Unless … unless one of two things happens: 1. The Republicans build an Obama 2008-level narrative around their nominee, significantly broadening their candidate’s appeal to independents and Democrats. 2. Some legitimate controversy, historic stumble, unconscionable error or jaw-dropping gaffe completely reorients the way voters view Hillary Clinton.
As of now, the first option seems unlikely. Republicans have not produced a candidate who looks poised to pull off a ‘hope and change’ style campaign, despite Marco Rubio’s attempt to brand himself as the candidate for a “new American century.” The second option would require a controversy or error so major — and legitimate — that it didn’t go away. Such a controversy would have to be far bigger than a secret email account or questionable Clinton Foundation donations. The inconsequence of those stories can be seen in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, which found that “Americans now view Mrs. Clinton more favorably and more see her as a strong leader than they did earlier in the year, despite weeks of scrutiny about her ethics.”
The conventional wisdom among Clinton’s supporters is that Clinton is invincible, because she has already weathered all the storms of media scrutiny. She has been in the public eye for 25 years and endured countless controversies, from Whitewater to Lewinsky to Benghazi. The book has been thrown at her, and the book lost.