Why "Trump Won't Win" Is The Worst Thing You Can Say In This Election

On Tuesday the two Vice Presidential candidates, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, went head-to-head in the first and only vice presidential debate of this election cycle. Pundits and early polling agree — Pence churned out a more solid performance, especially compared to Donald Trump's flub last week at the first presidential debate. But even with the perceived VP "win," some are already saying there's no way Trump will clinch the general election — and it's maybe the worst, most dangerous thing you can say in this election.

If history is any indication, most vice presidential debates in recent history haven't moved the needle as far as the outcome of the election is concerned. All things considered, it doesn't look like this one will put a dent in the still-low polling numbers the Trump-Pence ticket is raking in at the time of writing. But it's not nearly time to pack up and go home yet. That kind of thinking has backfired before, and it could, ultimately, help Trump. Consider this election specifically: nobody thought Trump could win the primaries — despite many in the Republican establishment's best efforts — and the party is still cleaning up all that residual egg on its face.

Clinton's measured and persistent campaign efforts this season suggest she's trying to avoid an infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment — that time when the Chicago Daily Tribune printed that it was a win for Dewey (Remember President Dewey? Neither do I.) In short, don't count your chickens before they hatch — and don't assume Trump has lost his shot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before he actually has.

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It's happened before where the understood underdog of a presidential election has unexpectedly won. Clinton knows this all too well, since she's personally been on the other side of the equation before — she was considered the "inevitable" winner when she ran against Obama in 2008, but Obama ultimately pulled ahead to win the primaries that year.

Clinton's not the only example demonstrating the importance of not taking a presidential lead for granted. Consider Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter back in 1980. Carter (like Clinton) was ahead in the polls, albeit by not a huge margin in October (ahem), just a month before the election. Reagan unexpectedly had a late surge and ended up winning, overwhelmingly claiming a big, fat W in 44 of the 50 states.

Here's what we've learned: it's not over 'til it's over, and to think it is could be a fatal misstep.