An Exercise in Data Visualization

In our Digital Storytelling class today, we were visited by Northeastern University professor and data visualization expert John Wihbey. After a lengthy discussion about the history and value of being able to graph and visualize data for stories in order to make the information more accessible and digestible to readers, we were given the opportunity to create some sample graphs based on data samples provided.

Data visualization is something I encounter fairly often in the stories I research for this blog, but it’s something I myself as a reporter rarely get the opportunity to play with. Using infographics, charts and images greatly add to the value of a text story, particularly an in-depth investigative piece or anything involving good meaty statistics (something we see a lot in politics).

Here is a graph I created via Google which depicts the rise and fall of cases of whooping cough in the U.S. between 1920 and 2014, according to this data:

image

As it was my first attempt, the graph appears a bit basic. On the next graph however, I was able to give a bit more detail and synthesize more information on the topic at hand. The data (supplied by Wihbey) depicts the gross gender disparity in the four major tech companies by showing how the percentages of men and women compare in the makeup of the company overall, versus how the disparity widens in just tech jobs within the company:

 

My partner and I chose to couple the genders together so you could see just how the percentages of women in the company decrease when you move to specifically tech jobs (thus delineating the still present bias against women in STEM fields). We all hear about how this gender bias exists, but to see it in graph form makes it that much more starkly visible.

Northeastern University’s Journalism School Hold Election Post-Mortem

Today I had the opportunity to attend a stimulating post-mortem discussion held by Northeastern University’s School of Journalism of the presidential election which effectively ended last night with the election of Donald Trump. Many students were in attendance as well as faculty members, all anxious to hear what predictions were held about the future of our government, college students and most importantly the media to which we all belong. While there was a tangible somber tone in the room about the new direction the country had effectively voted to take, the discussion swayed more to what exactly had happened during the course of the almost two year long campaign to get us to this point.

Many interesting points were raised early on about how the media helped contribute to the phenomenon that was Donald J. Trump. Dan Kennedy, professor of journalism at Northeastern University explained it best here:

 

“I think that in the early coverage, especially there was this amazing amount of free media given to Donald Trump on the part of cable news in particular, broadcast news to a lesser extent but still pretty amazing…The TV media did this at a time thinking that there weren’t going to be any consequences to pay.”

It’s something that I had heard a lot about from fellow colleagues and non-journalists alike – the press’ collective decision to exhaustively cover every little scandal Trump perpetrated in the beginning of his campaign, while good television and certainly helping to boost ratings, undeniably helped to only further spread his message to likeminded voters across the country. By giving his racist rhetoric, his bizarre nonfactual claims and blatant Twitter insults a mass audience, the media helped to only increase Trump’s popularity and poll numbers.

Head of the School of Journalism Jonathan Kaufman had another intriguing take on it – it wasn’t as much that there was too much coverage, but rather that the depth of coverage was at fault. As he explained it, “everybody wanted to be a pundit” on network and cable news. A lot of the traditional good ‘shoe leather’ reporting was lost in this election to political speculation, reporting poll numbers and related scandals. In a sense, journalists simply got lazy this election, content to cite the top stories while not delving further into the meat of the issues. He did observe that print sources did seem to have more long form in-depth investigations, but that the television networks didn’t generally tend to pick up those stories as much, thus limiting the audience they were reaching.

The professors also asked the students in attendance about other possibilities for Trump’s shocking win: would Bernie have fared better, should third party candidates have received more press attention, was it the media’s tendency to bias in coverage that influenced votes? Kaufman had a salient warning to make about that latter point:

“The media, I don’t think, elected Donald Trump. If you looked at all the anchors…the look of shock on every anchor and every pundit was obvious.”

So what is in store for the media now that Donald Trump is the president-elect of the country? Professors like Laurel Leff conceded that while the likelihood was low that Trump would actually bring about defamation suits against ‘the media’ or change libel laws (which is very difficult to do), it was likely that he would probably restrict press access heavily, and use intimidation as a tactic to affect the message, because Trump takes a very dangerous position that the media just “lies” about everything without abandon.

All in all, not a very optimistic outlook for the future of the press, but it will remain to be seen just how Trump will treat the media going forward as Commander in Chief.

In stunning upset, Donald Trump becomes president-elect of the United States

Photo (CC) by Gage Skidmore
Photo (CC) by Gage Skidmore

What. A. Night. If any of you reading this were like me, you probably stayed up well into the wee hours of the morning just to catch the end of the results. In a near unprecedented turn of events, Donald J. Trump locked up the necessary majority of electoral votes last night to become the 45th President of the United States.

The news sent shock waves throughout the world, tanked the nation’s stock market and essentially decimated the Democratic party who failed to pick up both the House and Senate majorities as well, making it the first time in 10 years that this has happened (the 109th Congress during Bush’s second term was the last).

So what exactly happened? Well let’s take a quick look at the numbers first. The New York Times has the current electoral standings on their homepage at 279 for Trump, 218 for Clinton. Trump’s path to victory came by locking up a number of key swing states, most notably Florida (with a whopping 29 electoral votes), North Carolina with 15 votes. Especially in Florida, enormous third party turnout for candidates Johnson and Stein had a significant impact on the final count, as they scooped up around 5 percent of the vote, which presumably helped Trump to lock up the state. In Michigan, another key state which as of this morning is still too close to call, third party candidates also garnered 5 percent of the total vote, thus why the state is leaning red right now. Trump also gobbled up substantial electoral votes by taking other key states that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 such as Iowa, Pennsylvania (with 20 votes), Ohio and Wisconsin.

According to this interesting New York Times map, Trump actually reshaped the electoral map by increasing the portion of the country voting Republican from Romney’s election in ’12. He won big among the rural Midwest in particular, where the leading demographic is whites without a college education. Clinton on the other hand won most of the major cities but failed to capture smaller cities especially in the Midwest.

As of this morning, four states are still too close to call: Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota and New Hampshire. But either way, Trump has secured the 270+ majority and will now lead our country for four years, in tandem with a Republican led Congress. There will be many repercussions from this, both short and long term but the full scope of the effect remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: last night America wholeheartedly rejected the political institutions that have been in place for the past 200+ years in favor an outsider. They are disillusioned, disheartened and fed up with government and are willing to vote for anyone that promises to shake things up. Trump for better or for worse is now our commander in chief, and it’s up to Congress and the American people to decide whether to remain a nation divided, or come together in the spirit of bipartisanship. We shall see.

Election Day Resources

Photo (CC) by Theresa Thompson
Photo (CC) by Theresa Thompson

Well this is it. “Time has come today” to select the 45th president of the United States. Ever since the campaign began almost two years ago, this election has proved to the country a few things: a) we are more divided now than we have ever been before, both politically and ideologically, b) Americans are sick of the same old institutions and c) anything and I mean anything is possible. If someone had told you two years ago that “Apprentice” host and celebrity businessman Donald Trump would be the GOP nominee and possible future president, would you have believed them? Americans are disillusioned and are looking to new blood to jump start our government. Trump speaks to a class of Americans who desperately desire a fresh perspective, appreciate his no nonsense, ‘tells it like it is’ manner of prose and at the end of the day just wish the country could go back in time to when they believe things were easier. For many registered Democrats and Republicans, this year’s decision to vote proved exceedingly difficult with both candidates hosting their fair share of flaws (Clinton’s penchant for secrecy and bureaucratic ties, Trump’s tendency to alienate just about every demographic not including white males [among other things]). There were many voters who would have preferred that another candidate have received the Democratic nomination, and have vowed that they will not vote for Hillary because of that. And of course as always, we cannot forget the two third party candidates, libertarian Gary Johnson, independent Evan McMullin and Green Party representative Jill Stein, who have the chance to steal votes away from both frontrunners with the simple premise that they’re not Clinton or Trump. With all that said, today millions of voters will cast their ballots and below are some resources to peruse throughout the day as we wait in anticipation for the exit numbers:

  • Decision 2016 by NBC News: Provides an electoral map, diagram of the Senate and House votes and shows live updates of all the important state races (i.e. swing states, those with many electoral votes up for grabs).
  • Politico Live Blog: Politico is running live updates from their top writers about information you need to know on Election Day, from campaign statements to famous figures casting their vote.
  • Politico Live Map: In addition, Politico also provides a map similar to NBC that updates in real time as results come in and provides data for all 50 states.
  • FiveThirtyEight watch guide: Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight wrote an interesting guide as to which state polls to watch at what times during the night to give you the best indication of how the race is going.

and most importantly:

  • Red Panda Live Cam: In case you need to take a break, San Francisco Zoo is teaming up with Firefox to provide a live cam of their three red pandas to provide therapeutic viewing starting at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

So get out there and vote America!

