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Clinton’s gaffe is bad – really bad

In spouting racist, alienating rhetoric from the get-go, Trump has made himself almost immune to the political stumbles which would cause the careers of conventional politicians to unravel. The things he’s said and done would be enough to lose an entire Senate’s worth of politicians their seats. America has become numb to his bigotry.

Clinton is being held to a much higher standard.

Clinton is, quite simply, being held to a much higher standard. Some of this is a response to the popular perception of Clinton as the ‘establishment’ candidate, and some of it is indeed rooted in sexism. For Clinton, it’s not fair, and that’s just the way it is.

One slip was always going to be enough to dishevel her entire campaign, given the intense level of scrutiny Clinton is under. That slip has just come… and it’s a big one.

By telling voters that if they vote Trump, in her eyes they are “racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it”, she just broke the golden rule of elections: don’t attack the electorate.

By deliberately positioning himself as the anti-PC, anti-establishment candidate, Trump has crafted himself a get out of jail free card on this principle. Trump criticizes the electorate frequently, but the nature of his position means that this simply entrenches his support. Given the conventional nature of Clinton’s campaign, she doesn’t have the same luxury.

It really is nothing short of extraordinary that decades of experience haven’t cautioned Clinton against perpetrating one of the cardinal sins of campaigning.

One small push could tip voters either way.

With record numbers of both third-party and undecided voters to play for (almost 20%), there’s still a lot at stake in this election. One push could tip voters either way.

People are angry at the establishment, not only in the US, but right around the world. They don’t like being told what to do, to go back into their box. This is very worrying for Clinton.

At worst, what happened with Brexit could happen again. Despite believing that they will be worse off, the population flicks up two fingers at the political elite, and votes for the protest candidate (in this case, Trump).

Clinton’s base is also notably less loyal than her opponent’s. A recent CNN poll found that only 46% of her supporters were enthusiastic about voting for her, compared to 58% of Trump’s.

It doesn’t matter that she has now retracted her comments either. They were uttered, and everybody’s heard them – those impressions have already been made. Nothing can turn back the clock now – no-one listens to the apology. Hillary Clinton’s numbers have suffered already.

I’m not saying that this will cost Clinton the election, it could turn out to be nothing, but we mustn’t underestimate what this has the potential to be. If Trump wins on a knife-edge, this could very well be the cause of it.

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