The Slatest

Today’s Trump Apocalypse Watch: Denial Is Not Just a River in Trump Country

Donald Trump in Lakeland, Florida on Wednesday.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.

I’ve mostly blocked out the year 2004 because at the time I was sharing an apartment in which I lived in a “bedroom” so small that the apartment’s next tenants used it as a closet, but one thing I do remember is being convinced that presidential election landline polls were undercounting young John Kerry supporters who only used cell phones. But it turned out that the polls that had John Kerry losing were correct. Meanwhile, we all remember the “unskewed” 2012 polls that purported to predict a Mitt Romney victory.

Well, here we are at the poll-delusion stage of the 2016 race. As this CNN article notes, Donald Trump in recent days has made misleading or conspiratorial claims about polls that show him losing in Pennsylvania, polls that show him losing among women nationally, and polls that show him having lost the second debate. The Times found Trump supporters at a Pennsylvania rally making similar claims themselves. Poll denial: It’s the first stage of electoral-college grief.

On the other hand, I just read this Politico roundtable of Trump biographers in which investigative reporter Wayne Barrett points out that it’s still theoretically possible that WikiLeaks will drop some sort of huge Clinton-destroying bombshell before Nov. 8. So I’m actually going to raise the danger level today (albeit only slightly). The Apocalypse Watch is rigged!

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons