Some political observers who may be smarter than me believe that the next seven to ten days will decide the election between Trump and Clinton.
That will take us to up to Indigenous Peoples’ Day – formerly known as Columbus Day.
Between Trump’s nearly comedic performance on SNL – I mean the real debate – and the NY Times release of his tax returns, Hillary has inched up a few points in national polls and in electoral predictions by Nate Silver and the NY Times.
However, Nate Silver suggests this morning that a possible win by favorite son Gary Johnson in New Mexico could mean the election could be thrown into the House of Representatives where the Republicans are in the majority.
Democratic Party focus groups have identified suburban white women as a key voting block and climate change as a key wedge issue.
I suspect that they are right and that they are wrong. Right about the issue. Wrong about who is the key voting block.
In fact, I suspect that the Democratic strategists, in order to do what they think will attract white suburban Republican women have come up with not mentioning Bush, not mentioning the Republican Party (Did I miss those two words during the debate or were they un-spoken?) and running from the traditional Democratic base and have made this race much tighter than it should be.
If African American and Hispanic voters and the traditional base of the Democratic Party turns out in the numbers they have in the past, Trump goes back to his mansion in Florida.
His most obvious problem is with suburban women – and Clinton’s small-but-durable lead in Pennsylvania owes much to her dominance in the bellwether Philly burbs with white women voters. Clinton’s Brooklyn brain trust knows they are unlikely to draw GOP men to their candidate, but they hope to sow enough doubt to divert them to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson – or to suppress their turnout.
“The entire target audience for the debates should be these upper-income whites,” Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign manager told me as the candidate’s took the stage in Long Island last week.
Clinton’s focus groups (they seem to be running round-the-clock these days) show that a central wedge issue is global warming, a cultural and political signifier that differentiates Clinton’s self-style rationalism from Trump’s visceral populism.
That’s why you heard her slip the words “climate change” into her spiel so often at Hofstra – and why she’ll do the same in St. Louis.
But climate change means nothing in the abstract. Ground zero in the fight around climate change today is at Standing Rock and the battle to stop the North Dakota Pipe Line.
Trump won’t mention it because his backers have a vested interest.
Next week, thousands more will join the encampment and will be going to Standing Rock as part of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Hillary should speak in support of #NoDAPL.
That would be a hell of an October Surprise.