Final Hours Briefing: Clinton Vindicated, Trump Courts Votes Already Cast

Photo by Janine Eduljee
Photo by Janine Eduljee

The hour is almost upon us when millions of Americans that have either not been able to vote early or not desired to will flood to polling locations across the U.S. wait in line for sometimes hours on end to ensure that their voice is heard. But even some 24 hours before a winner will be chosen, both candidates are in a last minute sprint to change undecided votes and influence the constantly shifting balance in the national polls. For Hillary, the goal is to keep the narrow lead over Trump – the final NBC Survey Monkey poll has Clinton up by just 4 percentage points (44 to 40) in a two-way matchup and five points in a head-to-head matchup (48 to 43), while the longer term weekly poll has Clinton holding steady at 47 percent with Trump at 41 percent. Trump on the other hand is betting that the recent resurgence of the Clinton email scandal combined with conflicted mainstream Republicans voting in alignment with their party despite doubts they may have about the embattled and inflammatory GOP nominee. Yet Trump is also reaching out to a rather odd demographic: Democrats who have already voted for Hillary Clinton. Last week, in a speech to Wisconsin supporters, Trump beseeched any voters in the Wisconsin who had utilized early voting in favor of Hillary Clinton and who may have been feeling “buyer’s remorse” to consider changing their vote to his ticket. Wisconsin is one of four states where early voters have the option to alter their ballot before Election Day, through a set of specific measures (the other states include Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota). It’s not easy to do so – Michigan and Pennsylvania only allow votes cast by absentee ballot to be altered, and Minnesota only allowed a ballot to be cancelled up until a week before end of business hours Tuesday (so by the time Trump had made that speech Tuesday night, it would have already been too late for conflicted voters to take any action). It may seem like a rather desperate measure, but at this point in the election many polls have the race as a toss up and any small influence could tip the scale in Trump’s favor.

Meanwhile the Clinton campaign woke up early Sunday morning to the much expected but still welcome news that the FBI investigation into Clinton emails found on the private computer of Anthony Weiner yielded no further evidence of misconduct and the FBI would not be pursuing any more charges against Clinton. The good news? If Clinton should win tomorrow night, she will enter her presidency with no questions of illegal activity or criminal probes hovering over her administration. It could have posed some serious legal complications if the president-elect of the United States was under current scrutiny by a federal law enforcement organization. The bad news? FBI Director James Comey’s decision to open the probe 9 days ago could not have possibly come at a worse time for Hillary Clinton politically. Millions of voters have already cast their ballots during the time of the investigation thanks to early voting and it’s fair to assume judging by Trump’s gain in the polls that the FBI probe definitely had an influence on some voters. As the Washington Post article notes, Clinton had to shift her campaigning strategy to focus back on blue states that she had presumed were locked in, while Trump used the investigation liberally to prove his claims of “Crooked Hillary,” something he’s continuing even after Clinton’s acquittal. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the investigation however was that it embroiled a supposedly unbiased and independent arm of the law in the sticky world of politics.

This is it, the final countdown. Even normally jovial comedy programs have set aside the jokes and satire to remind voters that the decision they face tomorrow is no laughing matter:

Final Project Idea

For my final project assignment, I would like to do a story primarily on Massachusetts’ decision this year to implement an early voting system for the first time. My text story would be about why the early voting system was started this election season in Mass., exploring how it was implemented, how it works and how it has functioned thus far. My photo story will be a visual accompaniment to that story with pictures about polling locations, people early voting, etc. My video story will be a sidebar about the perceptions college students have had about the election as well as their voting behavior (i.e. if they elected to use early voting, voted on election day, absentee ballot etc.).

I have already interviewed an official from the Boston Elections Commission and will get statistics after the election is over for the text and photo stories. I also spoke with two early voters about their experiences with the nascent process. I have also taken numerous photographs of the main early voting polling location in Boston at City Hall and the previous polling location on Columbus Ave. For my video story, I have done five student interviews already and have more lined up for later.

Mike’s Pastry: A Boston Icon

Nestled in the heart of Boston’s North End, on an old fashioned inner road reminiscent of Europe, lies a true dessert gem and historical landmark: Mike’s Pastry.

