Hillary Clinton’s presidency is not inevitable, but it is as close to it as we’ve seen in years

Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally for Democratic challenger for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, October 9, 2014. The general election day in Pennsylvania will be held on November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mar

Hillary Clinton remains the frontrunner in primary and general election polling for president in 2016.

Depending on your stance on the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, many casual political observers are either confident or resigned when faced with the prospect of Hillary Clinton avenging the narrow defeat of her 2008 campaign for president and sweeping her way both to the Democratic nomination and into the White House.
Which is why, it seems, those who are critical of the former First Lady/U.S. Senator/Secretary of State seem very invested in crushing this creeping sense of inevitability about her 2016 prospects.

On the right, we have seen a lot of “she’s really not that popular, folks” (here is a nice little tweet in that vein).

And, now, we are seeing a similar pushback on the left. Late in January, a handful of wealthy Democrats still pining for an Elizabeth Warren candidacy financed a survey that had a battery of message-testing questions clearly designed to show that Clinton had vulnerabilities on a whole host of issues, ones that could hamstring her both in the primary and in the general election.

Make no mistake—there is potential merit in both efforts at pushback, on the right and the left. However, there are also substantial issues with both critiques, and the fact remains that Hillary Clinton is arguably in a more enviable position heading into a presidential election cycle than anyone in over a generation. Follow me past the fold to look at why these critiques of the “Clinton inevitability” are more nuanced than they appear, and why Clinton might be in a more commanding position than any of the “frontrunners” of the recent past.

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