With one month to go, I’ll make two predictions about the presidential race.
First, Donald Trump isn’t leaving the race, and indeed seems oblivious to the storm of criticism surrounding him.
“I haven’t heard from anyone saying I should drop out, and that would never happen, never happen,” Trump told the New York Times on Saturday. “That’s not the kind of person I am. I am in this until the end.”
Second, look for more October surprises in hairpin curves in the course of the race. The simultaneous leaks of Donald Trump’s lewd remarks and the publishing of excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches are only the beginning.
We’re going to see the biggest mud bath in American history. The problem for Donald Trump is that his problems will likely get more attention and do more damage to him than Hillary’s.
If the presidential race is decided by October surprises, sex almost certainly tops money. Look at how Trump’s sex tape has overshadowed the leaks of Hillary Clinton’s speech transcripts. “The human brain is hardwired to understand sex stories a lot better than stories involving numbers,” says Los Angeles public relations specialist Michael Levine.
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Trump is already taking new body blows over his raunchy and degrading treatment of women. A CNN analysis of previously unreleased tapes of Trump appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show have the billionaire saying it’s OK for Stern to call his daughter a “piece of ass.”
He also professed shock when Stern told him he was faithful to his wife: “You’re kidding. Really. What’s that all about?
Trump could also be buffeted by the leaking of more of his confidential tax-returns. After all, someone in the IRS did precisely that in 2012, illegally leaking tax information about Mitt Romney.
Trump himself criticized Romney for delaying release of his tax returns, saying he “was hurt very badly” by that.
Meanwhile, portions of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails that were deleted but recovered by the FBI were released on Friday. They indicate that top Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were involved in planning private speeches on foreign policy for Bill Clinton while they were on the State Department’s payroll — a clear conflict of interest.
Excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s series of well-paid speeches to the investment firm Goldman Sachs are embarrassing.
She minimized the role of banks in the 2008 economic collapse, admited she’s out of touch with the middle class and said she has “both a public and a private position” on key economic issues.
She also told Brazilian bankers that “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future,” “Open borders” is a common term describing largely unrestrained immigration, something Hillary claims to oppose.
But Hillary could have more headaches. WikiLeaks has already released a slew of emails purloined from Hillary’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, hints that new revelations could involve more deleted emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server and could be related to the close ties between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.
Peter Schweizer, the author of an expose on the Foundation called “Clinton Cash,” told me: “The activities of Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state intersect with the favor-seeking of the Clinton Foundation. It is strange that so few of her publicly released emails touch on the Clinton Foundation. Maybe the private ones do.”
Speculation about additional October surprises is rampant among political observers now. No one knows for sure how much impact other October surprises of leaked information could have. But clearly anything is possible in this cut-throat year of political surprises.
That’s why polls are only of so much use – they may be dramatically overcome by events on the ground.
John Fund is a columnist for National Review. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFund.