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With 9 Days to Go, Here's the Current State of the Clinton/Trump Race

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 30, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 30, 2016 |

Remember that feeling we had on Thursday, where we weren’t as concerned about Hillary Clinton winning as we were in the margin of victory. Some of us were anxious that Hillary Clinton might not win in a blowout, which would’ve given Donald Trump more room to bellow about a rigged election and call into question the legitimacy of Clinton’s campaign.

That feeling is gone.

With nine days left, now we’re just hoping she squeaks in on election day. Our anxiety levels are through the goddamn roof. Many of us have already voted, so we just have to sit on our hands and pray that others do the same.

Here’s the good news: She still has the lead. She is still favored to win. Millions of early votes are already in, and Clinton holds a lead there.

But, things are not trending her way. Polls are tightening. Republicans have increased their lead to 23,000 votes in Florida early voting after yesterday (the one bright spot might be that there are 60,000 more outstanding mail-in ballots from Democrats than Republicans). Trump is on the offense. Clinton is on defense. Trump has the ball on the 20 yard line with 2:00 to go, and Clinton is in the dreaded Prevent defense, when she needs to be attacking.

The letter that James Comey released on Friday hurt the Clinton campaign. There’s no point in suggesting otherwise. It doesn’t matter that the letter said nothing. It doesn’t matter that the emails were not hers, or that most — if not all — are emails that have already been investigated. It doesn’t matter that there is nothing here. Trump is railing that Comey is reopening the investigation (not true), he is yelling that this is the worst scandal since Watergate (also not true) and he is leading his base into chants of Lock Her Up. Kellyanne Conways is as spirited as I’ve seen her in weeks on the Sunday morning talk shows, and she is talking about the “pervert” Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, trying to tie Abedin to his perversities, AS THOUGH TRUMP DIDN’T BRAG ABOUT GRABBING PUSSIES. I mean, the fact that it’s Conway playing offense and not Giuliani or Christie playing defense says all we need to know about their confidence level right now.

His base is fired up. They’re going to the polls now, because — for the first time in a month — they feel like they have a chance. Meanwhile, most Clinton voters are still turning out, because they don’t want Donald Trump running our country. But don’t think for a second that the letter won’t hurt turnout. According to a ABC poll, one-third of voters are less likely to vote for Clinton because of it. Granted, most of those voters are Trump supporters and weren’t going to vote for Clinton anyway, but 7 percent of those likely voters are liberals. Seven percent is big in an election that could be very close.

The problem is this: The conversation right now is all about Clinton. For the first time in weeks, it’s not a Trump pile-on. The media is not berating him for his sexual assaults. The media is not uncovering new scandals. Donald Trump is usually pretty good about turning the conversation back onto himself by saying something horrible, but he hasn’t said anything horrible enough to overshadow that goddamn James Comey letter.

We don’t have another debate. Hillary may not get the ball back. She may just have to try and run out the clock before it’s too late.

With 9 days left to go, we need Trump to drop the ball. Or we need Hillary to force a fumble. Instead of being preoccupied with the Hillary email scandal, we need to remind voters of who Trump is. Of why we’re voting for Hillary. Or why we’re voting against Donald Trump. We need another Billy Bush tape (where are you, The Apprentice producers!) We just need something to move the attention away from Clinton and put it back on Trump, because the more we pay attention to this non-scandal, the less we pay to how horrible Donald Trump would be for America.

Remind America who wins if Trump takes the White House.