The Stretch Drive (1)

The sprint to the finish on November 8 is now underway, with detours to open new hotels if you’re Trump. Hillary is apparently putting off her business interests (i.e., the Clinton Foundation) until after the election.

Some random thoughts and observations, which we’ll update regularly. First, is the daily drip-feed of Wikileaks leading up to a big finish? Perhaps some of Hillary’s missing emails, or some gun barrels not just smoking but still glowing red-hot? Or has the public become immune to shock at the sheer repetitiveness of Clinton sleeze going back 25 years now?

Second, keep your eyes on the polls. They are displaying a lot of volatility. A lot of people like to point to 1980, when polls on the Friday before the election showed Reagan in a dead heat with Jimmy Carter. (Most polls gave Reagan a small lead, but one or two reputable ones had Carter slightly ahead.) But Reagan won by 10 points. Rush Limbaugh today recalled something from election night in 1980:

David Brinkley an hour and a half into the 1980 election results coverage: “I’d like to ask a question of you folks. We have here what I think reasonably could be called a landslide or certainly something approaching a landslide. Where did it come from? Nobody anticipated it. No polls predicted it. No one saw it coming. How did that happen? I don’t want to knock the polls, because I believe in them, and they generally do very good work. One thing I wondered. Have a lot of people — did a lot of people decide to vote for Reagan, but didn’t want to say so?”

Were the polls wrong? Actually they weren’t. There were fewer polls in 1980 than today, and most of the big polling companies (Gallup, Harris, etc) stopped polling Friday night. But both campaigns kept doing their own tracking polls over the weekend, and both saw the same things: a huge move of undecided voters to Reagan over the weekend and into Monday. The Carter people saw “the bottom fall out,” not just for Carter but also for Democratic Senate candidates down ballot. Could the same thing happen again this year? Keep your eye on Wikileaks.

Third, Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself. . .) insist that there’s no voter fraud. If so, how come Baltimore Democrats are complaining so much about vote fraud in that city’s Democratic primary? From the Baltimore Sun this week:

Dixon, who received more than 46,000 votes during the primary, narrowly lost to Pugh. The former mayor has questioned the legitimacy of that result, citing hundreds of irregularities that were uncovered by a state review.

The Dixon campaign also has accused the Pugh campaign of paying poor people for votes by offering food and jobs.

“This is the first time in the history of the state of Maryland that an election was decertified,” Dixon said. “There were questions in 71 precincts. There were provisional ballots that were thrown out. Judges allowed independent voters to vote during the primary.”

Dixon told listeners she is “not a sore loser,” but that state officials reviewing the city’s election “literally threw up their hands because it was such a total mess.”

She suggested that boxes full of votes for her and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders weren’t counted.

“I got calls from people that there were boxes of ballots with Bernie Sanders’ name on it, with my name on it, they were in a box and they asked, ‘Are we going to count these?'” Dixon said.

Harris agreed that there were serious problems with the primary election.

“I’ve knocked on 8,000 doors personally since the primary,” Harris said. “There have been so many people I’ve found who were discouraged because of what happened in the primary. … I’ve even run into people who were paid to vote, who have told me personally they were given money.”

What’s the problem? Isn’t “paying people to vote” the Democratic Party model since the New Deal and Great Society?

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