This election is the terrible Christmas gift that just keeps on giving. At about half a dozen junctures in the last few months, I was ready to throw up my hands and call the election over. But I knew better after writing off Donald Trump earlier in this campaign. With the FBI re-opening its investigation of Hillary Clinton less than two weeks before voters go to the polls, this election is back and better (worse) than ever.
You really have to feel for Clinton at this point; it finally looked like she had the race in the bag. She was looking great in polls and was facing fewer and fewer questions about her personal email scandal. But thanks to the emails seized in the separate case of Anthony Weiner, former congressman, sexual miscreant and ex-husband of a leading Clinton staffer, the investigation is back on. Top marks to whoever is writing this election script; nobody could have expected this twist in the finale.
I am not one for conspiracy theories, but I do not particularly like the timing and vagueness of the FBI’s announcement. To be fair, it is better than announcing after the elections as voters should have as much information as possible before Election Day. Of course, nothing has been announced yet that incriminates Clinton from the new email. But just hearing the words “FBI,” “Clinton” and “investigation” in a sentence together is going to have an effect on some voters.
But it is going to be tough to tell just how big an impact this will have. Polls showed Trump had been starting to reel Clinton in well before the FBI’s announcement; Clinton’s seven point lead has turned into a four point lead over the last two weeks. As of now, there is not enough polling to isolate the effect of the investigation. I cannot imagine it will help Clinton, though. Trump needed a Hail Mary to have a shot at this election, and he may just have found it. In a nice bit of timing, Trump was giving a speech just as news started to trickle. The crowd started to roar, “lock her up.”
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the Clinton campaign would make a real play to swing traditional Republican strongholds Arizona or even Georgia to the Democrats. I think that became just a bit more unlikely. As of now, Clinton is down in Ohio and ahead by a very thin margin in Florida. She would be better off campaigning in these battleground states. We are approaching the time where she hunkers down and consolidates what she has.
To end, I just want to take a bit of my weekly space to publicly ridicule Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner. The man ruined his own political career and his marriage by being caught sexting not once, not twice, but three times. Most recently, it turns out he was in an online relationship with a minor. But if it was not enough to ruin his own life, he may have just shifted the balance of power in our democracy.