Closing Arguments for Open Minds

I’m not going to make the last minute case for or against Trump. Our readers are divided, and I’m sticking with our readers. Actually the arguments on either side are both good. I know only two things: I do not believe the predictions that either candidate spells doom for the country. The country is bigger than either of them. It would be a good thing if an unpopular and ineffectual president reminds us of this—reminds us to stop placing so much emphasis on one person in our political system. It would do us well to diminish the presidency a bit. Politics will not end. The future, though imminent, is obscure. Events will be more important than plans.

I’ll enjoy the shock and outrage of the liberal establishment if Trump wins. I’ll also enjoy watching Hillary fall on her face in office if she wins. (I’ll say more about this prospect on Wednesday if indeed she pulls it out.)

So I’ll stick with observations on what is sure to go down as the strangest presidential cycle in the history of the republic.

First of all, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I spoke tonight with a prominent west coast-based pollster who told me that he thinks Trump may well pull it out. The general polls favor Clinton, but he thinks the state-by-state polls favor Trump. If Trump ekes out a narrow electoral college win while losing the popular vote, liberals will totally lose their lunch. You thought it was bad when George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004? This will be megatons worse.

Second: What to make of the stock market today? It had its biggest rally in weeks, supposedly in relief at the FBI announcement that Hillary is in the clear. It doesn’t mean that Hillary is going to win; the financial markets were wrong both before and after Brexit. More interesting is this set of questions: How is it that Wall Street is against the candidate that wants to cut its taxes and favors the candidate who says she wants to raise their taxes? Several reasons come to mind. I noted that some of the biggest gainers today are industrial manufacturers who do a large export business and feared the uncertainty of trade policy under President Trump. Hillary represents continuity at least; Trump is unpredictable. Perhaps they understand that President Hillary means four years of gridlock, which is better than change. As I like to say, gridlock is almost as good as constitutional government. Maybe Wall Street is confident that Hillary will stay bought. I can certainly understand that conclusion: Dollar Bill will still be trolling around for more lucre.

Third: Sure, the FBI says Hillary is in the clear on the email business, but they didn’t say that she was clear on the still-vague supposed investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Also, is Huma Abedin in the clear? If Carlos Danger didn’t have a security clearance, it seems to me there should be some serious legal jeopardy here. Funny that no one in the media seems to have thought to report on this aspect of things.

• Finally, the thing I’m going to watch for most is whether GOP Senate candidates, especially Marco Rubio in Florida and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, run ahead or behind Trump. I’ve said from the beginning that I think Trump is a poor candidate, and lots of readers tell me that Trump is awesome, and that all the other GOPe candidates stink. But if they outpoll Trump tomorrow it will be hard to make the argument that he was the best candidate against Clinton. He’s been very good the last 10 days, now that Kellyanne Conway has finally wrestled his Blackberry away from him and shut down his Twitter feed.  Maybe the reverse will be true: late polls show GOP Senate candidates moving up. Maybe it is Trump that will pull them over the finish line. In which case my critics will get an open thread to say “I told you so.”



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