August was a very bad month for Hillary Clinton, although she is still the odds-on favorite to win the Presidential elections in November, but by a shrinking margin. If September proves to be as full of bad news and blunders as August, the elections can very well go into the final countdown month as "too close to call." People close to Hillary Clinton are worried, and their fears are multiple. Hillary Clinton has dodged the media, relying almost exclusively on the MSM (Mainstream Media) hatred of Donald Trump to make her the clear-cut lesser evil.
But in the last week, even the MSM has been forced to back off on the running diatribes against The Donald. The release of more incriminating Hillary Clinton emails that were somehow either lost or considered to be "too personal" to release to the public and to the dogged lawyers from Judicial Watch was too big to bury, even for the slavish Clinton media loyalists. The release of the FBI's working documents "explaining" their recommendation to the Justice Department not to prosecute the former Secretary of State did not help in the least.
I heard a National Public Radio interview on Friday with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, and he defied the MSM mandate by refusing to trash the GOP nominee. Instead, he offered a balanced assessment of the major foreign policy differences between Trump and Clinton, and he had to admit, on balance, that Trump was more likely to negotiate with Russia and China, and less likely to look abroad for "dragons to slay." In other words, Hillary is more in line with neoconservative and liberal R2P interventionist ideologies than Trump.
It is still clearly an uphill battle for the Republican nominee to win in November, but the momentum is building for just that. Anyone forecasting a replay of 1964, when Lyndon Johnson swept the Electoral College nationwide in his race against Senator Barry Goldwater, is in for a big let down.
There are way too many unknowns at this moment to be making any kind of precise forecasts. In the primary contests, the Republicans saw a boost in the number of voters who turned out to give the nomination to Trump. The Democrats saw a significant downturn in primary turnout, despite the fact that Bernie Sanders did vastly better than he himself anticipated. A clear majority of primary voters from both parties cast their ballots for either Sanders or Trump–two candidates with different ideologies, but similar anti-Establishment messages. Four years ago, 53 percent of the eligible voters turned out. Will that number decline significantly this time around? Will the angry independent voters turn out in higher numbers, offsetting a stay-home protest by many traditional Democratic Party voters who detest Hillary? Will voters who traditionally vote Democrat hold their noses and vote for Hillary on a lesser-evil basis?
And what of the third party effect? There are actually four candidates who are going to be on the ballots in all or most states: The GOP, the Democrats, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. The Libertarian Party is running two former Republican governors–Gary Johnson and William Weld–as their Presidential and VP candidates. The Green Party is running Jill Stein, who is more popular than Hillary Clinton with many of the millennial voters who turned out in force for Bernie Sanders, only to see him betray their cause at the Democratic Convention by endorsing Hillary Clinton for President with very little to show in return.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has shown some political savvy in recent weeks. He jumped at the invitation by Mexican President Pena Nieto to visit him–an invitation that Hillary Clinton turned down without explanation.
The most difficult thing to read, going into November, is the mood of the American people. They are clearly in an anti-Establishment mood, and for good reason. Under the last eight years of Obama, the middle class has been declining, the so-called recovery has further widened the wealth gap between the upper one-percent and the rest. As of the August data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93.5 million working age Americans are not considered to be part of the labor force–because they are either chronically unemployed or they have never found a job in the first place. A growing number of workers are managing on part-time jobs. The picture is not pretty, and this has fueled a climate of dissent.
The first of the scheduled presidential debates will not take place until later in September. It is yet unclear whether that will be a two way or a three way debate, with Gary Johnson polling near the edge of the 15 percent level required by the Borg to get prime time status.
The bottom line: Nobody in the Hillary Clinton camp should be lighting victory cigars at this time. It is Hillary Clinton's election to lose, and so far, she is doing a pretty impressive job of doing just that.