Clinton, Trump in the final stretch
As polls showed Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead over Donald Trump, the two presidential candidates vigorously campaigned in battleground states that will decide the Nov. 8 election. At a rally in Gettysburg, Pa., Trump sought to refocus the campaign on policy with a list of actions he’d take in his first 100 days in office, including passing a broad tax cut, halting illegal immigration, renegotiating trade agreements, and repealing Obamacare. But the Republican nominee went off script to insist again that the election was being “rigged” against him, and pledged to sue the 11 “liars” who recently came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. He made the same assertions at stops in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. Clinton, whose campaign was hit by another batch of WikiLeaks email releases (see opposite page), made stops in many of the same states, with help from surrogates including President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
The final push in campaigning came after last week’s third and final debate, when Trump doubled down on his controversial refusal to confirm he would accept the results of the election (see Controversy), and clashed with Clinton on issues such as lateterm abortion and gun rights (see Talking Points). Polls varied widely, ranging from a 12-point Clinton lead in an ABC News poll to a 2-point Trump lead in an Investor’s Business Daily poll. The RealClearPolitics national poll average put Clinton’s lead at 5.9 points, down from 6.6 points last week. The Democratic nominee also retained her average leads in most of the key battleground states, including Florida (by 1.6 points), Pennsylvania (4.4), and North Carolina (2). Trump insisted that most polls were inaccurate, telling rallygoers, “I believe we’re actually winning.”
What the editorials said
Don’t write Trump off just yet, said The Washington Times. He may be trailing in most of the polls—“but not all.” The Investor’s Business Daily poll, which nailed the 2012 final margin, has the race as “effectively dead even.” That poll might be an outlier, of course, and Trump will need a big comeback to win. But 2016 has been full of surprises—“if it can be done, this might be the year.” For the sake of the country, “we need a landslide” victory for Clinton, said the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. Trump has led a campaign of “bigotry and ignorance,” targeting women, Muslims, and other groups with disgusting and divisive attacks. A clear and decisive victory for Clinton would show that “America is made of better stuff.”
What the columnists said
How different this election would have been with a strong Republican candidate, said Rich Lowry in the New York Post. The Democrats should be getting savaged for the failures of the Affordable Care Act, for Obama’s disastrous foreign policy weakness in Syria and with Russia, and for overseeing the most sluggish economic recovery since World War II. But all these issues have been eclipsed by Trump’s “early morning Twitter war with a former Miss Universe,” his videotaped boast about grabbing women, and his aside that Clinton is “a nasty woman.” All Clinton has had to do is sit back and let Trump self-destruct.
She deserves way more credit than that, said Ezra Klein in Vox.com. A few weeks ago, Trump and Clinton were almost tied in the polls. What changed? The Democratic nominee “crushed” her opponent in “the most effective series of debate performances in modern political history.” She skillfully got under Trump’s skin—questioning the size of his fortune, bringing up his attacks on women, telling him he “choked” when he met the president of Mexico. Trump, who dominated his male Republican rivals during the primary debates, was reduced to angry, childish sputtering. By now whining that the election is rigged against him, said Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post, Trump may depress the Republican turnout—turning his excuse into “a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
There are four possible scenarios on the table for Nov. 8, said Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight.com. Clinton could win by a landslide; or she could win by a margin similar to Obama’s in 2012—about four points; or either Clinton or Trump could snatch victory in a razor-thin race like the 2000 election. The Democratic nominee is currently in the “Obama zone,” but in the final days, the polls could tighten. This election isn’t over yet.
It wasn’t all bad
■Ed Whitlock is one speedy senior citizen. The 85-year-old Canadian finished last week’s Toronto Marathon in a world record–setting 3 hours, 56 minutes, and 33 seconds— demolishing the previous record for the men’s 85-to-89 age group by more than half an hour. Whitlock, who ran in a pair of 15-year-old sneakers, doesn’t believe in conventional race training. “No physios, ice baths, massages, tempo runs, heart rate monitors,” he says. “The more time you spend fiddle-diddling with this and that, the less time there is to run.”
■Jeremy Miller ain’t afraid of no ghosts. The California thirdgrader, who has spina bifida, has been in a wheelchair since age 3, but he never misses out on Halloween fun. His dad, Ryan, transforms the wheelchair into a show-stopping costume every October, and this year Jeremy will go trick-or-treating in a replica of the Ecto-1 car from the original Ghostbusters—one of Jeremy’s favorite movies. The remarkably detailed costume has flashing lights, a siren, and a speaker for blasting out the film’s theme music. “We’re also going to have a blown-up marshmallow man following him,” says Ryan. “It’ll be great.”
■A Georgia cop who saved a baby girl from choking is now proud to call her his goddaughter. Two-month-old Ma’Yavi Parham was struggling to swallow a chunk of cereal and turning blue when Lt. Kenneth Knox arrived at her family’s home. With seconds to spare, Knox performed reverse CPR, and sucked the cereal out of her windpipe. “Out of my 25 years being a cop this is my greatest and most profound accomplishment,” says Knox. Ma’Yavi’s thankful parents asked Knox if he would be their daughter’s godfather—a request he happily accepted. “I am forever humbled and changed by this.”