Why Hillary will win in 2016

With his paltry Senate record, Barack Obama’s 2007-2008 candidacy wouldn’t have merited serious consideration except for two things. First, he was the only prominent Democrat in the field who questioned the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. (The other top-tier contenders, including Clinton and Joe Biden, had actually voted to authorize it.) Second, his candidacy afforded Americans the chance to atone. Not to put the legacy of slavery behind us — no single election could ever do that — but to touch, as Lincoln asked of his countrymen, “the better angels of our nature.”

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He ran against a genuine American hero in November of 2008, in a partisan campaign in polarized times. Yet after the votes were counted, it was hard to avoid getting caught up in the good feeling of this African-American president-elect and his beautiful family coming to Washington to redeem the hopes of so many. George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush felt it, as did Brit Hume, who anchored the inauguration for Fox News. So did I.

Eight years later, voters will have the chance to put another iniquitous legacy behind them. I think they will take it. The polls show Hillary leading all the likely Republican nominees, and I think that support is solid, particularly among women. Millions will demur to their husbands or more conservative colleagues, fib to pollsters and quietly fill out their ballots. America will find that its women have long memories.

It was in 1897 that Susan B. Anthony wrote, “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” More than a century later, Nancy Pelosi had those words — and the words of others — in her mind when she became the first female House speaker.

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