In the game of tennis, there is a term called “unforced error,” which is defined as any error in a service or a shot, which cannot be attributed to anything other than the fault of the player in question. Now, I’m no tennis expert, or even particularly a fan of the sport; but I do know enough to realize what an unforced error is – a screw up by the player. Well, by definition, the last week or so of the Clinton campaign has displayed a series of unforced errors, which appears to be taking a toll on former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s numbers.
The first of those unforced errors occurred on Friday, September 9th, when she referred to Trump’s supporters, as belonging in 2 baskets: one being a basket of “the deplorables”, and the other being those that have felt let down by the government. Do you think that calling millions of Americans “deplorable” may have been a knock against her? Well, the polls seem to indicate that it probably hurt her:
Economist/YouGov – Clinton 42%, Trump 40%, September 10th-13th (all after the “deplorables” comment)
Rasmussen – Trump 42%, Clinton 40%, September 12th-13th
CBS News/NYT – Clinton 42%, Trump 42%, September 9th-13th (mostly after the comment)
These three polls averaged together, has the two major candidates tied. While it is admittedly a very small sample size, I had pointed out last week in my latest column that Clinton still held a lead over Trump, albeit much smaller than it was before (disclaimer – I don’t do this for self-promotional purposes, rather, to provide context.) In addition to these most recent national polls, Trump now LEADS in Ohio and Iowa and is TIED in North Carolina. Even in Virginia, a state that is favorable to Clinton, her lead is down to just over 5 points, and the most recent poll has her up only 3 points. But, the “deplorables” comment isn’t the only issue she has going on right now.
This past Sunday was the 15-year anniversary of the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11th, 2001. As it is every year, this date is marked by a reading of the names of all those that lost their lives in the worst attack on United States soil, in well over a century. Both candidates attended the ceremony, separately. Only 1, however, was forced to leave the scene early – you guessed it, Hillary Clinton.
In what was deemed as a “health episode” by a law enforcement officer on-scene, Mrs. Clinton stumbled and fell as she exited the 9/11 memorial site, and went to daughter Chelsea’s apartment, rather than seeking medical attention at a hospital. According to Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, “Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies,” and it was revealed that she had been dealing with dehydration from pneumonia. After emerging from Chelsea’s apartment, she was smiling and laughing, and hugged a little girl in the street, in what has been referred to by some naysayers as a staged appearance. Speculation has also run rampant that the person who emerged was NOT Clinton, but perhaps a body double. Now, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but upon reviewing the pictures of Clinton at the memorial, and the woman that was seen outside the apartment, there are strange differences in appearance. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it’s her, or not.
The NEXT unforced error came on September 12th when it was reported that Secretary Clinton had avoided going to the E.R. to conceal the facts behind her health condition and treatment. By Secret Service protocol, she would have gone to Bellevue Hospital, a state-designated Level 1 Trauma Center. However, her campaign decided to avoid this process and had Mrs. Clinton hideout at Chelsea’s apartment. For a candidate already dealing with serious honesty and trustworthy concerns, the LAST thing she can afford to do is hide during a potential health crisis.
What has Mr. Trump’s response been? Surprisingly, given his track record before hiring Kellyanne Conway as his Campaign Manager, he’s managed to take advantage of the situation. I have not noticed ONE instance where he has taken the attention off of Mrs. Clinton, by acting up and causing controversy for himself. On the contrary, in an appearance on Dr. Oz’s show, he took the opportunity to contrast his health, which appears to be quite strong, against potentially serious issues with Hillary’s.
After asking Trump a series of questions, the responses to his questions appeared to demonstrate a lack of issues in regards to any history with illnesses, other than bouts of hay fever that were predominant during his childhood years. It doesn’t seem that Trump has any reason for concern with his prostate, intestinal tract, any history of cancer in his family, and his cholesterol levels are under control. Now, whether or not he is forthright will eventually come out, which could completely change the ballgame. But, as of now, his level of transparency far outshines Mrs. Clinton’s. It’s a joke that he considers waving his hands around during speeches, to be “exercise”; but, that could also be construed as him joking around.
And so, now under eight weeks away from election day, and even less time yet to elapse until early voting commences, the polls are tight, Trump is taking the lead in several battleground states, and this election is as interesting as it’s ever been. Much of these changes have been the result of Clinton’s tanking poll numbers, and not so much a rise by Donald Trump. However, all that matters is who wins – particularly in the key states of Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Iowa.
We don’t yet know the extent to which the polls will reflect the damage caused by all the unforced errors by Mrs. Clinton, and we certainly don’t yet know if Trump can behave himself for long enough to take advantage. But what we DO know, is that in an election between 2 candidates with serious, trustworthy issues, the candidate that can prove themselves to be the LEAST untrustworthy, could very well prevail.
Will Hillary Clinton’s problem with unforced errors continue? Stay tuned.