For the first time, Donald John Trump has reached 45 points in the polls and held it for a second day. His usual practice when things are going well for him is to tweet something stupid or scary and drive his number back down.
Real Clear Politics: "General Election: Trump vs. Clinton" has Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton ahead 47-45. If this is true and if it holds, Ms. Clinton is beatable.
As I wrote yesterday, this is the first reliable sign that Mr. Trump has a chance. He has touched 45 twice before, once in late June and again in early October. Both times he stayed there about ten minutes before falling back, sharply. His big mouth, bad character, and small brain always brought him down. Is the third time the charm?
(For the record I'm voting for him. Given what I think of him, you can imagine what I think of Ms. Clinton.)
RCP's four-way screen -- Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein -- has the same two-point spread: 45-43.)
Before you tell me that the reason for the tighter race is that Ms. Clinton is falling in the polls, you're wrong. She hasn't budged. Her 47 points are right in the middle of her trading range since early August.
Progressives don't care about the stuff on WikiLeaks. They don't care that she is incapable of telling the truth, that she regards high office as a Clinton family profit center, that her policies will do more harm than good. They don't Care.
For the cynical progressives, the goal is to elect Ms. Clinton to keep the good times rolling for the takers in American life. Not just folks who get checks in the mail, but also takers like those on Wall Street and K Street and the crony companies that always seem to get the federal contracts. For their own good, they don't care.
Sincere progressives hope to elect Ms. Clinton for an even sweeter reward -- moral and intellectual satisfaction, psychic income. They believe she holds to the right policies -- though why they believe anything she says about what she will and won't do is beyond me -- and that the country will be a better place if she wins. They will also have the satisfaction of proving yet again that they are just plain smarter and more moral than the rest of us. So for the greater good, they don't care either.
What's changed is not that Ms. Clinton has gone down in the polls. What has changed is that Mr. Trump has gone up in the polls.
A lot of conservatives who do care about character and competence and bad policies stayed on the sidelines until now. Ms. Clinton certainly did not deserve their vote. Neither did Mr. Trump.
But the greater good for this crowd, which includes me, is to keep Ms. Clinton out of the White House. So enough of us are voting Trump, reluctantly, to revive Mr. Trump's miserable campaign.
What matters, of course, is the Electoral College, and Ms. Clinton is still ahead, but -- and this is the new part -- she's falling.
Overnight, she went up one point, thanks to a Trump-to-Clinton switch in one of Maine's congressional districts. But at midafternoon, Arizona (11) flipped from Clinton to Trump. The new score is Clinton 294, Trump 244.
The target is 270, so Mr. Trump needs 26 more electoral votes to win.
This is good for Mr. Trump, obviously. For perspective, however, on September 22 -- before his big mouth and small Tweet-thumb went into overdrive -- Real Clear Politics had him at 266, just four short.
So he is not winning new ground here; he's recovering old ground.
Does Mr. Trump have the time and capacity to find the 26 additional electoral votes he needs to win? It's a close call, but I still doubt it.
As things now stand, he needs to hold all his own states, then find 26 votes from this list of five wobbly Clinton states: Colorado (9), New Hampshire (4), Maine Congressional District 2 (1), Nevada (6), and North Carolina (15).
To win, he needs at least four of the five open states, one of which must be North Carolina. After that, everything is gravy.
All my electoral vote numbers come from RCP's "Electoral College: No Toss Up States."
Of course, millions of Americans have already voted. Their votes were cast when prospects were far rosier for Ms. Clinton and far gloomier for Mr. Trump. This may mean that Ms. Clinton has already locked away enough votes to carry some states that RCP now credits to Trump.
The next two or three days are still critical. If Mr. Trump were to catch up or, against all odds, go ahead, perhaps he could win. If he blows this chance, as is his penchant, however, I doubt there's time to recover and make another run. .
And when it's all over, if Ms. Clinton loses, as I hope, then my prayer for America will be the same as if Ms. Clinton had won: God help us.
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The substance of this post is pretty much the same as yesterday's, but with fresher numbers. So be it.
For newcomers, Unca D cites Real Clear Politics because it averages third-party polls. This approach raises all sorts of theoretical questions, but it has the virtue of squeezing the volatility out of the numbers. It allows us to ignore headline polls that get all the yak-time on cable television but usually mean very little. You know, the ones that bounce like Silly Putty and lie far out in left field. (I'm asking for a plea deal here: Ignore the metaphor-mixing and I'll plead guilty to misdemeanor cliché-mongering.) Unca D also quotes only the integers in RCP's numbers. The fractions are meaningless. Want to do it another way? Do it yourself.