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The Last Word

Undecided Voters may be Running out the Clock

By Bill Vickery

So now what? Have you decided? Has this election “grabbed” you yet?

If there’s anything certain about this presidential election, it’s that uncertainty remains its central theme.

The narrative is clear. This is an election unlike any other. But with only about three weeks left before ballots are cast, undecided voters must make up their minds. The answers to several important questions may finally convince them to make a choice. Or the tabloid style campaigning (and let’s not be hypocritical here, both sides—even us simple voters—are full throttle into this type of campaigning…even if it sometimes makes us feel like we’re slowing down to look at a wreck on the side of the road) may drive many Americans to just skip voting in the presidential election.

Can Mr. Trump show himself to be “presidential?” On August 31, Trump visited Los Pinos in Mexico City, and, for the first time in the campaign, showed the potential to be a leader on the world stage. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, later that same day, he fell back into the comfort zone of his stump speech, which is unfavorably viewed by most Americans. He must find opportunities to prove that he’s worthy of the job and that his temperament is suited to handle the rigors of the highest office in the land.

Will Republicans unify around their nominee? The Republican Party went through a battering and bruising 16-person primary. Many traditional Republican leaders still refuse to endorse or speak out on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Recently a number of top GOP operatives even endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson, while former President George H.W. Bush admitted that he would likely vote for Secretary Clinton. As we approach Election Day, will traditional Republican voters’ disdain for the Clintons outweigh their disappointment in the results of the GOP primary?

Can Secretary Clinton stay “on message?” While she has shown herself to be an incredibly disciplined politician over the past 30 years, she must continue to fight off distractions. Rumors of her deteriorating health were bolstered as she appeared to lose control of her body at a September 11th memorial service. The FBI continues to release additional emails from her private server that have not previously been seen. Will Secretary Clinton continue to shrug off these hot-button issues and stay focused? The answer could determine her ability to gain 270 electoral votes.

But let’s be honest, this campaign doesn’t turn on foreign policy, monetary policy, domestic policy or even a car insurance policy—this election year is dominated by something called WikiLeaks and a hot mic macho back-and-forth on Access Hollywood. Who knew that the most impactful Bush in this campaign season would be Billy?

At this late stage, it’s less about the candidates than it is about the perceptions of them by those voters who haven’t yet taken a side. They’re running out of time and maybe that’s what they want—this whole thing to be over.

 

Bill Vickery is a founding partner of Capitol Advisors Group and serves as the firm’s managing partner. For over 20 years he has been a fixture on the Arkansas political scene. He has appeared on CNN’s Inside Politics, the Imus In The Morning radio program, and the NBC Nightly News. Back home in Arkansas he hosts a statewide radio political program, The Sunday Buzz, and appears every Friday morning on the NBC station in Little Rock as a panelist on Political Plays. He also appears on Capitol View, a weekly political television talk show.

 

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