Each week we’re publishing a new chart showing where our group of 25 right-wing pundits stand on the question of Trump, and you’ll be able to look back at past weeks to see if minds are changing. Our categories are “Voting Trump,” “Voting Clinton,” “Not Voting,” “Someone Else,” and “Inscrutable.” Someone else means either a third party candidate or a write-in. Inscrutable includes pundits who have voiced opposition to both Trump and Clinton, but are otherwise undecided, and those who are sharply critical of Trump but haven’t stated a preferred alternative. Click on a pundit’s head to see what he or she has said about the election this week. (If someone doesn’t write or speak or tweet—crazy, but possible— in a given week, we’ll assume they are “thinking…” Also: We are scouring the internet obsessively, but it’s a big place and it’s possible someone will say something that we miss. We are confident you’ll let us know in comments if so!)
Will the Inscrutables pull it together come November? Will anyone else jump on the Hillary train? Will more pundits coalesce around a third-party candidate? Or will everyone eventually fall into line for Trump between now and Election Day? Keep an eye on this weekly tracker to find out.
One can only hope that July 5, 2016, is when the 2016 presidential campaign hit rock bottom. The day started with FBI Director James Comey announcing that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would not be indicted for maintaining a private email server as secretary of state, because while she was “extremely careless” in mishandling classified material, her behavior did not rise to the prosecutable standard of “gross negligence.”*
Instead of taking advantage of that extremely wide opening to make some headway with voters, though, Donald Trump spent the afternoon praising, um, Saddam Hussein.
"He was a bad guy—really bad guy,” Trump said at a rally Tuesday afternoon. “But you know what? He did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn't read them the rights. They didn't talk. They were terrorists. Over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism," Trump said.
The events of the day left many of our conservative pundits lamenting the lesser-of-two-evil choice that awaits in November.
In selecting Trump GOP found only person more dangerous to health of republic than Clinton https://t.co/kFKhLDjoiV— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) July 6, 2016
Trump is the only Republican who could possibly lose to this crook and the GOP is about to nominate him.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 5, 2016
As always, only Hillary Clinton can make Donald Trump look legitimate, and only Donald Trump can make Hillary Clinton look legitimate.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 5, 2016
Hillary’s narrow escape did nothing to persuade conservative pundits that she was a better alternative than Trump, and Trump’s affectionate comments about Saddam lauched a thousand sighs. As for movement in our tracker, we’re going to put Michelle Malkin from “Trump” into “inscrutable” based on her response to comments by Clinton that Trump was unqualified and unfit: “Unqualified pot, meet unfit kettle.”
On to the tracker.
*Correction, July 9, 2016: This post originally misquoted FBI Director James Comey as calling Hillary Clinton's private email server “extremely carelessness.” Comey called it “extremely careless.”