Pre-debate pundit tracker.

Donald Trump Was Almost Normal This Week

Donald Trump Was Almost Normal This Week

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The Slatest
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Sept. 23 2016 4:49 PM

This Week’s Conservative Pundit Tracker: Can’t Wait to Debate Edition

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Miami, Florida.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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.


Is Donald Trump starting to behave like a presidential candidate? He renounced his birtherism, at least kind of, avoided weighing in at all on the demise of Brangelina, and responded to the unrest in Charlotte with a not-irresponsible tweet.

The most embarrassing gaffe of the week for his campaign, in fact, was committed by a surrogate, when Don King dropped the n-word while introducing Trump at a rally at a Cleveland church. (Or maybe it was this lady.)

Our conservative Trump skeptics, spared of having to react to the outrageous statement of the day, instead spent the week emphasizing how they deem both candidates unfit for office. “I have to admit that while I may view Hillary Clinton’s campaign as anti-American, I view Donald Trump’s campaign as un-American,” wrote Erick Erikson in a column at The Resurgent, with the troll-tastic headline “Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump.” (Spoiler alert: He’s not.)

With 44 days until the election, we are starting to see a bit of movements from our pundits. We are moving syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell into the Trump column for comparing the choice between Clinton and Trump to the choice a WWII fighter pilot would face if his plane burst into flames.

If he bails out, there is no guarantee that his parachute will open. But even if he lands safely in the ocean, he may be eaten by sharks. If he comes down on land, he may be captured by the Japanese and tortured and/or killed.
In other words, there are huge and potentially fatal risks. But, if he remains in the plane, he is doomed for certain. To me, Donald Trump represents multiple and potentially fatal risks. But Hillary Clinton is a certainty of disaster.

And George Will moves a smidge, from “Inscrutable” to “Someone Else,” for telling an audience that he might write in the name of a conservative anti-Trumper but won’t for Gary Johnson because "Third parties are like wasps; they sting and die."

On to the tracker.

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.

Suzanne Monyak is a Slate intern.

Osita Nwanevu is a Slate staff writer.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Chris Kirk is a web developer at New York magazine and Slate’s former interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Holly Allen is a Slate web designer.