With seven days left to the end of one of the rockiest and ugliest presidential campaigns in the history of the U.S., public opinion polls are indicating an extremely tight race with Donald Trump gaining rapidly on Hillary Clinton.
A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 45 percent, recovering from a 12- point deficit last week. Several swings state polls also suggest a close race in most states listed as must-win for the Rpeublican nominee.
The race tightening amid recent revelations over Clinton’s private email server saga has forced the presidential candidate to tweak their closing arguments, change their relatively light schedule on the campaign trail, and work as hard as they possibly can to rally their base in an attempt to close the deal.
Sticking to the script and keeping Clinton’s feet to the fire, Trump did his shtick, citing favorable poll numbers – “I’m winning all over” – as a tactic to energize his base with a narrative that there’s still a chance to pull this off and shock the political world. He also spent time warning voters of electing Clinton. “The investigation will last for years. Nothing will get done. Government will grind to a halt and our country will continue to suffer,” Trump said in Michigan on Monday. “Hillary’s corruption is a threat to democracy, and the only way to stop is for you to show up at the polls on Nov. 8 and vote.”
Clinton, meanwhile, shifted the focus back to Trump’s character and misogynist comments as part of a last-minute ‘gevald’ campaign to save the country.
“Donald Trump’s strategy is to get women to stay home, young people to stay home, people of color to stay home. That’s more than half the population. But it’s all part of his scorched earth campaign,” Clinton told supporters at a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida on Tuesday. “So do you know the best way to stop him? By showing up and voting and getting the biggest turnout in history. If we can keep this up, there is no doubt – if we vote, we win.”
The question remains whether Trump can make up the gap with a last-minute flock to polls by voters seeking change and bring home enough Republicans to score an upset, or will Clinton manage to stop the bleeding, maintain her lead in most toss-up states, and bring out her coalition to deny Trump from getting to 270 electoral votes.
For Clinton supporters and Never Trump Republicans, the most acceptable scenario is Trump losing by 2-3 percentage points – close enough for Trump to avoid an embarrassing historical loss, but sufficient to prevent him from contesting the results and refusing to concede.
For Democrats, while the impact of the recent revelations is significant for down-ballot races, it doesn’t help Trump winning the elections. And that’s good enough given the circumstances.
“It’s hard to see, after all he’s been through and the charges leveled against him, a clear path to 270 electoral votes. That’s the key issue, ” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told Jewish Insider on Tuesday. “Hillary has solidified her base, women are entirely motivated, and Trump’s problems are not insignificant. He can’t have this kind of revelations, even if they are 20 years old, thrown against him and survive. And he has not run the best campaign.”
On the other side of the aisle, most anti-Trump Republicans want to see him lose the presidential race, but not get crushed in order to save the Senate.
“The FBI news appears to be dampening Democrat enthusiasm, which could be enough to push Republicans over the finish line in close Senate races,” said Republican Jewish attorney Charlie Spies.
Trump, according to Spies, has refused to significantly finance his campaign and “doesn’t have the infrastructure to take advantage of good news.”