Trump Isn't Cooked Yet: Hillary's Lead Dips in Latest National Polling

The warning remains: Don't get happy.
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The warning remains: Don't get happy.

You might recall how, several weeks ago, Michael Moore appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and declared with a predictable blast of controversy that Donald Trump would be elected the next president of the United States. Trump, he said, will ride on the backs of like-minded voters into the White House, and all of our worst nightmares will come true.

In other words, American voters have justifiable beefs with the system and Trump is giving them exactly what they want to hear. Moore followed up his Maher appearance with an article titled "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win."

This, of course, occurred before Trump's post-convention meltdown -- a meltdown, by the way, that's only a "meltdown" because it's happening at a time when Trump was supposed to be pivoting, but instead continues to do and say the same things he did during the primaries. And yet we're so surprised.

Fast forward to Tuesday when Moore published an article on his website in which he cites unnamed sources indicating that Trump never wanted to be president in the first place. Later, Moore refers to his reporting as a "theory," then urges Trump to drop out now so he won't have the "scarlet letter (“L”) branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls."

So, Moore doesn't think Trump will win after all. As ill-timed as Moore's original prediction was, his theory (or his deep-background scoop) is maybe a little too hopeful, and too soon.

Yes, everyone is talking about how badly Trump is doing. This week alone, he and his surrogates stepped into all new piles of dog-shit, ranging from Trump's declaration that his vetting process for immigrants will be "extreme;" to his chief spokesperson Katrina Pierson insisting that President Obama started the war in Afghanistan; to Rudy Giuliani forgetting about 9/11; to Paul Manafort being named as a recipient of $12 million from a pro-Putin Ukrainian slush-fund. Meanwhile, formerly red-states such as Georgia and Arizona are flirting with blue-state status, while swing states like Virginia are almost securely locked down for Hillary.

That said, anyone seen any obnoxious tweets from Trump lately? What about spontaneous dick-moves during his rallies? No, but he posted this on his Facebook today:

Could this be part of his pivot? Finally? I have no idea. But it's worth keeping an eye on, especially since the national polls are tightening.

538-nat-polls.jpg

So, according to Nate Silver, Trump is just under five points behind. Five points. That's horrifying. And yes, I understand that the state polls are more important. The national polls, however, provide a convenient overview into how well the candidates are being perceived by voters. Nate's analysis:

That’s not bad for Clinton, but it might seem to suggest that her lead over Trump has abated. A week or so ago, we were seeing leads for Clinton in the mid- to high single digits, with occasional forays into the double digits. Overall, she seemed to be ahead by 7 to 8 percentage points.  

Bottom line: the race is tightening. We don't know how tight it'll become, of course, but the lesson here remains: Don't get happy.

The premature satisfaction of a Hillary landslide is beginning to seep into conventional wisdom, and it's getting stronger as Election Day grows nearer. Frankly, though, I still don't trust it. If this was late September, perhaps Democrats could breathe a little easier, but there's still plenty of time for the news media to snap back to "both sides" coverage, allowing Trump enough cover to climb back into contention. 

Matt Taibbi, writing for Rolling Stone, wrote a thousand words essentially hectoring the news media for being too focused on Trump and not focused enough on other issues (Taibbi qualified it by saying Trump deserves the criticism). There's much to say about Taibbi's latest, but this jumped out:

But [Trump]'s not the only stupid, lying, corrupt politician in the world, which is the impression one could easily get watching certain stations these days.  

Maybe not, but Trump is surely the most dangerous politician in the western civilized world right now, and finally the news media has almost universally condemned him for it, rather than simply airing his rallies without criticism. At long last, the news media has taken a firm posture against the kind of disinformation and lies we've witnessed for too long from the conservative entertainment complex, so Taibbi has chosen to... scold them for it?

This is all to say, it's still way too early to get happy about Hillary's prospects and that scarlet letter "L" on Trump's forehead.