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.
The week started with Hillary Clinton facing serious accusations of corruption and cronyism related to her meetings with Clinton Foundation donors while serving as secretary of state. It ended with experts and pundits wondering if she had possibly ended Donald Trump’s campaign with a fiery speech calling out his ties to the racist, anti-Semitic alt-right.
Talk about a quick turnaround. But so it is when Trump is your opponent.
Instead of going after Hillary on the issues, Trump spent the week 1) calling Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski “clowns,” insinuating they had a romantic relationship, and saying that Brzezinski was “off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess!" and 2) currying favor with black voters by telling them that in the Trump era, “You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot.” Meanwhile, his campaign manager argued that polls that show him losing are wrong, “because it’s become socially desirable, if you’re a college-educated person in the United States of America, to say that you’re against” a man who calls women neurotic messes and implies that black people can’t walk down the street without getting shot.
Such Trumpian outbursts earned eye-rolls from our skeptical conservative pundits.
Imagine a gigantic number of shy Trump voters. Could be enough to get him up to...38? https://t.co/YQD6EP2cOo— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) August 24, 2016
But they didn’t hurt him with his supporters, who still see Hillary as a bigger problem:
Why do Trump voters have to morally justify their vote but Hillary voters do not?— Dennis Prager (@DennisPrager) August 23, 2016
Many of our conservative pundits might share Clinton’s opinion that the alt-right is not reflective of the conservative movement, but they had mixed reactions to the speech itself.
The party that cannot denounce, reject and shun Trump is a party on the verge of extinction. https://t.co/YC2ELWBCLJ— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) August 26, 2016
At the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro wrote:
Hillary Clinton gave one of the most cynical, hypocritical, pandering and clever political speeches in recent memory. … Clinton simultaneously linked the alt-right to Trump and separated it from traditional conservatism. It was smart politics. It was also unlikely to move the needle very much in a race already so polarized that few Americans either believe Hillary Clinton or like Donald Trump.
Shapiro gets to the heart of this election. However distasteful Trump might be to some conservatives, Clinton has enough baggage that she’s unlikely to win over many people who are desperately seeking someone to vote for. Like Guy Benson.
In responding to a Twitter user who said that the big moment of Hillary’s speech was when she suggested that Republicans had a choice between “Ryanism or Trumpism,” Benson responded like this:
The choice is easy and clear: Ryanism. Which also compels me to oppose Clinton. https://t.co/2c26ozk7Cp— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 25, 2016
Which is a longwinded way to say: No movement in the tracker this week.