This story was originally published on nationaljournal.com on October 18, 2016 It’s get­ting in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to char­ac­ter­ize the pres­id­en­tial race as com­pet­it­ive. It really isn’t. Don­ald Trump’s share of the vote hasn’t plummeted, but his num­bers among un­de­cided voters—the cru­cial swing voters who are not part of his base—have be­come tox­ic. He has doubled down on keep­ing his base in­tact, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult if not im­possible to ex­pand his sup­port. Mean­while, Liber­tari­an Gary John­son and the Green Party’s nom­in­ee, Jill Stein, are watch­ing their share of the vote shrink. Hil­lary Clin­ton is the be­ne­fi­ciary of all of this. When we look back on this race, we are likely to see a com­bin­a­tion of the first de­bate and the taped con­ver­sa­tions of Trump’s lewd and lout­ish re­marks about wo­men as the sem­in­al point. Be­fore then, Clin­ton had an edge but was no shoo-in. Now, it would take something mo­ment­ous to push Trump over the top. Clin­ton’s vic­tory mar­gin is likely to con­sist of people who don’t like or trust her but can­not stom­ach Trump. So what hap­pens down-bal­lot? Giv­en the re­cent

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