**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Trump and Hillary revert to type - Senate roundup: GOP on the ropes, but still swinging - Data Dive: What does history say? - Audible: Whoa, dude… - Can’t stop, won’t stop
TRUMP AND HILLARY REVERT TO TYPE
What is Donald Trump up to?
With a week to go, Trump is blitzing blue states in which he has no reasonable chance for a win. New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan and Pennsylvania hardly seem like the right places for the Republican nominee to be given razor-thin margins in must-win Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, plus some uncomfortably close red state matchups in Arizona and Georgia.
Is Trump trying to psyche-out Hillary Clinton? Are he and his campaign simply deluded? Do they have some secret knowledge that suggests blue state voters are really turning red for Trump?
We’ll have to wait for all the books to be written to find that out, but the safest bet is that Trump is playing some kind of head game in a bid to dispirit Democrats while they are smarting over Friday’s revelation of a renewed FBI inquiry into Clinton’s unhygienic email practices.
It’s not such a bad idea.
We don’t know exactly how the email revelations are affecting the race. We have scant polling taken after FBI Director James Comey’s letter and the subsequent flurry of law enforcement leaks starting on Friday.
But we did have polling in the week leading up the revelation that showed Republicans were coming home and the race was tightening.
Two weeks ago, the Halftime Report average of national polls showed Clinton up by more than 8 points in the race when minor-party candidates were included. One week ago, that margin was down to less than 7 points, and by Friday, Clinton’s advantage had fallen under 5 points, and that was all before Comey reinserted himself into the 2016 campaign. The race was reverting to its norm: a small but steady lead for Clinton.
In the polling since Friday, we have seen some increased voter intensity among Republicans, but also Democrats. This is why Trump calls Clinton’s unsecured emails “bigger than Watergate” and the “lowest point in the history of our country.” He wants Republicans to stay in a froth over this one.
But apparently so does Clinton when it comes to Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and others, including former Attorney General Eric Holder, are revving up partisan anger against the FBI and accusing Comey of trying to influence the election with a late, vague reminder to voters that Clinton mishandled state secrets.
Comey, hailed as an Elliot Ness for a new era by Democrats this summer when Comey folded his flag on the email prosecution, has been turned into the second coming of J. Edgar Hoover, sans the alternative fashion choices, of course.
Given the inclusion of persistent Democratic embarrassment, former Rep.Anthony Weiner and the reminder of one of Clinton’s most pernicious problems, why would Team Hillary want to talk up the issue? Any remaining persuadable voters would hardly be helped toward Clinton by a story about how Weiner’s sexting collided with national security.
The answer is probably much the same as it is for Trump: to keep base voters mobilized in the waning days.
Both sides may be betting on elections like 2000 and 1996 with rock-bottom turnout, in which slight gusts of partisan intensity can make for big changes in the final vote shares.
Certainly Trump would like to get the same kind of benefit from Comey’s missive that Al Gore did in 2000 from the revelation of George W. Bush’s youthful drunken driving incident.
And part of Clinton’s calculation here is that by turning up the heat on Comey, she can force a quicker resolution to current controversy. She is also able to show herself as a victim of the, you guessed it, overreach of a bunch of Republican men.
With eight days to go, the two candidates certainly seem to be resorting to their playbook: Trump is making outrageous boasts in a bid to keep his rivals off base and Clinton is asking supporters to help her defeat the same old “vast right wing conspiracy.”
Like two aging pitchers in a World Series duel, these two are going to go with the pitches they know.
THE RULEBOOK: DEPENDENT CLAUSE
“It is one thing to be subordinate to the laws, and another to be dependent on the legislative body.”– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 71
TIME OUT: HIGH SCORE
Arstechnica: “The National Videogame Museum (yes, they spell it as one word) has been open since April of this year in the Dallas-area suburb of Frisco, and it houses an incredible collection of gaming memorabilia. The rarest cartridges, systems, and prototypes are all here, protected as if they were the Mona Lisa(and for some game collectors, they may as well be). Come here to marvel at one-of-a-kind finds like a Nintendo World Championship cartridge, a mint-condition Ultra Hand toy, or the only known white-molded Atari 2600 in the world. But fear not; the giant museum houses a ton of playable games from every era imaginable, along with a lot of interactive exhibits. ‘We hate museums,’ NVM co-founder John Hardie told me while he gave me a tour of the space, and he emphasized that he wanted his creation to feel different than any other museum in the world.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
SENATE ROUNDUP: GOP ON THE ROPES, BUT STILL SWINGING
Even with ObamaCare seemingly up in flames and the Democratic presidential nominee under federal investigation, Republicans are still in for a dire fight to keep their majority in the Senate. With races like Missouri and Indiana competitive this close to Election Day, it does not bode well for the GOP, but can Democrats take the blue team over the five-seat edge?
Bayh’s record in jeopardy as Republicans tear at his legacy in closing days - Indy Star
Coastal N.C. seen as key to Burr re-election bid - [Wilmington, N.C.] Star News
Rubio holds widening lead against Murphy - Tampa Bay Times
Toomey, McGinty employ armies to suburban Philadelphia - [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call
Ayotte’s New Hampshire race could be the one to tip the Senate scale - NRO
Blunt seeks bipartisanship in the closing days - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Nevada Dems crow about early vote lead in Senate contest, but race going down to wire - Las Vegas Sun
Campaign finance reform fan Feingold forced to return sketchy donation - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gay rights group dumps Kirk after debate taunt - Politico
DATA DIVE: WHAT DOES HISTORY SAY?
As pundits continue to obsess over polling, Chris Stirewalt gives a look back at what past election polling has shown at this point in the campaign compared to how the candidates finish. “Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What” breaks it all down. WATCH HERE.
AUDIBLE: WHOA, DUDE…
“Thank God he’s leaving is my initial reaction. My second reaction is: I did not know Mormons used drugs. And anyone who is capable of sending out that press release has to be under the influence of something.” – Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. reacting to Sen. Harry Reid’s letter to Comey on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
CNN severs ties with DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile in wake of new hacked email revelations - Mediaite
Nate Silver under pressure to get it right - WaPo
Nearly 22 million people have already voted in this election - NYT
The new evangelical moral minority - The New Yorker
Trump reportedly offered Christie veep spot then rescinded over family pressure - NY Post
Cuomo’s ties to ‘Bridgegate’ cover up develop as trial goes on - NYT
Trump heads back to Mich. today, claiming the state is still in play - Detroit Free Press
Biden says he didn’t run because ‘my son was dying and he died’ - CNN
Issa faces tougher than usual re-election bid - WaPo
Pivotal open enrollment begins Tuesday for Obamacare - WashEx
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Please describe your thoughts on why Clinton isn’t being held to the same standards as Trump for not spending her OWN (perhaps nefariously, obtained) money on her campaign. The Libertarian and Green Party candidates aren’t funding their own campaigns. I know Trump has touted his ability to do his own funding so I expect that is an itsy bitsy part of the criticism.” – Carla Ball, Kahoka Mo.
[Ed. note: I hadn’t really thought about it that way, Ms. Ball. Hillary Clinton and her husband probably have about as much liquid net worth as Donald Trump, so he should have challenged them to a fund off. The question of self-funding is, in truth, a complicated one. Many voters are concerned about a political future in which only the rich and famous can afford to run for office, and point to this year’s contest between two universally known and very wealthy individuals as proof. Others like the idea of wealthy people stroking checks to finance their own campaigns, arguing that it makes them independent of the demands of donors. What the next several electoral cycles bring will answer those questions, but as for Trump’s boast about his $100 million commitment, had he not made such a vow, it is unlikely that there would be much criticism of him for dumping a historically huge chunk of change into his own campaign.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP
FOX 13: “An officer whose full-time job it is to review and issue red-light camera tickets issued one to himself last month. Officer Tim Glover has worked for the Haines City [Florida]Police Department for six years, much of it spent in charge of the city’s red-light camera program…In September, Glover says he didn’t even notice he’d turned left just after his arrow turned red. He came across his own incident while he was reviewing possible violations sent by the red-light camera operator a few weeks later. He explained that at the time, he was watching traffic in the lanes going straight and followed the truck in front of him without noticing the light had turned. Glover says he knew it wouldn’t be right to cut himself a break…So he told his supervisor about the violation, had him officially sign the ticket and paid the $158 fine.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.c
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.