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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Clinton's loss followed legacy of electoral failures

Hillary Clinton's historic defeat in the presidential election this week confounded pollsters and analysts who had predicted a comfortable victory for the Democratic nominee. But it also continued Clinton's pattern of frequently coming up short in key moments.

In 2008, Clinton's victory in the Democratic primary considered all but certain until, quite suddenly, it was not. In summer 2015 and earlier this year, Clinton's cruise to the Democratic nomination was a foregone conclusion until, on the eve of the Iowa caucus, it was transformed into a slog by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

And on Tuesday night, Clinton's assured ascension to the White House was stopped dead in its tracks by a defeat the political class failed to see coming.

"Hillary Clinton was a dreadful candidate — and the wrong fit for a change election," said Charles Lipson, a political science professor at the University of Chicago.

"She was the Jeb Bush of the general election," he added. "Very well funded but not very well liked."

Like in the case of Jeb Bush's failed bid for the GOP nomination, the warning signs for Clinton appeared early in the primary.

Her unfavorable numbers soared to historic heights, her message struggled to find footing in communities that were friendly toPresident Obama and — perhaps most importantly — primary voters flocked to a candidate whose platform represented a dramatic departure from what had propelled Democrats to the White House in the past.

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