Your Intrepid Reporter has officially been assessed, by the State of Oregon, as sufficiently poor to qualify for free legal assistance (if you want to call it that); but he is deeply funded enough to be able to subscribe to the prestigious The Economist, out of London; and he here takes the opportunity to pass on an imagined explanation of a Trump victory. The magazine writer places the time a couple of years in the future.
[Mr Trump’s] quick offer to meet the Russian president reminded many Americans, uncomfortably, of the murky espionage scandal that played so large a role in the defeat of Hillary Clinton.
In October 2016 top-secret files had appeared on the [I]nternet, allegedly extracted by hackers from Mrs Clinton’s private e-mail server when she was [S]ecretary of [S]tate, identifying individuals as American intelligence assets in Russia and Ukraine; one, an Israeli-Russian businessman
I know just the guy. Met him in federal prison. Heard he’d gone straight, but maybe, with the right incentive.
Name? That’ll cost. Ever hear of the Battle of Kalka?
. . . was soon afterwards found dead at a Geneva [Switzerland] hotel.
Poor old Ben Kalka: all that candlepower, gone to waste. But he really needed a father figure, you know what I mean?
Mrs Clinton continues to deny any knowledge of the leaked documents. Her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, sparked fresh headlines with an intemperate interview in March  in which he charged that “Kremlin dirty tricks” helped to swing the 2016 election.
Update 2 October 2016: So much for quoting from an August issue of the London-based newspaper, imagining how Trump might win (and throwing in a gun-dealing figure from my own past); since that time Secretary Clinton has consistently accused Trump of close ties to the Russians, and the scenario looks dated. No one would take seriously alleged Russian ties to Clinton today.
However, election results do not track poll predictions with fidelity, upon occasion. The recent British vote to leave the European Union was a shock, confounding the polls. In Columbia today, the polls predicted before the vote that the referendum approving the peace deal reached with the FARC guerrillas would win, 55 to 36 percent. It lost, 49.5% to 50.5%.
If there is an October Surprise this year, it won’t be a Clinton-Russian scandal.
Update 7 October 2016: Just today brought the news that the President (a Democrat and, naturally, a Clinton supporter) accused the Russians of hacking into the Democratic National Committee emails. The Russians, for their part, have protested a UN official’s criticism of Donald Trump
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations filed a formal complaint last month demanding that the head of the world body’s human rights organization cease criticizing Donald Trump and other anti-Muslim politicians.
And the Administration’s Secretary of State said the Russians ought to be prosecuted for war crimes. In one day. No, the Democrats are certainly protected against any possible accusation of being soft on the Russians.
Update 19 October 2016: Now, on the occasion of the third and final Presidential Debate, Clinton herself has accused Trump of accepting the position of “Russian puppet,” “encourag[er] of espionage against the United States.”
The first Fascist Administration will be, in the broadest, most general sense, the Second Clinton Administration. Once we look at the person who gets into office by baselessly accusing the other of espionage, the choice is unambiguous.
Update 17 November 2016: My elder son is giving me a lot of negative feedback these days for having fallen for the Clinton line (and the national polls) of her inevitable elevation. However, I want to document here the grounds for Trump’s fascism (which, since, as one can see immediately above, I accused Clinton of, as well, so — hey — my charge needs substantial outside backing).
One of the most perceptive analyses of Trump and his followers was written more than two decades ago. I’m talking, of course, of Umberto Eco’s oft-discussed essay on what he calls Ur Fascism or Eternal Fascism, his attempt to set forth the central features that define Fascism. I reread it today for the umpteenth time, and was struck again by its eerie prescience.
Though it contains precisely zero references to Trump — who at the time was just a real estate mogul with a penchant for boasts and bankruptcy — Eco’s 14-point checklist describing what makes a fascist a fascist applies to Trump and Trumpism in so many ways it’s scary.
Basically, a survivor of Italian fascism points out, from the start, that fascism changes constantly, and never troubles to establish a consistent set of beliefs. Rather, there are consistent styles, or better, there is a consistent style. Machismo. Fear of the rich. Fear of conspiracy. Need to be in constant struggle. Belief in a mythical past. A worship of a single leader, of more than human capacity.
That is, Trump qualifies as a fascist, even without any killing of his political enemies (such as Obama has done with drones, or Putin has done virtually all the time).
And he is now the President of the United States.