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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton is set to resume campaigning on Thursday after a bout with pneumonia compelled the U.S. Democratic presidential nominee to take an unforeseen break as she and Republican rival Donald Trump entered the critical two-month final stretch before the election.

Clinton will attend a rally in North Carolina and speak at a dinner in Washington after resting at her home in Chappaqua, New York, for three days following a pneumonia diagnosis and falling ill at a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony on Sunday.

The detour forced Clinton to cancel a two-day swing through California and send her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to a Las Vegas campaign rally in her stead. It also interrupted a series of speeches in which she had planned to refocus her campaign on what she would do for the country after a period when she attacked Trump as a dangerous, unprepared candidate.

Top Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri said on Thursday that “one upside” of the unplanned break was the chance to “sharpen the final argument she will present to voters in these closing weeks.”

“Our campaign readily admits that running against a candidate as controversial as Donald Trump means it is harder to be heard on what you aspire for the country’s future, and it is incumbent on us to work harder,” Palmieri said in a statement.

Clinton‘s speech in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday will focus on how she plans to make sure “every child has the chance to live up to their God-given potential,” Palmieri said.

She will deliver speeches in the coming days on the economy and national service, her campaign said. Last week, she discussed her religious faith in Kansas City, Missouri.

Clinton‘s pneumonia diagnosis came at inopportune time for the former secretary of state, who spent the bulk of August fundraising in wealthy U.S. enclaves such as the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, with only intermittent campaign events.

Her strong lead over Trump in most opinion polls after the party-nominating conventions in July narrowed throughout August. A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Thursday showed Clinton had the support of 46 percent of likely voters nationwide, with 44 percent backing Trump.

Battleground states such as Ohio and Florida are no longer considered likely wins for the Democratic nominee, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Saturday.

Clinton on Wednesday released a letter from her physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, to dispel rumors about her health. The letter detailed her pneumonia diagnosis and declared her fit for the presidency.

Trump discussed his health in a segment of the “Dr. Oz Show” that will air on Thursday.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a news conference on the airport tarmac in front of her campaign plane in White Plains, New York, United States September 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]