Yes, Hilary will be the Democratic nominee

The media can talk about Joe Biden all they want, but he’s not going to be the nominee if he runs and even if he does, he will not be a serious obstacle to Hilary (spare me the emailgate).  Of course, that’s no fun for journalists to write about.  Better to make something out of polls that’s not even really there.  So long as we don’t find that smoking gun email where Hilary says “hey, why don’t we not defend Benghazi after it’s already attack!” or something else totally unforeseen at this point, Hilary’s got it locked up.  It’s all about the invisible primary and on the Democratic side, it’s pretty much over.  And, no, this is not 2008 and Bernie Sanders (or Biden) is most definitely not Barack Obama.  Jamelle Bouie with a nice article summing it up.

Moreover, because primaries aren’t popularity contests, the most important measure of success is party support. Barack Obama wasn’t an upstart; behind his run was the party machinery, or at least the part that didn’t want Clinton. Today, where do Democratic fundraisers stand? What do Democratic interests groups think? How will Democratic lawmakers act?

On each score, Clinton isn’t just winning—she dominates. Most fundraisers are in her corner; it’s why Biden will have a hard time raising money if he decides to run. Interest groups are still quiet, but Democratic lawmakers are overwhelmingly pro-Hillary. Clinton has more than 100 endorsements from sitting Democrats, including seven governors and 29 senators. Biden, who doesn’t appear to have decided whether to run yet, has two. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has one. Bernie Sanders has none. This is unprecedented. Not only is Clinton ahead of her previous endorsement total, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight, but she’s racked up more endorsements of significance at this stage of the race than any nonincumbent Democratic presidential candidate, ever. At this point in 1999, for instance, Al Gore had two-thirds as many endorsement points (a measure that weights senators and governors more than House representatives) as Clinton does now; at this point in 2003, John Kerry had less than one-tenth Clinton’s current support; at this point in 2007, Obama had less than one-sixth. The closest analogue to Clinton isn’t anyone in the Democratic Party—it’s George W. Bush, who had much greater endorsement support than Clinton at this stage of the 2000 Republican presidential primary and ultimately won easily, despite an early challenge from John McCain.

Sure, it’s no fun to write all this.  So just ignore the Democrats– we’ve got Donald Trump!

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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