Hillary Clinton Landslide Win Predictions Will Haunt Her Campaign Beyond Halloween
It seems grimly fitting that this presidential election, with its two larger-than-life candidates, would also have an outsized number of October surprises. Friday's announcement that the FBI would review additional emails related to Hillary Clinton caused an instant, dramatic reversal of the narrative that the Democratic presidential nominee would coast to victory. Promises of Clinton's would-be landslide were peddled by pundits for the last few weeks, ever since the last big October surprise — the release of a hot-mic tape that showed Donald Trump bragging about kissing and grabbing women without their consent.
Given the enormous ups and downs each campaign has experienced in the last month, the biggest October surprise of all, though, might just be that anyone thought this election would be over before Nov. 8.
Think of all the other revelations that have emerged in the past month, which in any other cycle might devastate a candidate's chances and would certainly consume the news cycle for weeks on end. Donald Trump was accused of sexual assault by a slew of women. WikiLeaks spent a good chunk of October releasing information about Clinton and her campaign's top officials. As the time runs out on the 2016 election, Trump becomes the first candidate in decades to not release his tax returns, leaving critical questions about his financial interests and history unanswered. He has also threatened not to accept the election's outcome — unless he wins.
Any of these things would be a defining moment in another election, but this year it seems like every week brings at least one major new story. It was foolish to assume that Clinton's lead over Trump was impenetrable, and it was irresponsible to predict a Clinton "landslide," given that would-be election bombshells are still being released at an astounding rate.
Any time but election night is too early to call.
The one adage that does hold true about this election? It ain't over 'till it's over. Clinton supporters were unwise to rest easy, and Trump supporters — the ones who haven't disavowed their candidate in the last month — would be also wrong to give up hope. After all, Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight wrote Trump was likelier to win than the Cubs were to win the World Series — and the Cubs won Game 5 last night.
The simple, unglamorous solution to all this uncertainty? No matter what the polls say, vote, volunteer, and donate as if the race were extremely close — because no matter what the forecast looks like today, it ain't over 'till it's over.