Last January, before Iowa and New Hampshire and Super Tuesday, it seemed certain that a Democrat would be elected President in 2016.
Democrats were widely, and justifiably, despised, but that didn’t matter; there wasn’t a Republican running who wasn’t too ludicrous or too loathsome or both to be taken seriously.
It didn’t matter either that long before last January, Hillary Clinton had the Democratic nomination sewn up.
Hardly anyone was truly happy about that. But thanks to the Clintons’ connections and their control of the Democratic Party, it seemed inevitable. Party functionaries were OK with this; under Clinton, they would retain their power. Outside their circles, there was only acquiescence and no enthusiasm.
The exception was the segment of the party comprised of unreconstructed second wave feminists who thought that a “glass ceiling” kept women from becoming President, and who wanted to see it shattered before they died. There weren’t many of them.
Even so, Hillary’s victory was all but assured. Everyone this side of the Tea Party was resigned to it; even, most likely, Donald Trump. There were, of course, a few old-line Republicans who thought that maybe another Bush could defeat another Clinton, but even they “knew” in their hearts that it wasn’t going to happen.
Eleven months later, Donald Trump — not quite the most ludicrous and loathsome contender for the Republican nomination,…