When people look back on this election cycle it will stand apart from many others. Where some elections have that one critical pivot point where all the momentum changed, this one was an endless series of plot twists.
The only prediction that can safely be made at this point is that political chaos will continue. We have no idea what outside influences — activist groups, the shootings in Dallas, #Brexit, immigration, ISIS, the economy or who knows what else — will have on the tone and direction this political season eventually takes.
As much as this election defies prediction, there are still some putting themselves out there and making some. With the huge role opinion plays in the media, it can hardly be helped.
So Comey has said he will not recommend charges to Hillary. The AG has decided not to investigate her. (Let’s not forget Hillary had also — only days earlier — promised to extend her employment if she wins the next election). Now we have another prediction.
The prediction (by Nick Gillespie) is this: Hillary Clinton — as wretched a candidate as she is — will become Obama’s successor.
This is not to say Nick is a fan of Hillary. Au contraire, he called her an empty (pant)suit. He called her out on her failures and lack of accomplishments in both the Senate and as the nation’s top ambassador. He stopped just short of calling her record a “festering heap of parrot droppings”.
But that is exactly the problem isn’t it? Hillary’s supporters do not know — nor do they care — what her actual record is. If they did, someone else would certainly have been put forward to lead their party into the election. Someone with far less baggage. Someone with less rhetoric and more vision, perhaps.
But, no, they are accepting Obama’s praise of Hillary at face value. “No man or woman has ever been more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton.” Such bold lies are a little easier to pull off with willing accomplices in the media. (Who can forget the impartiality of the journalist that said she “would gladly give Bill [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.” Or the infamous “tingle” that went up Chris Matthews’ leg.)
Nick then turns his guns on her policy. Hillary has nothing whatever to demonstrate in terms of leadership. In fact, she is the personification of a political weathervane. She once supported restrictions on immigration. But not now. Until 2013, she supported traditional marriage. But not now.
Under ordinary circumstances, the baggage she carries would be enough by itself to sink her. But this is no ordinary year. And her opponent is by no means a traditional candidate.
Trump, Gillespie argues, is a candidate Hillary can beat. Even with all her baggage. With her obvious arrogance. With her string of scandals. And even with her general “dislike-ability”. Those who do not think Trump can win point to his unfavorability ratings. They think he’s turned off too many people. The fact that he is currently trailing in polls is evidence they would use to support that argument.
Does he rub people the wrong way? Yes. But Trump is banking on the expectation that some of the ones he rubs the wrong way will either have no choice but to vote for him (casting an “against Hillary” vote) or are so far Left that they wouldn’t have voted even for Reagan. Additionally, his unique style and unpolished manner of speaking are said to be drawing in populist-minded voters from the other side of the aisle. People who hate the trade deals, for example, but for reasons meaningful to the Left.
Does he have anything to back that up? The sheer number of people who have already voted for him, for one. And the crowds he’s packing into stadiums for another.
Weighing the short run at politics Donald Trump has had so far, he has shown an uncanny ability to outlive his pallbearers. The question that still remains to be seen is whether he will be able to continue that trend into November.