Donald Trump has managed to have an incredibly bad couple of weeks. He has squandered a mini-bounce after his convention, and has engaged in one piece of self destructive behavior after another. His poll numbers have fallen, and a number of members of his own party have indicated they will refuse to vote for him. Some have even indicated they will vote for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Yet make no mistake about it, despite his slumping poll numbers, Donald Trump can still win this election. Three months is a lifetime in an election cycle, and anything can happen. No, the scenario is probably not a rust-belt strategy with Trump winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, etc. The electoral map is not the place to look for a Trump victory at this time.
One signal came with a new dump of Hillary emails from the right-wing group, Judicial Watch. The fallout from this set of e-mails is pretty small potatoes actually. The worst that can be said is that there was too much blurring of the lines between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department under Clinton. The most damning email being discussed shows no involvement by Mrs. Clinton herself, and it was essentially a request from a Clinton Foundation donor to meet with an ambassador -- a meeting, incidentally, which did not take place.
It will take a lot more than that kind of news to elect Donald Trump at this point. Yet the problem is we just don't know what else could be out there. There have already been threats to release more damning emails. Trump's Russian involvement seems certain and troubling. An October surprise is a real possibility.
The second October surprise reality is a possible terrorist attack, especially one here in the United States. It is difficult to know what the response of the electorate might be. On the one hand, voters might say this is all the more reason to keep this dangerous man away from the commander-in-chief role. However, they might also move in the direction of fear and say we need a strong man like Trump to protect us.
Additionally, it is worth noting that domestic unrest could be a factor. No one can say what might be the result of more demonstrations and violence in cities across the country. After all, Trump is the "law and order" candidate.
For those who have decided that Donald Trump is unfit to be president, it is important not to become complacent and believe this election is over. It is far from over. It is necessary to continue to remind people of everything Trump has said since his campaign began and how these utterances make him unfit for the job he seeks.
Tom Friedman's New York Times editorial makes pretty clear Trump's unfitness for office and the danger he poses. Friedman illustrates how inflamed rhetoric led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Israel in 1995. Friedman minces no words when he says of Trump, "He is a disgusting human being. His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray ... that he loses all 50 states."
If anyone doubts the danger of putting a man such as Trump in charge of the country, the new president of the Philippines offers a cautionary tale. In a few short months he has begun a process of dismantling democracy and is striking terror across a country that has been a proud democracy for many decades.
We don't know the extent to which some of Trump's statements might incite growing hostility and violence even after the election, win or lose. His latest statements about action by second amendment enthusiasts and his suggestion that cheating is the only way his opponent could win are the incendiary kinds of statements that can have unforeseen consequences.
The Republican foreign policy establishment has come out strongly against Trump because of their concerns about him. They see him as lacking in basic understanding of foreign policy issues and erratic in his behavior. Generally reluctant to take sides in a political campaign, this group felt compelled to speak out because of the importance of this election. It is unlikely that Trump will pivot to a more reasonable approach to campaigning and we can expect his daily and weekly gaffes to continue, but his unfitness for office needs to remain front and center.
Large poll leads for Clinton in important swing states can lead one to conclude that this election is over. Yet it is difficult to believe that these polls won't tighten as the weeks go on. What I believe won't change, and what needs to be remembered, is how completely Donald Trump has disqualified himself from ever being president of the United States.