President Trump?

What was once unthinkable has now become only mildly improbable

Recent polls show her maintaining an edge in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire. But those states alone would leave her short of victory. With those in the bag, her easiest path to the presidency runs through Colorado, whose electorate is better-educated and more Hispanic than the national average. In July and August, her polling leads there ranged from five percentage points to 13. But the only survey taken of the state so far this month gave Mr Trump a four-point lead. If Mrs Clinton cannot hold on in the Centennial State, expect Mr Trump to be sworn in on January 20th.

Democrats, as well as never-Trump Republicans and independents can only hope either that recent surveys misrepresent public opinion, that Mrs Clinton’s superior campaign infrastructure will enable her to outperform them or that the polls will eventually swing back in her direction. There is solid evidence to back all three claims.

The final argument in favour of Mrs Clinton’s chances is that polling averages tend to revert towards their means, and that Mr Trump is now bumping up against his previous ceiling of around 40% of the vote. She will presumably benefit from returning to the campaign trail, and could get a boost from increased efforts on her behalf by Democratic heavyweights. Even if Mr Trump does well in the debates, they will likely push talk of deplorables and pneumonia off the front pages. Moreover, both the economy and the president’s approval ratings have been on the rise of late, strengthening the appeal of Mrs Clinton’s run for a third Obama term.

the idea that a Clinton landslide would lead to the banishment from American politics of Mr Trump’s appeals to racial and cultural resentment is receding fast.