Performances late in the season tend to be decisive.
Texas Rangers fans remember September of 2012. Going in to the month, the Rangers led the division and it seemed that they had a real shot at a third consecutive World Series. But their lead evaporated and it came down to a three-game series against the Oakland As. Oakland swept the series, relegating the Rangers to a one-game wild card playoff, which they lost to Baltimore.
Dallas Cowboys fans remember more Decembers than they would like to. The Cowboys have something of a habit of taking a decent or better season into December, only to fall apart and wind up out of the money.
Though not exact, the woes of the Rangers and Cowboys form a troubling analogy for Hillary Clinton.
As legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry once said, you streak into the playoffs. If that is true, Hillary Clinton needs to reverse a losing streak and right quickly.
If Mrs. Clinton loses an election that most experts expected her to win, political historians will likely mark September 11 as the turning point. It was on that Sunday that Hillary Clinton suffered a still-not-quite-explained medical episode that left her unable to walk to her waiting car or, for that matter, even stand up. The episode came the day after she gave a speech in which she labeled fully one quarter of the country “deplorable.”
Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers have been headed south since.
According to the daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times daily tracking poll of 3,000 voters from across the country, Trump now has a massive seven point lead nationally.
But national polls are less important than key state polls. The news for Mrs. Clinton is troubling on that front as well. Her seemingly insurmountable 19 point lead in Virginia is down to less than four. She has lost her leads in Ohio, Florida and Nevada.
Of greatest concern to Mrs. Clinton is a huge change in the LA Times national poll among black voters. Earlier this year, Donald Trump polled at something close to zero among black voters nationally. Today that poll shows Donald Trump has surged to 20 percent. It has long been acknowledged that for Hillary Clinton to win the White House, she will need the high turnout and high percentages of black voters that Barack Obama enjoyed. That Mrs. Clinton would garner such numbers has long been assumed. Until now.
Another big assumption by the Clinton camp is now in question. The received wisdom has been that Mrs. Clinton would easily win among so-called millennial voters – young people between the ages of 18 and 34. There she has collapsed as well. Trump now leads nationally among millennials by a nearly nine point margin.
It’s not the last month of the political season yet. We still have the month of October.
But the pressure is now clearly on for Mrs. Clinton to turn things around and win October decisively.
Many in Democratic circles are quietly fretting that she won’t.