A Moment of Relative Calm, Or, Jump Ball for the Presidency?

"Politics, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

Henry Adams

'The Education of Henry Adams'
1918

The line above, one of the more cynical pronouncements in the grandson and great-grandson of Presidents masterpiece of American letters, seems more accurate than ever as we move well into the final week of this most toxic of presidential campaigns. Of course, it's only partly true when America is anywhere near its best. Which we clearly are not.

We all know Donald Trump's inimitable contributions. With the race nationally looking like a statistical dead heat, Hillary Clinton is pulling out the stops on negative campaigning. As discussed at the beginning of the week, she has decided against a positive close, quite possibly a grave error with polling indicating that her level of unpopularity now matches Trump's and her credibility has slumped beneath his.

President Obama, still rather popular, who does have a decided gift for positive uplift and "the vision thing," pushed the panic button campaigning Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina, ripping into Trump over and over again. "The fate of the Republic," he declared, rests on the outcome of this election.

Meanwhile, right-wing Vegas/Macau casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson has finally started shoveling megabucks into a pro-Trump super PAC, with an initial $25 million in play already and likely more where that came from. And, with estranged wife/closest Hillary aide Huma Abedin suddenly off the campaign trail and behind closed doors, ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner -- whose sexting habit triggered the renewed FBI investigation when a trove of State Department e-mails was discovered on his laptop -- has disappeared into a clinic for sex addicts. Located, no doubt, in Communicado.

That said, the ceiling has not fallen in on the Clintons yet. While there is no "Blue Wall" in the electoral college, there is a picket fence which, if defended, can hold. And Hillary still has an edge there, though it is far more tenuous and vulnerable to actual campaign dynamics than currently trendy statistical models suggest.

The air is a bit calmer, at least at the moment. A bit.

I continue to think that there has to be at least one more major development for Trump to win. Or, perhaps more accurately, for the Clintons to lose, since Trump has repeatedly stepped on his own message. Though he may at long last be effectively focusing on the deleterious effects of Bill Clinton trade deals, the sort which the Wikileaks/KGB revelations strongly suggest Hillary still supports in private.

Of course, that certain fateful something may be just around the next bend. If some deleted classified e-mails show up on colossal security risk Weiner's laptop, that will be hard for Hillary to survive. Even if more than a fifth of the vote is already in, due in large part to the convenience of vote-by-mail programs.

Something big from Wikileaks and their kindly Russian associates could do it -- assuming that the Kremlin decides it does not want to have a delegitimized Hillary as a dramatic foil to kick around on the world stage -- as could serious developments in an FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. It's obvious now that FBI Director James Comey was responding at least in part to grave displeasure in FBI ranks about the handling of the Hillary private server e-mail investigation.

Absent something alone those lines, Hillary has a decent chance of prevailing, given how discredited Trump has become, with the biggest blows usually coming from himself.

Unless ...

Unless we are seriously underestimating the possibility that live polling is undercounting Trump's support because it is so socially unacceptable to be for him. Trump has been made so socially unacceptable in polite society that this is a possibility.

If anything the social unacceptability factor is stronger here than it was with Brexit, where polling undercounted the Leave vote by about four percent. Our mainstream media is in full howl against Trump, late night comedians are resolute in their sniping, and so on.

We'll know more in the next 36 hours.

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