The Election Is Over
 5:00 AM, OCT 13, 2016 | By JONATHAN V. LAST 


 (Photo credits: Lorie Shaull and Michael Vadon)

 I've been telling you—for a couple months now—that Donald Trump is not going 
to be president. I've gotten a lot of pushback on this from readers who 
proclaim, variously, that the polls are wrong, that Trump is playing 
four-dimensional chess, that this is the second coming of Reagan, or that 
Beltway Establishment types like me don't understand what's happening in Real 
America. (I live pretty far outside the Beltway, fwiw.)
 But after the Khan family, and first debate meltdown, and the 3:00 
queen tweets, and "grab them by the p**sy," and the second debate loss (check 
the polls), and now the polls showing that Hillary Clinton isn't just expanding 
her lead nationally, but thatArizona and Georgia are in play, I suspect people 
are starting to come around. This race is over. It has been over for months.
 This isn't a value judgment. It's just math. Come and look at the numbers with 

 - We are at Election Day -28. Currently Clinton is +6
 in the RealClear average.
 - That number is trending away from Trump. The "grab them by the p**sy" tape 
broke on the Friday night of a holiday weekend with a major hurricane hitting 
the east coast. Because of what Trump said in the tape, most media outlets are 
reporting his words elliptically, because they don't want to use his exact 
 Because of this, it will take a little longer for the actual news to filter 
down to voters, since they'll have to find the video footage themselves. So 
where a story like this usually takes four or five days, the Trump tape will 
probably take a full week. That puts us at ED -25.
 - Polls take a while to register voter disapproval-remember that in the 
initial three days after the first Trump-Clinton debate, people were running 
around saying, "See? The polls didn't move for her! Trump didn't hurt himself 
and she's in trouble!" Then the polls moved.
 By the time the electorate has fully processed this story, we'll probably be 
somewhere around ED -20.
 So twenty days out from the election, Trump is going to be down by at least 8 
points in the national average.
 If you were sitting with a calendar, it would be pretty safe to bet that the 
next week will be taken up with stories litigating whether or not Trump's 
"locker-room talk" was just talk, or whether he actually does have a history of 
sexually assaulting women. Maybe these stories will be he-said, she-said. Maybe 
there will be some evidence. If Trump responds to any of them with Android 
tweets, that eats up even more time from the clock. Let's say that brings us to 
ED -17.
 Where will he be sitting at that point?
 - As always, the national average is underselling Trump's structural problems 
 is out of reach. Just take it off the board. Ditto Colorado.
 And New Hampshire.
 And Virginia.
 When you go to the map, Clinton is working from a base of 278 electoral votes 
right now. That's her floor. But she's also solidly ahead in Florida
 and North Carolina.
 Don't take my word for it, go play with the map
 after looking at the polling averages. There is no path.
 -Even if you believed that Trump theoretically could bounce back-that all of 
the bad news is out and that he has the discipline and smarts and luck to put 
together a game-changing final charge-he has neither the room nor the time
 - That's because in the background of Trump's falling poll numbers, the number 
of truly undecided voters keeps shrinking. At some point-we're close to that 
moment already-Trump won't even be able to win the election by capturing 100 
percent of undecided voters. He'll be so far behind, with so few swing voters 
left, that victory requires winning all undecideds and converting a bunch of 
Clinton voters, too.
 - Trump's general election number has hovered around 40 percent for the better 
part of a year. If you look at that along with his numbers on favorability, 
trusthworthiness, and fitness for office-and still think that with 20 days to 
go he's suddenly going to hoover up every last undecided voter and then start 
converting Clinton partisans like John the Baptist at the River Jordan . . . 
well, I'm afraid I can't help you.
 - As I said, none of this is a moral argument for what should happen. I'm not 
wishcasting. It's just math. And the math of Trump's position is hopeless. Even 
if Trump turned the entire campaign around today and faced no other damaging 
attacks the rest of the way, it's over.
 But if the last year has taught us anything, it's that with Trump the bad news 
is never over. There's always another anvil dropping from the sky.
 Which is the euphemistic way of saying: There will be another tape.
 Sean Trende noted a particularly apt lesson
 from Clausewitz on the strategic imperatives when you fight a disintegrating 
army: You shell them. Then you wait for them to regroup. And then you shell 
them again.
 And whatever else you think of Hillary Clinton, she knows strategy.
 There is no time. There is no room to maneuver. There are no more potential 
inflection points. This race is over.
 The only unknown at this point is the magnitude of the loss.


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