Ever since its storefront on 300 Hanover St. opened its doors in 1946 by the late Michael Mercogliano (the “Mike” behind Mike’s), the bakery has consistently been the go to institution for Italian sweet treats, not the least of which is their famous cannoli. Their menu boasts a staggering 18 incarnations of the traditional ricotta filled shell pastry, with flavors ranging from traditional classics like amaretto and espresso to unique creations like pistachio and peanut butter.

When the weekend rolls around, you can consistently find lines out the door and down the block, with locals and tourists clamoring for a taste of those heavenly time honored sweet treats.

Stephanie Kennedy, a Cambridge resident and frequent patron of Mike’s, says she and her sister came to settle a longstanding feud about which bakery had better cannoli: Mike’s or Modern.

“We stood in quite long lines for both and ordered the plain cannoli for proper comparison,” Kennedy explained. “We decided that Mike’s had a flakier crust, smoother filling and overall best value. Also their line was the fastest. Mike’s wins!”

4.4 stars on Google, 4.5 stars on Yelp, generously reviewed on Zagat – so what is all the hype about? Well the cannoli is usually the most popular seller, but Mike’s also boasts a mean lobster tail (crispy flaky lobster shaped shell with white and yellow cream) that apparently has a fascinating history dating all the way back to the 16th century, according to their website.

And history is exactly what makes this place special. Mercogliano was an immigrant, much like the majority of the eclectic residents that make up Boston’s North End neighborhood. He brought his Italian heritage and culinary education to the area and started a pastry revolution. Since its opening, many bakeries have opened up in the area: Modern Pastry (their closest rival), Bova’s, Maria’s – but none can compare to the original.

I have been to Mike’s many times in my four years of living here in Boston, and have come to a firm conclusion that my favorite cannoli is consistently the florentine: distinguished from the rest of the pack by its sweet and almond infused thicker shell and chocolate chip covered ends. But this time I wanted to branch out see if I could give something other than cannoli a try, so I sampled a lobster tail as well as a Boston Creme cake, chocolate chip cookie and a ricotta pie.

The verdict? Mike’s isn’t just for cannoli. Every item I sampled was without equal, masterfully made with the kind of precision and care that can only come from 70 years of business. Maybe the Boston Creme wasn’t quite up my alley (because I’m not really the biggest chocolate fan) but I could still appreciate how well crafted it was. The bottom line is that whether you’re in Boston for an hour or have lived here your whole life, if you haven’t managed to make it out to Mike’s then you’re doing your tastebuds a disservice.

Mike’s Pastry

300 Hanover St. Boston, MA 02113

Open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 10 pm (except Fridays and Saturdays when open until 11:30 pm)

Cash only; wheelchair accessible

Closest MBTA station: Haymarket (orange and green lines) 

Check out all our reviews on the Google Map below!

The West Wing 2016

Photo (CC) by Glyn Lowe
Photo (CC) by Glyn Lowe

Politico magazine just today released a fascinating set of articles detailing what the West Wing would look like for each of the two presidential nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, if they were elected. They are in-depth, well sourced and worth discussion as we are merely 5 days away from making one of these articles a reality. The portrayal of a Trump presidency was authored by Ben Schreckinger, while Anne Karni tackled the Clinton camp.

The Players

I wrote a post just a little while back here about a long form piece Huffington Post’s Highline did on what a Donald Trump administration would look like as it pertained to national security and foreign affairs. It’s no secret that Trump favors loyalty and novelty above actual political experience (as he himself is not a member of the Republican establishment) and especially in light of several GOP heavyweights distancing themselves from the candidate after the Access Hollywood controversy, Trump more than ever has recourse to hire from within. Here are some notable picks Schreckinger pegged for Trump’s cabinet:

  • Ivanka Trump as special advisor: Trump has made it almost painfully obvious who he views as the favorite child of his five, and Ivanka Trump uses that title skillfully to provide a softening effect to her father’s often brash hard edge political style. The article noted that even if she wasn’t officially hired to the West Wing, it’s almost certain that she would continue in an advisory role behind the scenes.
  • Corey Lewandowski as Chief of Staff: Lewandowski is the penultimate ‘Comeback Kid’ of this election season, swallowing the bitter pill of a dishonorable discharge of sorts from his post as Trump campaign manager after scandals like his reported assault of a reporter at a rally, and abashedly returning, hat in hand, to Trump’s aid on an unofficial level even after being replaced by Paul Manafort. If Trump allowed him back into the fold, it’s pretty clear that he genuinely likes the guy and values his opinions, making him the perfect choice for Chief of Staff (probably the most important advisory role in the administration apart from the Vice President).
  • Michael Flynn as national security advisor: Flynn was one of the top campaign members being considered for Trump’s vice president slot, along with Chris Christie and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and had Pence not proved to be the best ally political-wise, chances are Flynn would have been Trump’s choice. With that being said, Flynn’s wealth of military expertise (retired lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama) and close relationship with Trump makes him the obvious pick for this important job. As the article puts it, “besides an affinity with Putin’s regime, Flynn shares with Trump a desire to jail Hillary Clinton: Flynn encouraged chants from the floor of “lock her up” during an awkward speech at the Republican National Conventional in Cleveland in July.”

