Every presidential campaign is going to have ups and downs, and peaks and valleys, usually for reasons that the candidate and his/her team can’t control. About a month ago, for example, Hillary Clinton’s fortunes appeared to be taking a turn for the worse.
Her poll support was dwindling; there was increased chatter surrounding Vice President Biden; Bernie Sanders was being cheered by massive crowds; and the political world, for reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, was fascinated with Clinton’s email server management.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver explained that Clinton was “stuck in a poll-deflating feedback loop,” in which the national press hammered her for some perceived weakness, which caused her to lose public support, which produced weaker poll numbers, which caused the national press to hammer her again, starting the cycle anew.
But that was last month. This month, offers a very different take on Clinton’s candidacy. NBC News’ First Read had a good piece this morning:
She came. She saw. She – take your pick – conquered/thrived/survived. As a matter of pure political theater, yesterday’s Benghazi committee hearing was a victory for Hillary Clinton and an overwhelming defeat for House Republicans. And perhaps more importantly, it caps off the best 10-day stretch Clinton could have asked for. […]At the beginning of this month, we told you how important October was going to be for Clinton’s presidential bid after her summer struggles: If she doesn’t end up as the nominee, we’ll be able to trace it back to the events in October. Conversely, if she DOES end up the nominee, it will be because of what happened in October. And so – with the reminder that anything can happen in politics – we think we have our answer to our October question.
Consider this list of recent developments:
Oct. 3: Clinton makes a well-received appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”
Oct. 13: Clinton delivers a very strong debate performance.
Oct. 16: A Boston Globe poll shows Clinton reclaiming the lead in New Hampshire.
Oct. 20: National polling shows Clinton expanding on her national lead.
Oct. 21: Vice President Biden withdraws from presidential consideration the same week as Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee end their Democratic campaigns.
Oct. 22: The Republicans’ Benghazi Committee grills Clinton for 11 hours, but the ordeal leaves her looking competent, poised, and presidential.
Oct. 23: A Quinnipiac poll in Iowa that had showed Clinton trailing in September found her with a double-digit lead.
Politico quoted Bob Shrum, a veteran Democratic consultant and occasional Clinton critic, saying, “’She’s had the kind of couple of weeks that you pray for in presidential politics.”
Of course, just as she was facing considerable criticism a month ago, one never knows what the near future has in mind for Clinton. But at least for now, the “poll-deflating feedback loop” has gone quiet.