You can jabber on about Gish Gallops and Bradley Effects and such like until you're blue in the face. But none of it changes the fact that there are enough morons bringing and keeping Drumpf in contention, enough bozos to read only the "news" they already agree with.
The problem is that there are too many people out there who live in absolute certitude, who know just as surely as they know they have an imaginary sky-buddy looking out for their destitute little hamster lives, that they already know everything that is worth knowing. There is nothing new for them to learn, especially if it's something that would exculpate HFC, or conversely might add to the already impossibly high stack of shit that constitutes Clownstick's lies, his shit business record, his unethical use of money from his bullshit "Human Fund" foundation that he doesn't even donate any of his own money to.
The outcome to this election is, though we might not know specifically what it is yet, a foregone conclusion. I literally cannot imagine someone jumping from one candidate to the other at this point; even the densest slab of monkey-spanking protoplasm out there has made up its single-celled "brain" as far as which side of the fence they are on, and will stay. A few remaining fence-sitters may go for one of the third-party candidates; I suspect that Gary Johnson may end up playing a spoiler role for one of the duopoly candidates. Probably Drumpf, but anything's possible.
Electoral historians will look back at this clusterfuck and be amazed at how one of the most experienced, prepared candidates in the history of this country could possibly be running so close for so long against a shameless buffoon who gets more stupid the more he talks. Things like name recognition and unfavorability don't quite capture the whole dynamic. I've never seen anything like it, and I've followed every election closely since 1980.
It's nice to think that there is a sizable contingent of "if only they knew" voters out there, just waiting to be convinced by the mighty knights of the fourth estate. Spoiler alert: there is no such bloc, Sunshine. There are simply people of varying degrees of intelligence, knowledge, interest, and intellectual honesty who can either be motivated to vote, or not.
I think we still hold out hope that there are enough people galled by what a flaming sack of dogshit on America's front porch Drumpf really is, to get off their asses and prevent it from happening. But you never know. There are enough people who are that stupid and spiteful, who do not watch the "news" to be informed, but to be affirmed. Their candidate has already tried to queer the election by pre-emptively declaring the outcome to be rigged, even though there is almost literally no way such a thing could happen on a large scale undetected. Again, it's not about what can be proved or makes sense or is even possible, but about what they need to believe.
But if we want a better, more responsive media, then we need a better, more responsive populace. Better candidates would have helped as well; the fact is that if Rubio or Kasich -- or even Ted Cruz, god forbid -- had won the nomination, HFC probably would have been written off already.
The fact that she's barely keeping her head above water against a blatant con artist who seems, more often than not, to be deliberately trying to sabotage his own scampaign, tells us as much about her, her party, and ourselves, as it does about the corporate media and how they frame our "choices" for us.
Krugman is right that Drumpf is being graded on a curve, very much in the same way that Dubya was against Gore. But it's up to us to understand the spin and decide accordingly. If you let the Times or any other media outlet do your thinking for you, then hey, you get what you deserve. Funny how we keep coming back to that.