Hillary Clinton’s cabinet will most likely similarly feature a lot of familiar faces, but also include new blood in the form of “skilled operatives who more recently proved themselves during perhaps the most grueling campaign in American history.” And with Clinton still leading in many polls so close to the election, these cabinet picks might be even more important than Trump’s to consider.

  • Bill Clinton as special advisor: As Karni wrote, “the former president still edits his wife’s speeches, sits in on her debate prep sessions and was often at the table for major strategic campaign decisions.” Hillary still trusts and values her husband and has stood by him through numerous scandals, showing a deep bond that will definitely translate to the White House. Whether Bill gets an official title or not, expect to see him around the West Wing as often as we saw Hillary there during his presidency.
  • Huma Abedin as personal aide: I will admit, this choice totally flabbergasted me because one could point out that a lot of the blame for Clinton’s last minute dip in the polls goes to the individuals responsible for the FBI’s reopening of the email investigation, which is presumably Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. It would make sense for Clinton to want to distance herself from the embattled couple until the investigation dies down and the media dust settles. Yet the article points out that Abedin has been working closely under Clinton for some 20 years now, and despite scandals in her personal life, Abedin has been a loyal sidekick and it’s definitely possible she’ll be in the White House next January.
  • Cheryl Mills as senior advisor: No brainer here – Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff during her time at the State Department, represented husband Bill during his impeachment trials, and even prepared Clinton for the marathon Benghazi hearings. Mills is described as “no-nonsense,” telling Hillary like it is and that’s an asset to the possible future president.

It’s certainly something to mull over during this pre-election weekend, as the candidates prepare for the fight of their lives, and America prepares to chose the next leader of the free world.

Trump vs. Taxes: A Billionaire’s Guide To Avoidance

Photo (cc) by 401Kcalculator.org
Photo (cc) by 401Kcalculator.org

It seems that on both sides of the ticket, these campaigns are ending with the same issues that had been brought up at earlier points in their progression. For Hillary, it was a throwback to the good old “Email-gate” saga; for Trump it appears that tax evasion is once more rearing its head in the final week of campaigning. It began Halloween with an article published in the New York Times (the same publication which originally published the records showing Trump could have avoided paying taxes for two decades in early October) detailing even further tax transgressions. As the article claimed, “newly obtained documents show that in the early 1990s… Mr. Trump avoided reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income by using a tax avoidance maneuver so legally dubious his own lawyers advised him that the Internal Revenue Service would most likely declare it improper if he were audited.” Essentially the idea was that in the beginning of the 90s, Trump’s “empire” was beginning to crack, most notably with the failed business prospect of a casino conglomerate in Atlantic City (like the money losing Trump Taj Mahal casino which just recently closed its doors permanently). He had millions of dollars in debt racked up from crashing business and real estate ventures, which he asked his financial backers to forgive so that the casinos could be given more time to succeed. All those millions of dollars should have been easy fodder for the IRS to tax- unless Trump was able to find a minute loophole that would allow him to not report the canceled debt, therefore escaping a possibly career ending IRS bill. This tax benefit came at the expense of the many investors and banks that had chosen to give the Trump brand a second chance. The maneuver was so shady that Trump’s own tax lawyers implored him not to do it because it would “more likely than not” raise a red flag from the IRS.

In a scathing editorial, the Times criticized Trump’s long record of skirting the rules, pointing out that his self-claimed mastery of the tax code was nothing to brag about as it shifted the burden then to millions of American taxpayers. They argued that Trump’s claims of providing tax breaks for the less wealthy were clearly flawed – as a businessman who benefited from tax breaks his whole career, the more likely scenario would be simply increased tax breaks for the wealthy, so he could help his own cause.

