If the closing days of this election are solely about Hillary Clinton and trust – and not an indictment of Donald Trump's behavior and temperament – her previous path to victory is on shaky ground.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign never wanted this election to be about her, especially in the closing days of the election," said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina based Republican media strategist.
"The whole narrative right now is about her stuff, and that is a terrible place for her."
FBI Director James B. Comey sent a letter Friday to Congress to let them know the agency has resumed its investigation of her use of a private email server up to and beyond next week's Election Day.
That missive caused a political earthquake 10 days before the election, and the Clinton team immediately began running against Comey, heavily criticizing him for sidestepping the Justice Department's guidance not to tell Congress about the development.
"Where she ran into to trouble on this was her knee-jerk reaction to attack Comey," said Alison Dagnes, political scientist at Shippensburg University. "But I understand why, first, because the investigation seemed so purposeful, and, second, in this age of rapid response, she felt the need to react immediately."
Unfortunately Dagnes said that reaction put Clinton on the defensive.
Clinton's supporters spent the weekend vividly attacking the FBI director on the cable news and national news networks as well as social media; they questioned Comey's motives, his character, and if he violated the law.
Some even called for his resignation for disclosing his agency is reviewing a newly found batch of new files that could be related to an investigation of Clinton's email practices when she served as secretary of state.
Previously Clinton had been able to say Trump's behavior was the cornerstone of why voters in good conscience should not vote for him because of his temperament and unpredictability.
This investigation undermines everything she and her team have been doing, Felkel said, "And if she loses this election, it is on her and her inability to put him away a long time ago, certainly he gave her plenty of ammunition to do so."
"For both of them, when the election was about the other person, the other person was on the defensive," Dagnes said, "So when the Access Hollywood audio tape came out, Trump was on the defensive, and Clinton was ahead in the polls," she explained.
"And now because FBI Director James Comey opened up the email server investigation again, Clinton has been put on the defensive," she said.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll Monday showed 60 percent of voters viewing Clinton unfavorably, marking peak unpopularity for the Democratic nominee in this cycle.
Rival Trump was seen unfavorably by 58 percent of those polled; the survey also showed Clinton leading Trump among likely voters by just one percentage point.
The poll was conducted Wednesday through Saturday of last week.
The email disclosure served as an opportunity for the Trump campaign that had already been closing the gap with Clinton before last's week events. Trump has stumbled with his own personal baggage from the 10-year-old tape containing lewd comments he made to a succession of women alleging he groped them.
"If Trump and his team want to win this, they will let the final days of this campaign be devoured by nothing but stories about Clinton," Felkel said.
"In short, he needs elude any opportunity to make a blunders or outrageous statements that would place him both back in the center of a story, but also defending anything he said," he explained.
Who appears the most "presidential" in this closing week, will look the strongest in this crazy election year, Felkel said, "That is the key."
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