This article first appeared online at on Tuesday, April 14, 2015: 

English: Nate Silver in Washington, D.C.

Nate Silver

For some, the 2016 presidential election is over: Hillary will win in a walk. website, which monitors 19 bookies, is unanimous: Hillary is heavily favored to win, with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio coming in at very weak second and third places, respectively.

Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, agrees. Spokesman Rory Scott told Business Insider that more than 5,000 bets have already been placed on the outcome reflected by Oddschecker: Hillary first, followed in the distance by Bush, Walker, and Rubio.

Myra Adams, a Republican who served on ’s reelection campaign’s creative team in 2004 and then on John McCain’s 2008 campaign’s ad council, threw in the towel two years ago. Writing in The Daily Beast in August 2013, she sorrowfully concluded: “Sorry, folks, this race is over … from this vantage point, all signs point to Hillary Clinton coasting to the Democrat Party nomination and [then] winning the White House.”

It’s because of demographic shifts, bias, and the lack (at the time of her writing) of anyone with sufficient “star power” in the Republican Party universe to challenge her, said Adams.

First, the will push the “Madame President” movement, helped along by Hollywood and social media:

You will hear the “triumph of the ’60s feminist movement.” You will hear that you will be “voting to make history.” And you will hear that your vote will be used as a “hammer to break through the glass ceiling of the Oval Office.”…

[Just as] Obama was hailed as the messiah … Hillary will be the queen ready to ascend to her royal throne.

Second, said Adams, Hillary is due. She’s earned it, she deserves it, she’s labored in the shadows for years, she’s suffered under husband’s sexual escapades and his by the House of Representatives, and under Obama as his foil as secretary of state. She came back to win a Senate seat in New York, and she’ll come back once again to take the White House. Said Adams, “This groupthink will make for a toxic punch of bias that the Republican presidential candidate will be forced to drink on a daily basis.”

Third, she has a three-year running start. In June 2013, for example, her Ready for Hillary PAC raised over a million dollars, almost two years before she even declared herself as a candidate. It’s reported that she is planning to raise more than a billion dollars to fund her now official campaign to storm the White House.

Fourth, there’s the “blue wall” in the Electoral College that favors Democrats and will continue to do so, according to Adams, thanks to current and future demographic shifts and changing voting patterns.

That demographic shift is being helped along as Ready for Hillary is already registering some 50,000 Hispanic teenagers who are turning 18 every month, notes Adams.

In addition, Bill Clinton will be one of Hillary’s greatest assets:

[Hillary’s] leaner, non-meat-eating, more highly evolved, totally rebranded, well-respected charitable husband (of Clinton Initiative fame) will be one of Hillary’s greatest assets on the campaign trail.

The Republican Party’s “travelling circus” has just begun, using up resources and inflicting damage on potential candidates, while Hillary waits in the wings to take on the survivor. Much like Siamese fighting fish, the male survivor is so in its fight for life that it presents little resistance to another one observing the battle from a distance.

The claim that Hillary is old (she’s 67 and will turn 70 during her first term) is likely to fail to resonate with voters, asserts Adams. With 70 being “the new 55” and the average age of Republican voters climbing, this will be a non-starter.

And the electorate’s short memory will aid Hillary as well, says Adams. Calls to arms from Republicans reminding voters about Whitewater, the death of Vince Foster, Travelgate, filegate, the Rose Law firm, and cattle futures are likely to draw little interest. After all, these happened years ago and therefore aren’t relevant today. The only piece of luggage Hillary is carrying around contains something about her private e-mails and a distant fading memory of something bad that happened in Benghazi, Libya, which occurred in September 2012. By November 2016 that will be ancient, and irrelevant, history.

Enter Nate Silver. He calls most of Adams’ concerns mere “punditry,” not likely to have much impact on the election, either way. Concerns about the “blue wall” in the Electoral College and the historical fact that the Democratic Party rarely wins three elections in a row, Silver calls distracting to the real issue: Hillary will become the Democratic Party’s nominee, he says, but the presidential election “is roughly a 50/50 proposition.”

Silver, it will be remembered, called the 2008 presidential election and accurately predicted 49 of the 50 states along with the winner in all 35 U.S. Senate races.

In 2012, he repeated his performance, correctly predicting the election results in all 50 states, and in 31 of the 33 Senate races.

What about that “blue wall?” Mostly, says Silver, it was the effect of Obama’s success in 2008 and 2012, not the cause of it.

And in both elections, the vote was so close that just one “tipping-point state” (Colorado) pushed the election to Obama.

Obama’s team mobilized voters in swing states, and it’s unclear whether Hillary’s team will have the same success. Silver is unconvinced about the “Emerging Democratic Majority,” calling it “highly dubious” with predictions based on such theories having “a miserable track record” of predicting presidential elections.

And fundraising? Hillary plans to raise $1.2 billion for 2016 but, says Silver, so are the Republicans. And at some point, more money has a steadily diminishing rate of return.

Silver looks at two primary factors when making his predictions: likeability and name recognition. A candidate might be well-known (such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for example) but have terribly unfavorable ratings. Or a candidate (such as Ben Carson) might have high favorability ratings but be practically unknown.

Hillary is well-known (almost as well-known as her former boss, President Obama), according to Silver’s analysis, but she isn’t particularly well-liked, just like her boss.

The outlier for 2016 is something none of the pollsters is talking about, and only Adams touched on it: “Unless there is a radical change of circumstances within the Republican Party and its crop of presidential wannabes, or some unforeseen cataclysmic national event that dramatically alters the current economic and political landscape, or a serious deterioration in her health, Hillary has it locked up.” (Emphasis added.)

On December 30, 2013, Hillary collapsed in her office and suffered a concussion. She was taken by ambulance to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she was diagnosed with having suffered a “right transverse venous thrombosis” — a blood clot in her brain. Doctors warned, “She has to be carefully monitored for the rest of her life.” The reason? Said a cardiac specialist: “The unique thing about clotting in the brain is that it could have transformed into a stroke.” And clots are especially a while flying, which may perhaps have something to do with Hillary’s decision to travel by car around the country as she kicks off her campaign.

She had a similar fainting spell back in 2005 during a speech in Buffalo, New York, and fainted again while boarding a plane in Yemen in 2009. That time she fell and broke her elbow.

The presidential election is 18 months away. It’s far too soon to be calling winners. But given Silver’s analysis, and his track record, it could be a lot closer than some are predicting.

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