Hillary Clinton is old. If she is able to secure her party’s nomination and win in November, she will be 70 years old when she takes office, the oldest any president has ever been when inaugurated. In 2020, she’ll be 74; in 2024, 78, and older than any president has ever been while in office. For all practical purposes, this is the last time she’ll be able to run for president. This year is the Clintons’ last chance for the presidency.
Despite determined opposition from Bernie Sanders, Clinton appears well-positioned to take the Democrat nomination. Granted, Sanders has done better than predicted; however, Clinton has taken three of the four initial states, and her strongest states haven’t voted yet. Besides Massachusetts, something like 30% of the Democrat’s delegates will be allocated before the next primary in a state Sanders is likely to win. It’s unlikely that Sanders will be able to survive the Clinton campaign’s narrative that the race is over, and the most probable outcome is that Clinton will cruise to the nomination with the vast majority of the delegates and little more effort.
There the easy ride to the presidency ends, though. Clinton is universally distrusted, even among Democrats, and polls badly against potential opponents. In fact, nearly every Republican candidate beats Clinton in head-to-head matchups, and this far out, with the Republicans engaged in a vicious primary campaign and the Democrat side relatively more genteel, that spells bad news for the Clinton dynasty.
In a weighted average of head-to-head matchups with Ben Carson, Clinton loses by 0.2%. That’s a tiny margin, but Carson is a marginal candidate with a limited following. Ted Cruz, despite having been attacked by both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump for several weeks, leads by an average of 1.1%, and leads every recent poll. Rubio leads Clinton by an average of 4.7%, and John Kasich, a liberal vanity candidate with no chance of winning the nomination, leads Clinton by 7.4% on average. Against all but one Republican candidate, Clinton loses.
One name, though, was left off that list, the one man on the Republican side who loses to Clinton: Donald Trump. In the same head-to-head matchups with Clinton, Trump trails by an average of nearly 3%, in some polls by double digits. Unlike his Republican opponents, projections of the electoral vote do not put Trump in the lead; rather, they show him losing by a wide margin.
Trump, a longtime friend of the Clinton’s and admitted admirer of Hillary, has become the last hope of the Clinton dynasty. Hillary’s best chance of winning the presidency rests on Trump’s fortunes in the Republican primary. Right now, that appears to be a safe bet. Buoyed by apparent Democrat crossover voting (in 2008, 530,000 voted in the South Carolina Democratic primary; this year, that number was down by 175,000), Trump has taken a significant lead among the few delegates already awarded. Whether or not that lead will hold will be decided on Tuesday, when eleven Republican states, including Texas, vote. Republicans won’t just be deciding their nominee, though: they’ll be deciding whether or not they want the Clinton dynasty to continue.