Hillary Clinton’s greatest strength—more than being a woman, more than being a Clinton—is the fact that polls show her consistently beating Republicans. Democrats see her as someone who can hold the White House. If she loses to Bernie in Iowa or New Hampshire, most likely the subsequent polls will show her losing to a handful of top Republicans.
And then what happens? Will the Democratic Party rally around her?
Perhaps. But more likely Party voices, with great and solemn regret (masking their deep panic), will begin to say that Hillary had her chance, she fought a good fight, but we can’t lose the White House.
Who would get in? I still think Elizabeth Warren could be drawn in under this scenario. It’s very different to get into a race to challenge the inevitable Hillary Clinton versus getting into a race to save the Party from a wounded Hillary Clinton. John Kerry could get in. Who knows? Perhaps Martin O’Malley does emerge as the viable alternative.