How Hillary could lose

‘Her fate is in the hands of investigators and the resident of the One Observatory Circle’
By Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics.

Whether or not Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee is largely out of her hands. This presents her with a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that her destiny is not in her current opponents’ hands either. As of this writing, she still seems on track to win Iowa, and even if Sen. Sanders were to pull off the unlikely upset there (and hold on in New Hampshire), she has something of a firewall with the heavily nonwhite Southern states that follow. Instead—and this is the bad news—her fate is in the hands of investigators and the resident of the One Observatory Circle. This is what could derail her: additional unhelpful stories surfacing regarding her email server and a decision from Vice President Biden to enter the race. Even then, there would probably have to be additional shoes dropping, such as an indictment or a presidential endorsement of one of her opponents (a possibility that has been left open).

The general election is in many ways out of her hands as well. She has the necessary tools in place to run a winning campaign; she meets the basic threshold of credibility (this is untrue of some of her GOP opponents). But the president’s job approval and the state of the economy are not within her control, and both are critical data points for the general election. Right now both are mediocre, and point toward a close election. An uptick in these indicators would probably put the Clintons back in the White House. A downturn? She would probably have to root for Republican primary voters give her a flawed opponent.