Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Last Quiet Week

You do realize that this will be the last week that food stores will be listing summer fruits, vegetables and other items in their sales flyers, right? After Labor Day it will suddenly be soup, oatmeal and cold/flu medicine time even though it's likely to be near 80 degrees where most of us live. Such are the vagaries of the seasons and the need to sell stuff.

But it also means that the political races will turn for home as people return to work after a vacation, if they can afford it, and politicians return to their capitals for a fleeting moment of relevance before spending full time campaigning. For all of the talk about how this year was going to see a different campaign with different rules, it has been a remarkably stable presidential race, and the Senate is coming down to a few important races to see if the Democrats can take control of the chamber. Donald Trump has changed the tenor of the campaign somewhat, but most of what he's done has not helped him and I can't see future races taking serious notes from his playbook.

At this point, the polling for the presidential race shows that Hillary Clinton has a solid lead that hasn't really changed much since the Democratic Convention in July. According to the RealClearPolitics national average, she has a 6 point lead as of today and is ahead in enough states to garner 272 electoral votes if the election was held today. Which it is not. Other state polling sites like,  the Princeton Election Consortium, and show Hillary with a bigger lead.

Most polling shows Trump with about 42% of the national vote, and that has been his ceiling since July. If anything, this is his biggest problem. He will somehow need to expand his appeal significantly if he is to seriously challenge Hillary over the next month, before the first debate on September 26. This will likely be his last chance to help himself since most research says that the first debate is the most important for possibly changing people's minds.

Of course, this all presupposes that Trump's potential pivot on immigration doesn't cause him to lose support from his base, or that something overly consequential is lurking in Clinton's email server or that we are attacked at home or abroad. Enjoy the last quiet week of August. Next week the real show begins

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