FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify Congressional leaders of the reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation is a huge story and could prove to be the October surprise folks have been wondering about. Of course, it might turn out to be something that fizzles out or it could even be overshadowed by another Donald Trump outrage. But for now, the substance and the timing could not possibly be worse for the person who has been deemed the “inevitable next President”.
This story is a very big deal for several reasons. First, it changes the conversation with a little over a week to go. It will be very difficult for Clinton to get back on track, unless Trump dominates with news of his own. But this issue will not be over and threatens to derail her candidacy. A full investigation of the matter cannot possibly be completed in a short period of time so this will just hang out there as a dark cloud allowing people – especially undecided voters who have been wavering – to be reminded of why they have been having a rough time coming to grips with voting for Clinton in the first place.
Second, it comes at a time when the race is getting tighter. Clinton’s numbers are going down and Trump’s are actually increasing. Just this week the polls have narrowed considerably, notably the Washington Post/ABC News Poll which had Clinton leading 50% to 38% over Trump just last Sunday and is now 47% to 45%. Trump has gained 7 points in that one poll alone, while Clinton has lost 3 points. And this poll only is now in line with most others showing a tight race. This story is like a punch to the gut and could cause a free fall for her.
Third, just as some undecided voters were on the verge of concluding that perhaps she is the lesser of two evils, they may just change their minds. And she needs as many of these voters as she can get. Millennials, in particular, have been recently moving toward supporting Clinton. But news like this only raises doubts among a group that has not been very enthusiastic toward her candidacy.
Fourth, it reminds people of why they have not liked her. Regardless of the decades of public service and advocacy, Bill and Hillary Clinton always seem to have the smell of self-aggrandizement surrounding them. The Wikileaks emails have not dispelled those concerns and now even more serious questions will arise in the next wave of leaks because the media will now pounce on the story amidst the cloud of concern raised by Director Comey.
And finally, the last name she or any Democrat needs to hear right now is Anthony Weiner. Whether this is fair or not, it will be very difficult for Clinton to take the high moral ground when the lowest of the low is linked to her and her campaign.
So contrary to the outrage that Clinton advocates and Democrats are expressing about the timing and lack of detail in the news of the investigation, this is a very big story and a possible game changer.