The Riggs Report: A campaign-free zone
September 8, 2016
Reagan Presidential Library offers unusual ground rules
In this long and vexing election year, here’s an unusual scenario: Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, headed to a public event at the Reagan Library in Ventura County, but members of the audience were instructed not to wear or bring campaign gear.
No signs or banners. No hats or buttons.
As the Reagan Library website puts it, “Anyone who shows up at the event with these types of items will be sent back to their car to put it away.”
In essence, those who run the library want this to be a campaign-free zone. Come to think of it, that sounds like a place a lot of election-weary Americans would like to go to.
The Reagan Library has become a standard stop for Republican candidates. The facility hosted a presidential debate in September 2015, when Donald Trump was just one of 11 GOP hopefuls.
But organizers say events are not allowed here if they’re of a campaign nature. So while Pence’s lunchtime talk in the Air Force One Pavilion is about politics and the presidential race, it just won’t look like the typical rally.
The speech, Pence’s only public event while in California, comes as conflicting polls indicate continuing uncertainty about the outcome of the presidential contest.
A new CNN poll shows Trump with a 2-point lead nationally, while an NBC poll says Hillary Clinton is maintaining a 6-point lead. Get used to that kind of volatility.
What polling tells us is that Clinton’s once-strong lead has diminished since the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
That polling also tells us that there are still a remarkably large number of voters—whether disenchanted, disengaged or truly undecided—who have yet to declare their selection. In key swing states like Pennsylvania, those uncommitted voters will be crucial to the outcome.
That uncertainty gives even greater weight to the three upcoming presidential debates: Sept. 26 in New York, Oct. 9 in St. Louis and Oct. 19 in Las Vegas.
Trump will have to convince doubters that he has the temperament to hold the big job, while Clinton will have to address issues of trust and ethics. This is the make-or-break part of the season for the candidates.
For voters, that campaign-free zone they’ll be enforcing at the Reagan Library won’t be available until Nov. 9.