Repeatedly, the voters have been notified: a Hillary Clinton "bombshell" is coming. A piece of news is about to leak that will change the whole election. Hillary Clinton's campaign won't survive the next leak. At this point, though, we've heard it so many times it's beginning to conjure the image of a doomsday prophet carrying a sign crowded with dates, each marked out and replaced as each fails to come true.
It's now October. In about a month, Americans will go to the polls and place our votes. In just over a month, we will know who the next representative leader of the United States will be.
Between now and then, there isn't going to be a surprise, a shake-up, a shock, or a bombshell to disqualify Hillary Clinton.
There isn't going to be a massive write-in campaign for Bernie Sanders. Gary Johnson isn't going to blow Trump out of the water by grabbing the moderate Republican vote.
The initial leak of DNC emails was a big deal. We learned that officials in the organization had not been as neutral as they had assured the public. We learned that Hillary Clinton was favored. It was revealed that DNC staff had at least brought up dirty tactics to diminish support for Bernie Sanders.
What we didn't learn, though, was that they had acted on any of them, or that Clinton was in on any of it. Sanders' supporters are well within rights to feel betrayed, but this was only to be the first betrayal. The next comes not from the DNC or Clinton, but from the repeated promises that there was a bombshell coming.
Immediately following the revelations, numerous rumors circulated that the next email dump would be "enough to indict" Clinton. However, a closer look turned up the truth: these were, accidentally or intentionally, reruns of a claim that Julian Assange had actually made in June -- before the big DNC leak, and presumably referring to those emails. Even then, RT noted, Assange didn't think that Clinton was likely to be indicted -- only that the material he had was enough, in his opinion, to do so if the FBI chose to pursue it.
In August, SFGate reported that the next leak would contain significant material. It would show connections between Clinton's campaign and "various institutions."
Claims of a "bombshell" that would end Clinton's campaign were by no means only from Wikileaks (or public or media interpretations of Wikileaks' offers), either.
There have been "bombshell" claims that Hillary was deathly ill, too ill to continue her campaign, as well as the usual political conspiracy theories -- voter fraud, dirty politics, death, and body doubles. Well, actually, maybe being dead and replaced by a body double isn't a conspiracy theory most politicians face, but fact-checking site Snopes covered just such a claim. The rumor was that Hillary Clinton had actually died after leaving a ceremony on September 11, and was replaced with a body double. Be assured, fact-checkers found the claim completely false.
What has actually come of the various assurances that a "bombshell" would soon end Hillary's campaign? The FBI recommended no charges for the private email server use, the Clinton campaign revealed that the deathly illness was pneumonia (serious but not a death sentence), and various leaks have not shown her to be criminal or any more deceptive than the average politician (or probably the average person).
Even leaked audio that appeared to show Clinton insulting Sanders supporters was dismissed by Sanders himself. ABC News reports that Sanders says the characterization of many of his supporters as "living in their mothers' basements" isn't insulting, or even untrue -- that his supporters include a lot of people who want the job market fixed.
This week, Fox News, among others, reported on the revelations to be released Tuesday -- after which Hillary would be "finished" or "done." Destroyed. Sounds like a bombshell, right?
Then, hours ago, NBC News correspondent Jesse Rodriguez reported that Assange's announcement was canceled due to security concerns.There are still folks in the "Never Hillary" camp holding out for another option. People who don't consider Donald Trump a possibility, and aren't interested in Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, but still don't want to give their vote to Clinton, keep looking for another option. Writing in Bernie Sanders has been floated. There's even a site, Switch to Bernie, devoted to collecting enough likes to convince the DNC to make him their candidate, despite the decision in July.
For many undecideds, it isn't a matter of picking between Trump and Clinton -- it's just a matter of holding out in case another option surfaces.
Of course, with a month to go, it's hypothetically possible that some revelation yet to come will disqualify Clinton, and that some mystery perfect candidate will surface in her place who everyone will be able to vote for with a clear conscience (at least, the undecided and the current Clinton supporters).
Is it realistic? No.
If there was a bombshell coming to dethrone Hillary Clinton, it would have hit before now. Instead, every so-called bombshell has been along the lines of a firecracker -- or maybe it would be more apt to compare them to a popped balloon. Loud, but with no real danger, no substance.
People are certainly free to use their vote as they choose -- vote for one of the two major party candidates, one of the third party options, write someone in. But if you're waiting for the Hillary Clinton bombshell? It's just not coming. She is the Democratic nominee, and no upcoming shocker is going to change that.
[Featured Image by Scott Eisen/Getty Images]