Click here for part I, part II, part III and part IV.

Aug. 5, 2016

Following the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Marco Rubio opened an 8 percentage point lead over Hillary Clinton. But Clinton strikes back after her own convention, taking a 4-point lead in two-way head-to-head polls.

Four-way polls show a different story. Jill Stein gets 10 percent support, boosted by her opposition to free trade. A portion of the populist support Bernie Sanders enjoyed in the intensely close Democratic primary transfers to Stein. Clinton’s lead narrows to 2 points over Rubio when Stein and Gary Johnson are included.

As the glow from the Democratic National Convention fades and polls start to settle, Rubio opens up a 2-point lead in head-to-head polls and a 4-point lead in four-way polls.

Sept. 11, 2016 — New York

At a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony, Clinton faints and falls to the ground. It’s later announced that she’s suffering from pneumonia. Rather than attacking her stamina, Rubio wishes her a speedy recovery and hopes she’ll be recovered in time for the first presidential debate. Conservative talk radio isn’t quite as kind, calling on Clinton to drop out because she’s not healthy enough for the rigors of the presidency.

Stein flirts with the 15 percent threshold to earn a podium on the debate stage, but ultimately comes up short. Many of Stein’s moderate supporters start to realize Clinton is the best chance to beat Rubio, a case that Sanders routinely makes on cable news and at rallies.

Sept. 26, 2016 — Hempstead, N.Y.

Report: Potential Al Qaeda terror plotting the day before election day

Also from the Washington Examiner

Al Qaeda may be planning a terrorist attack in the U.S. on Monday, just a day before Election Day, CBS News reported Friday.

U.S. intelligence officials have notified the government’s anti-terrorism task forces that al Qaeda could be plotting attacks in New York, Texas and Virginia, CBS said. Those sources didn’t mention any specific locations within those states.

The sources said the information’s credibility hasn’t been determined as it is still being evaluated, but counterterrorism officials have been notified about the potential threat. Large scale events and the holiday season frequently are accompanied by increases in intelligence about terror threats.

11/04/16 8:04 AM

About 73 million voters tune in to the first presidential debate, 7 million short of the record for the most-watched debate in history.

Much of the debate focuses on character issues, with Clinton knocking Rubio’s missed Senate votes from the get-go. “It’s good to be back here in Hempstead, N.Y.,” Clinton says. “I visited here often when I was a senator, so I know the area well. Sen. Rubio is lucky this debate isn’t in Washington, D.C. He’s missed so many Senate votes I don’t think he knows his way around the Capitol building anymore.”

“You want to compare Senate records?” Rubio said. “Let’s look at what you accomplished in eight years. You introduced 412 bills. Three of them became law. These were not incredible bills that changed our country for the better. One of them renamed a post office. Another renamed a highway! Not exactly life-changing laws.”

Oct. 4, 2016 — Farmville, Va.

In a battle to become the first female vice president, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley faces off against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Both were picked to help with key voter demographics rather than their home states.

State Dept.set to release final batch of Clinton emails before election

Also from the Washington Examiner

State Department officials are set to publish up to 350 pages of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

11/04/16 12:01 AM

The Rubio campaign hopes Haley’s self-made success will appeal to suburban mothers tempted by the history of electing the first female president. Her minority status and the way she handled the removal of the Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds is expected to help with African-American voters.

Later, emails sent by Clinton campaign chair John Podesta published by WikiLeaks will show the campaign debated picking Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., over Warren. Kaine was supposedly going to be good with Hispanics, but they ultimately decided he was not good enough since he’s not actually Hispanic. Warren was picked instead, in hopes that she would help bring back disillusioned Sanders voters.

The most heated part of the debate comes when Warren attacks the Rubio-Haley campaign for the huge sums their affiliated super PAC pulls in from corporations and wealthy donors. “We should ban political contributions and make all federal elections taxpayer-funded,” Warren says.

“The federal government spends money on a lot of dumb things, like experiments with shrimps on treadmills,” Haley retorts. “But spending more taxpayer money on campaign rallies and lawn signs sounds like one of the dumbest.”

Oct. 9, 2016 — St. Louis

In the second presidential debate, the candidates get into it on healthcare. “My plans are simple,” Clinton says. “Free college tuition for low-income families. A public option for healthcare. Sen. Rubio wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a complex system. I call it the ‘Rubio-Goldberg Machine’ of healthcare.”

“Um, OK?” Rubio says. “We’re going to repeal Obamacare because people are losing health insurance and costs are rising. I could list stat after stat about how it’s making healthcare worse, but listen to this story: Carla is a constituent of mine in Florida. Before Obamacare took effect, she had two beautiful baby girls with a doctor’s office she loved. With a third child on the way, Obamacare took effect.

“She lost her doctor. She lost her health insurance plan. She had to pay thousands more out of pocket for worse care. That’s what Obamacare is doing to families across the country.”

Oct. 14, 2016

A semi-bombshell hits the presidential campaign. WikiLeaks continues to publish leaked emails from Podesta’s inbox. After Rubio won the Florida primary, Podesta wrote, “Rubio looks strong. Would definitely be a tough opponent. But don’t worry, we have the love child story that the New York Times is prepped to drop in October.”

The Rubio campaign leaps to deny the love child allegations, while the Clinton campaign stays silent. A New York Times reporter eventually comes forward, claiming the Clinton campaign approached her with evidence that Rubio has a love child but that none of the details could be independently verified. The Clinton campaign does not confirm or deny approaching the reporter.

What at first seemed like it could end Rubio’s candidacy ends up fizzling by the end of the day, at least in the mainstream media.

Oct. 28, 2016

Just when everyone thought it was too late for another October Surprise to hit the campaign, FBI Director James Comey announces the investigation into Clinton’s emails is being reopened.

It’s too late for anyone to know how it will affect voting. But before the surprise, Rubio’s campaign already seemed to be going well. He generally maintained a 3 or 4 percentage point lead in the polls and appeared to have the easier Electoral College path.

With the states leaning in his favor, including Florida and Ohio, he gets 259 electoral votes to Clinton’s 238. The election seems to be down to Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, New Hampshire and Maine.

Election Day is just around the corner.

. Who will win the election? What will their cabinet look like? How will Inauguration Day go?

Jason Russell is the contributors editor for the Washington Examiner.

How history will judge 2016

Top Story

On the surface, each of the major parties has broken one of the ancient rules of presidential politics.

11/04/16 12:01 AM

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