Is the Race Slipping Away From Hillary Clinton?

If Donald Trump could have choreographed a week before the first presidential debate it would have looked a lot like this. The week started with a terror attack in NYC (and it looks like the attack was a complex one designed to hit two or three targets at the same time) by an Afghan Islamist who had been under scrutiny by the FBI but let slide because, well, you know, you can’t be islamophobic and have a career in law enforcement even when your phobia is well founded. The Charlotte, NC, became ground zero in as Rodney King-like riot. When Hillary Clinton tried to show up to pull her Al Sharpton act, she was asked to stay away. Ted Cruz (much to his everlasting shame) endorsed Trump and, for all intents and purposes, announced that principle didn’t really mean all that much and probably had a significant impact on GOP voters who had been reluctant to vote for Trump. And the week ended with a Turkish immigrant walked into a Macy’s department store in Seattle and gunned down five people.

In poll averages Clinton has maintained a pretty consistent 4 point lead

What should be troubling her is her inability to take a decisive lead. She was right earlier in the week when she sniveled about feeling like she should be 50 points ahead. If she was a candidate possessed of normal competence, good health a functioning moral compass and the ability to relate to fellow human beings in anything other than a master-servant mode she would have run away with the race by now. The fact that it is still a four point race after the nation has seen Donald Trump in action for over a year should terrify her campaign.

But, as everyone knows, this race is not going to be decided at the national level. It is going to be decided in a handful of states. There the situation is also grim.

Ohio

Trump has a small lead in the state. His lead is probably much larger because Rob Portman is beating his senate opponent like a rented mule. Portman isn’t a terribly charismatic guy and it is difficult to believe that, especially after Ted Cruz’s endorsement, that Trump will underperform Portman. Hillary hasn’t even visited Ohio in two months.

When CNN stops fluffing for Hillary, you know it is serious:

Colorado:

Clinton has a 3 point lead. That might be enough but the trendline suggests she is losing momentum at a rate that may put the state out of reach for her by Election Day

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, as James Carville famously described it, has Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other and Alabama (or Pennsyltucky) in the middle. What had looked like a wrap in Pennsylvania is now more uncertain

You’ll note the recent polls have been tightening and the last one should scare the living crap out of the Clinton camp:

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead over Republican rival Donald Trump has narrowed to 3 points in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a new poll.

Clinton leads Trump, 44 percent to 41 percent, in the Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released late Saturday.

One week ago, Clinton had a 9-point advantage in that poll, 47 percent to 38 percent.

Clinton’s lead in a four-way matchup is now 2 points, 40 percent to 38 percent, pollsters found. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has fallen to 8 percent support, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein has 3 percent.

Essentially, in this poll, they are tied.

There is still a long way to go in this election and the polls did not cover themselves with glory during the primaries. Having said that, Hillary Clinton’s failure to open up a lead or break 50% should set alarm bells ringing in her camp. There is much more that can happen in the current events that will hurt her than will hurt Trump. She is slow on her feet and her reputation for duplicity has burned down most of the reflexive goodwill that most Democrat candidates get from the press. Trump has a bit of momentum in key states and had a very good week.

Hillary Clinton reminds you of the team that goes into the 4th quarter with a 3 point lead and decides to try to run the clock out. The strategy can work but a little bit of bad luck is devastating.