"We know some of the challenges that await the next president," Hillary told an Iowa audience one day in early January. "But no matter how much we know, we can't possibly anticipate all the problems."
Make no mistake — it's a message that works. Over the past few weeks, I have interviewed scores of voters on all sides of this contest. It would be foolish to generalize, but let me foolishly state that, generally speaking, the Clinton campaign attracts the less political, the less ideological, the less activist, the less educated, the more elderly and the more fearful.
There are other uncomfortable facts emerging in this contest. As I've previously noted, this is the first Democratic primary in more than a generation in which the "dreamer" as opposed to the establishment candidate has no structural disadvantage. Obama, along with Clinton, raised more preprimary money than any candidate in history, topping $100 million. He's not been excluded from any debate or denied any TV time. He no longer suffers from any lack of name recognition. Press coverage of Obama has been ample and decidedly positive (with reporters mostly abstaining from picking too much at any of the obvious sores, like his friendship with now-indicted Antoin Rezko).
There was nothing fishy about Obama's losses in New Hampshire or Nevada. He did well. Hillary did better. She got more white votes. More women's votes. And in Nevada, she outpolled Obama by more than 2 to 1 among Latinos. Then Obama staged his stunning comeback in South Carolina, crushing Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin, and while he won four out of five black votes, he picked up nearly as many white men as Clinton did. Nevertheless, we go into our own primary this week with Clinton out ahead in the polls, and the betting markets still have her at a 65-35 favorite.
If she is nominated, Democrats will have no one to blame except themselves. Many will rejoice that a woman will now be in line to become president, a radical departure from our own history — even if our core politics will have changed almost imperceptibly, if at all.