This is the week that everyone in the political world woke up to the fact that we now have a real race for president between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That’s bad news for the Democratic nominee.
The week began with Clinton falling ill at an event honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We found out later that she was suffering from pneumonia, a diagnosis she had received 48 hours earlier but only shared with a small circle of campaign advisers.
That series of events ignited a national conversation not only about Clinton’s health but also about her tendency toward secrecy – neither of which represents ground where she or her campaign wants to be fighting.
Even as Clinton’s team was working to quiet her health rumors – they released a letter from her personal physician making clear she was battling a mild pneumonia – and the candidate herself was taking some time off the campaign trail to recuperate, a series of national and swing state polling came out showing Trump with the momentum in the race.
Ohio, Florida and Nevada — among other swing states — are moving in Trump’s direction. At the national level, Clinton’s lead over Trump has shrunk to less than a point – 44.9 percent to 44 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.
Clinton got some better news as the week ended. Trump held a bizarre event to disavow any belief that he spent the last five years questioning whether President Obama was born in the United States. (He did.) And Clinton got a boost Sunday morning with a new non-partisan poll in Pennsylvania showing her up nine points in a close-to-must-have state for Trump.
But, what once looked like a blowout for Clinton no longer looks like any such thing. And, the longer the race stays close, the more the pressure ramps up on Clinton. She is the one with the demographic and electoral edges, the one everyone expected to win. Trump is already playing with house money, having won a primary that no one – maybe not even he himself – thought he would. Pressure can do funny things to a person.
Hillary Clinton, for watching a blowout turn into a nip and tuck affair, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.