Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump Are Going Head-To-Head For The Worst October Surprise

On Friday, FBI Director James B. Comey issued a letter to eight congressional committee chairmen, notifying them that he was reviewing new emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that had recently come to the bureau’s attention. This announcement revives the questions surrounding Clinton’s time as secretary of state. Specifically, it will almost certainly stoke concerns over whether classified information was improperly — or even criminally — mishandled.

While Comey was careful to point out in his letter that “the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant,” the timing of his letter is brutal for the Clinton campaign, which has struggled with the email scandal hanging over their heads for much of this cycle. Their strong performance in recent weeks has been largely credited to Republican Donald Trump’s own problems, notably surrounding his treatment and alleged sexual assault of women (which he has consistently and adamantly denied).

To me, however, this latest development in the Clinton email scandal really only tells us one thing: In this race between two historically unpopular nominees, the candidate who gets the worst headline closest to Election Day will most likely suffer the most. It turns the contest for arguably the most powerful elected position on the planet into a race to the bottom. And frankly, that’s pretty depressing.

To be fair, while headline-grabbing, the Comey letter doesn’t provide any concrete justifications for a mass exodus of Clinton supporters.

It does, however, act as a rallying cry for Trump supporters who have been looking for any glimmers of hope as the polls continue to favor Clinton in the final stretch before Election Day. Trump eagerly dogpiled onto the news at a rally in New Hampshire on Friday, saying, “I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the department of justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.”

Much of how this plays out will depend on Comey’s next moves. In his letter he offers no concrete timeline for the Bureau to look into these new e-mails, which could cut both ways, depending on what the FBI finds. In the meantime, both sides are busy revving their engines to spin the news. In the wake of the news, Twitter was ablaze with indignation in both directions.

For those of us who had thought about exhaling a little bit in advance of Election Day, we might want to hold our breath just a little bit longer.