This election, for now, looks like Hillary Clinton’s to lose — which, of course, she may do.
Through the lens of an ordinary campaign, the stars appear to align in her favor. Just in the past two days — or since Donald Trump’s Republican rivals raised their white flags:
- Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, told donors that Trump’s negative image atop the ticket, especially among Latinos, could give the Arizonan the fight of his life for re-election.
- A CNN/ORC poll showed Clinton with a wide lead over Trump, 53 to 41 percent, her best so far and improved since March. More than half her support comes from people who said opposition to Trump motivates them.
- She released a hard-hitting video with Trump rivals and GOP critics condemning his behavior and plans as nutty, reckless and bigoted: evidence that he’d just carried out a hostile takeover of the party.
- David Duke blamed Jews for resisting Trump’s candidacy, thus pressuring the candidate to renounce the ex-KKK leader anew. It’s something the Republican hopeful doesn’t really need right now, because it plays into a running narrative of how he views certain minorities in America.
- Trump contradicted himself on whether he believes a tabloid story linking the vanquished Ted Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald.
All these points together suggest that Trump’s strut will grow tired as the contest goes on against Clinton, a guest at his last wedding in 2005, and that he fails to stand up to sober inspection as a candidate.
And yet in the same period, the public was reminded of the baggage she carries into this general election:
- A federal judge said it “may be necessary” to depose her about her personal email server. This involves a freedom-of-information lawsuit over the employment of close aide Huma Abedin, wife of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner.
- Primary rival Bernie Sanders made clear he will run the course, which means the questions he raised about her contributions, speeches and ties to Wall Street also will stick around a while.
- That CNN/ORC poll suggests anti-Trump motivation for Clinton is exceeded by anti-Clinton motivation for Trump. That is, the pollsters report a remarkable 57 percent of Trump supporters saying they gravitated to him because they don’t want Clinton to win.
The party dynamics are unique this year. Clinton was a Republican “Goldwater girl” in her youth and Trump a Democrat who not so long ago contributed to Clinton.She will have a unique chance to fish for Republican crossover votes, and he is already looking to pick up whites enrolled as Democrats.The question now is how partisan categories may shift.