That decision on the part of the DNC had fateful consequences. A fiery right-wing populist who’d aptly been dubbed the “chaos candidate” got to run against a doyen of the center-left establishment, a woman who’d been close to the center of power in Washington for over two decades — and close to the center of (mostly minor) scandals for just as long. She didn’t have a populist bone in her body, and all efforts to make her sound like an “ordinary American” reeked of inauthenticity.

But the Clinton campaign didn’t care. They’d drawn a wildcard: Donald Trump as an opponent! What a dream! Clinton didn’t even need to campaign in August. She could just rest up and travel to a few fundraisers where she could rake in $143 million in excess cash. The media buy would take care of Trump. Hell, she wouldn’t even need a motivating message of her own. Just being Not Trump and reminding voters over and over and over about his self-evident awfulness would be more than enough to win — and not just in the usual states behind the fabled Blue Wall. No siree, she could clean up in other places, too. Arizona. Georgia. Maybe even Texas! Wouldn’t that be something?