Back in my Zen days, I came up with this little mindfulness exercise: when things seemed to be on the edge of disaster, I’d breathe and tell myself, “When Time is running out, slow down.”
This came back to me on the train home as I was reading about the FBI letter announcing they found some more Clinton emails they are going to research. This, doubtless, had Clinton supporters reaching for the Mylanta or the bourbon, and my Facebook feed is already populating with the gleeful cheers of the Right who once again think they will finally get to dance on the grave of Hillary Clinton’s political career, bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah.
To all of you, I advise: breathe.
First up, Director Comey’s letter says the FBI discovered emails that “appear to be pertinent to the investigation” (we assume he means the one into whether Sec. Clinton might have broken any laws through her use of a private email to handle official email. He goes on to say there’s no way, at this point, to determine whether anything in these emails is “significant.” Now, I was a journalist for a long time, and I’ve been in D.C. long enough to know that’s not going to matter, Nuance is for sissies in our current world. The letter is being blown up all over as though the emails must, must have what all the Clinton haters, right and left, have been waiting for: proof she’s guilty of something.
Second, keep in mind the FBI has stumbled over more emails more than once before. There’s never been anything in them worth the fuss, and they haven’t changed public opinion. We’ve been hearing about her emails for 18 months, an outgrowth of the Benghazi (BENGHAZI!! BENGHAZI!!) “investigation” that even the Republicans admit was a trumped-up (pun certainly intended) attempt to cripple her candidacy. The public knows all about her emails. Perhaps this will blunt her recent surge in the polls, perhaps not. We’ll know more, probably by the middle of next week. The stock market didn’t take it well, I know; investors are terrified at the thought of a Trump presidency (let that one sink in).
Third, news reports are indicating the new emails didn’t come from Clinton’s private server or that they were deliberately withheld from investigators or that they were even from Clinton herself.
Finally, even if this dents Clinton’s momentum, consider the political math. She needs to win 270 votes to become president. Yes, it would be great, from her supporters’ point-of-view, if she got to 300+ to really put a stamp on the election and help with the Dems making gains in Congress, but she needs 270 to win. Her overall chances of winning are about 80 percent or better, depending on whose crystal ball you’re reading. In the states she must win, there’s only one – New Hampshire – where she’s below 85 percent. She does not need to win Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, or Nevada. Of the states she needs to win, perhaps Trump might gain ground in Michigan or Pennsylvania or New Hampshire or Maine, but he’s pretty far behind in all of those, and, like I said, we’ve heard all this before. And don’t forget, early voting has been underway for some time. There are indications that Dem voters are turning out in force and the Clinton is peeling off Republican women. Donald Trump has convinced so many people he is as dangerous as he is odious that emails may not matter.
I know it’s throwing sand against the sea, but let’s hold off until November 1st or 2nd before we make too much of this.