The Tea Leaves Suggest Hillary Clinton Would Be A Formidable Candidate

By Steve Paul (Opinion)
The Kansas City Star

No matter what happens in the midterm election this November, a larger political scenario looms for 2016.

For the Democrats right now, the presumptive though not entirely certain presidential nominee is Hillary Rodham Clinton. (“I’m thinking about it,” she said coyly last week.) For the Republicans, well, it’s too early to say.

But, according to demographics and polling, it’s all uphill for the GOP.

That’s one observation made in Kansas City on Wednesday night by a pair of longtime political observers. David Von Drehle, the Kansas City-based editor-at-large for Time magazine, and Carl Cannon, Washington bureau chief of the Real Clear Politics website, held a chat session on stage before a few hundred listeners at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch.

Cannon, who has covered presidential politics since the Reagan years, drew on his reading of voter trends and demographics to suggest that the gender gap alone will work in Clinton’s favor.

Then again, Cannon began the talk by reminding the audience how he declared, in 2005, that Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.

Responding to a later question he and Von Drehle agreed that, contrary to popular belief, Clinton ran a very good primary campaign in 2008, but she was up against a ground-breaking and great campaign run by Barack Obama and his political team.

A lot of emotional baggage comes with a Clinton candidacy, including the, uh, complications that beset the presidency of Clinton’s husband, Bill.

“Anyone who has covered the Clintons,” Cannon said, “has mixed feelings about them.”

And don’t forget that red-meat GOP issue regarding the tragedy at Benghazi, which occurred under Hillary Clinton’s watch as secretary of state. You can almost hear the super-PAC, attack-ad video machine already gearing up for that one.

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