ralph Nader”).
There are the obligatory shots at Trump before and after the isn’t-she-a-nice-old-woman-but put-down of Stein. Milbank then writes
In ordinary times, a voice such as Stein’s contributes to the national debate. But these are not ordinary times. Trump’s narrow path to the presidency requires Stein to do well in November, and polls indicate Trump does better with her in the race.
#5. Trump is famous, or infamous, for putting little stock in the traditional ground game of identifying and getting supporters to the poll. But not the Republican National Committee.
A story written by Ben Schreckinger for POLITICO dealt with another under-the-radar development you virtually never hear about under the headline “Hope for Trump: GOP winning registration race in key states: In Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina, more new voters identify as Republican.”
#6. We will not know until the Election Day results are thoroughly analyzed if there really was/is a vote for Trump that traditional polling techniques are missing. If it proves to be true, the work of Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Salena Zito will be cited and cited again.
She has toured Pennsylvania from one end to the other. Speaking of one small town, for example, she wrote
In Ruffsdale, I am pretty sure I saw more than 100 Trump signs.
It’s as if people here have not turned on the television to hear pundits drone on and on about how badly Trump is losing in Pennsylvania.
It’s not just visual: In interview after interview in all corners of the state, I’ve found that Trump’s support across the ideological spectrum remains strong. Democrats, Republicans, independents, people who have not voted in presidential elections for years — they have not wavered in their support.
Final thought. When you can, go to RealClearPolitics.com and look at the state polling results, not the national. And–again–please check those polls that include Johnson and Stein.