Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Somebody Has to Win

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Somebody Has to Win

Article excerpt

Here's a bold prediction: Somebody will get elected president next year.

It's easy to highlight the negatives of every candidate in the race. Hillary Clinton is too cold, Joe Biden too old, Bernie Sanders too bold. Donald Trump is too crazy, Jeb Bush too boring, Ben Carson too untested, Marco Rubio too young, Ted Cruz too rigid, Scott Walker too tongue-tied.

All those stereotypes reflect some degree of truth. But "None of the Above" will not move into the White House in 2017.

And today, for all her trials and troubles, the odds still favor Clinton.

She has flaws as a candidate. And she's compounded them by running a poor campaign. But for all the recent headlines about Clinton's "floundering" candidacy, all of her rivals face bigger obstacles than she does.

Voters don't measure candidates against some abstract standard of perfection, but against each other. They always ask: Compared to whom?

Clinton has been her own worst enemy. In mishandling her email problem, she broke the first rule in the political playbook: When a crisis erupts, get out ahead of the story. Never look like you have something to hide.

That's particularly important when you have a history of bending rules and cutting corners.

That's why, in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, only 39 percent view her as "honest and trustworthy."

That same poll reveals another weakness, which is her failure to find a narrative that conveys the most important quality in a presidential candidate: empathy, connectedness and likeability. Only 46 percent said she "understands the problems of people like you" -- her lowest rating ever on that critical question. Clinton's sharpest decline has been among white women.

Team Clinton, however, is fighting back. She finally stopped being so evasive on the email mess and apologized for her mistakes. Her latest TV ad features adorable babies and an occasional puppy while she talks about making the world better for kids like her granddaughter, Charlotte. …

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