The Clinton campaign is confident they can “run out the clock” on the latest developments regarding the Clinton Foundation and the ongoing email fiasco. Team Hillary feels that voters are sick of the email controversy, labeling it a fake scandal. Politico reported this back on August 24:
According to allies and operatives close to the campaign, Clinton’s team thinks “they can ride out” any negative reaction to a set of new emails that show Clinton Foundation officials trying to set up State Department meetings for donors during her tenure as the nation's top diplomat.
“That doesn’t mean no response,” one Clinton team insider said, “but a muted one rather than a five-alarm fire.”
It's a strategy borne, in part, of a belief held deeply by Clinton herself that the email controversy is a fake scandal and that voters are as sick of it as the candidate herself — and by the profound weaknesses of Clinton's opponent.
Plus, the campaign thinks Clinton’s commanding lead over Donald Trump in both national and battleground state polls gives her freedom to not comment — indeed, largely ignore — the disclosure this week that the FBI found nearly 15,000 new emails Clinton did not voluntarily hand over to the State Department last year.
Some Democrats, including close Clinton allies, have started to warn that their nominee might be underestimating the danger lurking in the fall as Trump and Republicans prepare to launch negative ads on these twin controversies and remind American voters just how little they trust the former secretary of state. Their best hope is that Trump continues to veer wildly off script.
That’s probably not the best strategy. Trump’s dismal post-Cleveland week was virtually erased, with national polls showing Clinton taking a dip in support. A Reuters/Ipsos poll had her dropping seven points in three days after the new Associated Press story showed that more than half of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meetings with those outside of government were donors to her nonprofit. On August 31, it became official that she lost support, though Trump is still trailing. That could be enough for some Clintonites to continue this strategy of ignoring the glaring ethical issues surrounding the Democratic nominee since she's still in the lead. Yet, Trump is within striking distance. He’s gained ground in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and is behind Clinton by less than three points in Florida (though he only has one field office).
He also hasn’t been going off script. He came off as presidential and capable in Mexico, and remained disciplined in his speech on immigration. The rest of Trump’s deficit in the polls is nothing a good debate performance (or performances) could fix, though there are many concerns about his lack of a ground game operation across the country. Seems like both campaigns are taking big gambles. The only exception is that voters seem to care about Clinton’s email fiasco and her alleged ethical shortfalls at the Foundation, hence the drop in support over the past week.