When I was a child there was a Saturday morning radio program called Let’s Pretend. It used words and sounds to encourage young children to paint pictures in their heads of make-believe worlds.

So in that spirit, let’s pretend that history will show that Donald Trump is elected president on November 8.

That result is hard to imagine for anyone who has been watching closely since the first presidential debate September 26. Since then, all indications have been that Hillary Clinton is certain to win. So, as a thought exercise before the results are in, let’s try to imagine how that we could move from that seemingly real world to the Let’s Pretend world of President Donald Trump.

One set of clues would come from the ABC News tracking poll. On September 22, before the first debate, the poll showed Hillary Clinton leading Trump by a narrow 46 to 44 percent—virtually the same as the RealClearPolitics.com average of recent polls at the time. By October 22, after the three presidential and one vice-presidential debate, that lead widened to 50 to 38 percent, about twice as big.

Since then, ABC has showed Clinton’s lead narrowing, to 48 to 44 percent on October 26. Clinton’s 12-point advantage among likely voters had been cut down all the way to 2 points (47 percent to 45 percent) in the same tracking poll as of Saturday.

Clinton’s support levels basically held up (within the margin of error, anyway), while Trump’s perceptibly grew, cutting Clinton’s lead toward statistical insignificance. The ABC numbers are an exaggerated version of what’s happened to Clinton’s average poll lead, which has been cut from 7.1 percent October 18 to 4.6 percent as of October 28.

ABC pollster Gary Langer explains the changes as movement by Republican-leaning voters back toward Trump. Like those elected officials who have recoiled from supporting him after release of the Access Hollywood tape, these voters are gravitating back to their preferred party’s candidate.

Focusing on a single poll’s results is rightly criticized as “cherry picking” by smart polling analysts. But in our Let’s-Pretend-Trump-won world, this particular poll sets out with particular clarity a trend that explains what happened after the fact.

For one thing, it’s a world where voters were given time to ponder, read and perhaps re-read, some of the Clinton campaign emails revealed by Wikileaks. They heard Clinton spokesman try to discredit the leaks as Russian disinformation, possibly altered. But they may also have noticed the Clinton folks saying they had no time to check on their authenticity.

Trump: FBI 'revolt' led to reopened Clinton investigation

Also from the Washington Examiner

Donald Trump said Saturday that the reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton was the result of a “revolt” at the FBI for not pursuing Clinton earlier.

“I’ll bet you, without any knowledge, there was a revolt in the FBI,” Trump said while in Colorado on Saturday. “I’ll bet you there was a revolt in the FBI by what they allowed to happen with respect to Hillary Clinton.”

The FBI reopened its investigation on Friday into Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle classified emails while serving as Secretary of State. It said it found over 1,000 new emails from a separate investigation that required it to reopen the case. The FBI had closed the investigation earlier this year after finding little evidence of

10/29/16 5:19 PM

Over the past week, the emails started getting coverage in mainstream media. Not as vivid coverage as Trump’s denunciations of Miss Universe 1998, but coverage nonetheless. And the stories have been unsettling.

Consider this message from Neera Tanden, head of the pro-Democratic Center for American Progress, to her predecessor John Podesta, chief of staff in the Clinton White House and counselor in Barack Obama’s. And remember, these are smart people who have operated at high levels for a long time.

“Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private email? And has that person been drawn and quartered?” Tanden asks Podesta in July 2015, a month after Trump entered the race. She goes on: “Like whole thing is f—-ing insane.”

This suggests a certain tension with Clinton’s omnipresent yes-women, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

It’s also unnerving to read Abedin in 2015, years after Clinton’s concussion, emailing press spokesman Jennifer Palmieri, “She’s going to stick to notes a little closer this am, still not perfect in the head.” There could be an untroubling explanation, but it doesn’t suggest the kind of confidence you’d like people to have in a president.

Trump: Weiner a 'major, major, major sleaze'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Donald Trump called former disgraced New York congressman Anthony Weiner a “major, major, major sleaze” on Saturday in discussing the FBI reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The FBI said Friday that over 1,000 emails found in a separate investigation of Weiner over a sexting scandal he was involved in forced them to revisit Clinton’s case.

The FBI said the emails are related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server to handle confidential information while she served as Secretary of State. The Bureau did not say what the emails said.

Weiner had shared the emails with his wife, Huma Abedin, who is deputy chair of Clinton’s campaign.

10/29/16 4:29 PM

And then we have the revelations of Bill Clinton aide Doug Band on how much money he’s been raising from various sources for the Clintons personally, for the Clinton Foundation and for Hillary’s Clinton’s campaign. The Wall Street Journal’s conservative columnist Kimberley Strassel is surely not the only one to call the Clintons “grifters-in-chief.”

Much embarrassing information about the Clintons has come out on Friday afternoons, and so it’s perhaps fitting that early this past Friday FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI is re-opening its investigation into the Clinton’s email server “in connection with an unrelated case.”

Comey’s July 5 statement that Clinton, while “extremely careless,” would not be criminally prosecuted, hurt her in polls; this October 28 announcement won’t help. Whether it sends us hurtling into the Let’s Pretend world of President Trump is unclear. It certainly may get us closer.

Do I think we’ll get there? No. But I’m less certain than I was a few days ago.

Benghazi Dems warned Clinton camp that NYT was 'sniffing around': Emails

Top Story

The exchange was the first of many miscalculations Clinton’s aides made working to contain the controversy.

10/29/16 2:05 PM



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