Smeared. Cleared. Repeat.
Released in the immediate runup to today’s presidential election, FBI director James Comey’s back-to-back letters—one on October 28 recklessly giving voters the impression that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in hot water with the FBI, and then another on November 6 saying the emails didn’t amount to anything—show the trajectory of Hillary Clinton's entire political life boiled down into 10 days.
Constantly facing incriminating innuendos over the last 20 years that cast her as being shady, conniving, or corrupt, Hillary Clinton— whether she’s being called to answer questions in front of hostile Republican committees or facing the third degree from the media—has been repeatedly condemned with ephemeral accusations that invariably end up having no solid basis. From Vince Foster to Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s supposedly sinister role has never materialized.
What may make the Comey affair even more perfect as the short version of the Clinton storyline is that this time, the last scene, Clinton's vindication, may be her ultimate victory—while simultaneously being her adversaries' crowning comeuppance.
Of course, it’s impossible to predict the future, and (fuck) it might “happen here,” and a Hitler wannabe, as this recent Vox opinion piece perfectly labeled Donald Trump, might beat Clinton. In that case, Comey’s letters will ultimately come to represent something else about Clinton entirely; perhaps it’ll be that, yes, there was a “vast right wing conspiracy.” And the FBI itself was in on it the whole time.
But if the polling and conventional wisdom stand (even Nate Silver's cautious election forecast has jumped nearly seven points in Clinton's favor in the last 48 hours) and Clinton does become the 45th president of the U.S. tonight (please), it’ll be hard to ignore October 28 through November 8 as the defining thread of the Hillary Clinton narrative.
*Footnote: I expect if Clinton does become president, this well-established storyline will continue, and her critics will bog her presidency down in hazy accusations.
In other pre-election analysis (at the local level), I'd offer this: With the potential for state senate Republican-to-Democratic flips in suburban Seattle and suburban Tacoma—Democratic challenger Lisa Wellman potentially beating Republican incumbent state senator Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island) and Democratic challenger Marisa Peloquin potentially beating Republican incumbent state senator Steve O'Ban (R-28, University Place) respectively—and with ST3's major light rail expansion on the ballot in the suburbs as well, including in Litzow's and O'Ban's very districts, one theme that could surface tonight is the emergence of a coherent liberal-leaning regionalism.
And that could ultimately be an exponential win for Democrats. With a mass transit plan that explicitly calls for transit oriented development along the light rail line (ie, density) as the organizing principle of a new regionopolis vision, a broader, less provincial mindset will likely make the Puget Sound a more unified base for progressive politics and leaders. As Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has told me: "Transit turns red districts blue."
Turnout is already at 52.5 percent statewide, at 53.8 percent in King County, 51 percent in Pierce County, and 45.2 in Snohomish County heading into Election Day.