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Why Hillary Clinton is (not necessarily) a Shoo-in

Updated on July 10, 2016

A brash, boorish political amateur is pitted against a polished, professional former First Lady/Secretary of State/United States senator. Should be a cakewalk for Hillary Clinton, right? Not so fast - the electorate might have other ideas.

Scandalous: Scandal-wise, Hillary Clinton has been pelted with everything from mishandling Benghazi to darkly muttered rumors of plotting the murders of several people who threatened to derail her (and Bill's) political ambitions. The "see, I told ya" crowd firmly believes the fix was in when the FBI let her off the hook on the email issue.

Feeling the Bern: The big question of the summer is which way Bernie Sanders voters will go, with many of them disenchanted and thinking the system was rigged to ensure a Hillary nomination. With Donald Trump's perceived antagonism toward certain minorities, women and other groups it may seem like a farfetched notion that any Bernie supporter would turn to Trump. However, given that both Sanders and Trump also have an appeal as outsiders likely to shake up a corrupt and/or stagnant system, Trump just might be able to peel off a few Sanders voters. Other Sanders supporters might opt to sit the election out - or vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. (Trump may have his own third party headache if Republican regulars defect to the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld Libertarian ticket.)

The Great Unknown: A curious but occasional factor in polling is people who don't cop to how they are actually planning to vote for, for fear of being seen as racist or other reasons. We saw this in the Brexit vote, where staying in the European Union led in all the polling - until it was defeated at the polls.

Time to Worry: Most troubling of all for the Clinton campaign, as noted by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, is that Clinton tends to plateau in polls and the lead either stays or starts to slip. "She needs an enormous lead in the polls to hang on and win," says the pundit. right now, most polls show very close to a statistical tie; with some indicating Donald Trump is in the lead.

The Upshot: The 2016 presidential election has had many twists and turns defying conventional wisdom and is likely to continue doing so. The outcome is anyone's guess!


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