This morning, I’m not so sure. It could have a modest impact. I expect Trump to get the traditional convention bounce for two reasons: First, because he has a family that’s a lot more likeable than he is, and this will be a chance to showcase them. Holdouts will be asking themselves “Is he really so detestable if these people love him so much?” and it’ll give them the excuse they need to jump the creek. The other is that I expect he will really go after Hillary in a way he hasn’t, and Republicans will like that.
This kind of hurts both of these things. In the first case, his wife is at the center of this in an unflattering way. In the second case, he’ll only be able to take it to Hillary with a marginally competent campaign, and this bolsters the narrative that he’s really just not that competent.
And while plagiarism may be of special interest to journalists, college graduates are aware of the significance, and I think those are exactly the people he needs to sell. On the other hand, maybe some of them also lifted passages in colleges. So there’s that.
Josh Barro argues that the plagiarism actually is relevant, along the lines that it demonstrates the incompetence and dishonesty. On a practical level, he is almost certainly right. Maybe he is politically as well. Where it gets hard for me to say is that I’m not looking to jump the creek and I’m not a swing voter. So I don’t know how they feel.
In the end… probably no difference because nothing ever makes a difference. Those who were going to jump the creek will do so anyway, and those that were not will not. Its that kind of election.
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