In the summer heat, the presidential race has seemed at times like an egg cooking on the sidewalk: plenty of sizzle but not going anywhere. That’s finally changed. Polls are moving, the candidates are retrenching. Here are my three things to watch this week in politics.
1) HEADING FOR DIVORCE COURT? – Mainstream Republicans have been uneasy for months about the potentially damaging effect of Donald Trump as their nominee. Now it is turning to panic. Democratic skirmishers are forcing them to defend even screamingly red states such as Utah and Georgia, and in D.C. cafés, Hillary Clinton’s loyalists are all but picking curtains for their new offices as they lounge over iced coffee with soy milk. Some are even whispering the word “landslide.” In this crazy election, they could yet be completely wrong. But the rift in the Republican family is growing noticeably deeper as strategists talk less about the presidential race, and more about trying to hold onto the House and Senate. Right now it feels like a trial separation, but if the candidate and his party don’t get cozy again soon it could turn into a nasty, plate breaking, political divorce.
2) CAN WE TALK? – Their newly released tax returns show that the Clintonsget paid well every time they agree to talk. Scratch that. I mean, insanely well. The couple scored $6.7 million in speaking fees alone last year with many of those appearances involving big money players in a variety of businesses. That will have Republicans and watchdog groups howling about conflicts of interest this week and, hmmm – bringing up her secret bank speeches again? Yea. Probably.
3) HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME? –If you still hate your major party choices in this race, CNN will be hosting a townhall with the Green Party pick Jill Stein, and presumptive running mate, Amaju Baraka. It’s happeningWednesday night, and considering how many people dislike the front-runners, who knows? Could be a lot of viewers.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously)