I’ve blogged before that Donald Trump is not so much running a campaign as making a movie in real-time. We’re now at the point in the plot called “the climax,” where the hero (Trump) roars back from adversity to an impossible victory.
The polls support this momentum, with Trump leading in battleground states Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. He’s narrowed the gap nationally to within the margin of error. Whether it’s a 4-way or a 2-way poll, the race is tight.
Two things define this as the climax:
1. The start of early voting. We are 46 days from election day, and early voting has started. Actual votes are now being cast. All the talk about skewing and unskewing polls becomes moot once ballots are in the box.
2. Ted Cruz swung behind Trump. This is actually huge. If anything could seal the deal for many #NeverTrump adherents, while putting the shame-game into overdrive for the remaining holdouts, it’s this.
What we know about Cruz’s decision from sources inside the senator’s circle is that it was contentious–his advisers on both sides of the issue sharply disagreed with each other–and that it was Cruz’s own call. The pressure was enormous, and Cruz, the chess master, found himself checkmated. Endorse, and suffer the shame of hypocrisy in his Cleveland speech. Hold out, and suffer isolation and political disaster.
The tell here is that Cruz endorsed on the day early voting started.
My thought is that if Ted believed he was signing up for the S.S. Trumptanic, he would not have endorsed. If he was to throw away his appeal to those principled voters who backed him to the end, whose consciences will not allow them to vote for Trump, it would have to be for a cause he feels has a chance to win.
The worst-case scenario for Cruz is a Hillary landslide. As it is, a Trump win might be Cruz’s only chance at political salvation. But this isn’t about Cruz, it’s about Trump. Cruz’s endorsement is a big boon to Trump, in that his major rivals have now come on board.
Ohio early voting begins on October 12. If I had to make a prediction, look for the last holdout, Gov. John Kasich, to swing in line right about then. It’s possible Kasich won’t do it–he doesn’t have a much to lose as Cruz (plus, he’s a jackass).
With Trump, it’s all about scenes, camera angles, sets, blocking, focus and timing. We’re quickly approaching the final battle: Single combat with the super villain, Hillary. All of Trump’s acting skills will be on display.
Clinton is indeed very worried right now, musing “why aren’t I 50 point’s ahead, you may ask?” She knows why.