A Memo To Democrats: Hillary Clinton Could Still Lose

Originally posted at The Week by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

Hillary Clinton is now officially the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.

So it is going to be Hillary-Trump after all. We’re going to see America at her horrible, entertaining worst.

It looks like, for once, Hillary’s been lucky. She has stumbled into the worst Republican presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. And yet, there’s still a way for her to lose this thing.

After all, if you look at the respected RealClearPolitics poll average, she doesn’t have that much of a lead — 44 percent to 42 percent. Trump even briefly outpolled her.

There’s just no two ways about it. Clinton is a terrible candidate. As my colleague Michael Brendan Dougherty pointed out:

Hillary Clinton’s only electoral victories were in one of the most Democratic states in the country and against nobodies. She defeated an incompetent Republican backbencher, Rick Lazio, in 2000. In 2006, the New York State Republican Party sent John Spencer, mayor of Yonkers, to be its sacrificial lamb. Clinton spent $36 million defeating Spencer in an election with a 23 percent voter turnout. Spencer had raised just over $5 million, and was given to describing people as having a “Chinaman’s chance.” [The Week]

And remember that time when she lost humiliatingly to a freshman senator in 2008?

The subtext of The Washington Post’s fascinating post-mortem on the Sanders campaign is that if it had only been organized a little bit more strategically, and the candidate been a little bit better, he would’ve won.

After all, Clinton wore a $12,495 Armani jacket to a speech about inequality. I mean, come on.

Trump is the most disliked presidential candidate in the history of polling, and rightly so. But Clinton is the second-most disliked presidential candidate in the history of polling — and rightly so.

For all that Trump’s racist outbursts will hurt him, the fact remains that Trump is sucking all the media oxygen out of the room. She clinched the nomination on Monday and all anyone could talk about was his feud with a judge.

While Trump is a sociopath who is temperamentally unsuited to the presidency, Clinton has more skeletons in her closet, piled up since her Arkansas days. And you can believe Trump will hit her in every way imaginable from now to the election. Especially when you add the stuff he’ll just make up.

The fundamental problem — and the fundamental reason for being scared — is that the average voter simply might not view Trump as beyond the pale the way columnists and people who follow politics do. As PJ O’Rourke put it, Clinton is wrong “within normal parameters.” Trump operates outside those parameters entirely. Hillary lies and spins, but there’s no chance she’ll nuke a country just because she’s pissed off. Is it plausible the Donald would do that? No. Are the odds still worryingly high? Yes.

Read more at The Week.

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