Politico also published an article detailing what Trump’s refusal to release his personal tax returns mean for his campaign and in particular the accusations (most recently coming from Senate minority leader Harry Reid) that Trump has significant Russian connections, which would explain why Russian state-sanctioned hackers have been so eager to skew the American presidential race in his favor. Even if Trump didn’t actually possess any loans or business interests in Russia, there is still a possibility that the tax records could reveal “shared partnership interests, equity interests, joint ventures or licensing agreements with Russia or Russians.” And it wouldn’t just be Russians who Trump could be found to have integral interests with, but a multitude of foreign powers, all of whom could stand to benefit from a Trump presidency. There’s a lot of speculation out there, but no real facts or proof, which can lead to things like this:

The GOP nominee has vehemently refused to release these records, sometimes arguing that it is impossible for him to do so as they are under audit, other times claiming he will only do so when Hillary Clinton finally discloses her paid speeches to big banks. At this point in the election, the race is still up for grabs and any act of good faith could steer the election over to one side. Clinton, who up until this weekend was essentially a lock for the title, now faces a major setback in the form of the FBI investigation. Trump could have probably taken a hit from this story too, had it actually been picked up widely by the media – but the email scandal gained more traction. It’s very unclear how this will all play out on Super Tuesday.

More Email Trouble for Hillary Clinton…Really?

Photo (CC) by Sean MacEntee
Photo (CC) by Sean MacEntee

If you were not wholly preoccupied this weekend with various Halloween festivities, you might have caught the breaking news blast featuring those key magic words we’ve been hearing this entire election cycle: Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. That’s because this Friday, the FBI and Justice Department decided to once again foray into the massive web of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server, although this time not in the context of investigating Clinton but rather the infamous Anthony Weiner (of salacious genitalia pic “Carlos Danger” fame). The New York Times mentioned in their First Draft newsletter that ironically “the final week of the bizarre and unpredictable 2016 race is ending much as it began, with a hurricane of headlines over Hillary Clinton’s campaign and emails.” The FBI obtained a warrant Sunday for a large collection of emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide for Clinton, after “hundreds of thousands” of emails belonging to Abedin were found on Weiner’s private computer during the course of an investigation into whether Weiner had sent “illicit” texts to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. After FBI Director James Comey announced they would be reigniting the Clinton email investigation to see whether the Abedin emails discovered on Weiner’s computer contained any classified information that would constitute a federal crime (and therefore whether the emails would support or negate the Justice Department’s original decision not to charge Clinton and her aides), the Clinton campaign immediately responded with sharp criticism of the FBI (even going so far as to submit a letter signed by almost 100 former intelligence officials criticizing the agency’s handling of the email investigation) and intense pressure to have the results of the investigation released before Election Day (interestingly enough a proposition that the Trump campaign has also supported). The tricky part of the situation came when sources at the FBI claimed that they would simply not be able to get through all the emails in time for November 8.

In another intriguing article from the Times, Amy Chozick reported on the similarities between the Clintons’ current attack of Director Comey and their condemnation of Kenneth Starr in the late 1990s when he was tasked with investigating the Clinton family after the Whitewater scandal happened (among other things). Chozick likened the response to Starr’s thorough investigation some 20 years ago to Comey’s current one, pointing out this key observation:

“After facing 25 years of political attacks and investigations into scandals — real and imagined — they have developed a protective reflex against potentially damaging assaults, rallying their forces against what they see as an overzealous, partisan villain.”

This decision to reopen “Email-gate” comes at a highly inopportune time for the Clinton camp, which was just starting to enjoy an enormous lead over Trump post-Access Hollywood debacle. The Washington Post cited a joint poll statistic they collected with ABC that found poll numbers putting Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 45 percent but even more importantly a poll of “enthusiasm” about candidates putting Trump at 53 percent and Clinton at a significantly lower 43 percent. The article highlighted that 43 percent dipped drastically after the weekend’s events, suggesting that this email investigation might spell serious trouble for Hillary Clinton as we are now just one week away from Election Day and while millions of Americans have already cast votes (and those early voting trends have skewed heavily in Clinton’s favor thus far), millions more are choosing to or are forced to wait until next Tuesday to cast a ballot. If this investigation finds any actual infractions, or simply cannot be wrapped up in one week, there could be a possibility that her wide lead could narrow to the point where the election could be anybody’s game. We will just have to wait and see.