Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent most of the last year descending inexorably into depression and even panic. But the first Democratic presidential debate may have finally turned the tide, or at least stopped her fall. Clinton demonstrated that she was, by far, the best presidential candidate onstage. Indeed, she may have been the only person onstage actually running for president. Lincoln Chafee touted his lack of scandals as an oblique contrast to the front-runner. Martin O’Malley tried to play up his more left-wing position on the Glass-Steagall financial regulations. But none of them waged the kind of frontal assault that would be required to dislodge a front-runner who commands Clinton’s breadth of institutional support. Indeed, in what may be the most important moment of the debate, Bernie Sanders declared, to her insufficiently suppressed delight, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”
A second, and related, source of Clinton’s triumph is that she alone displayed the performative talent necessary to win a major party nomination. As a sheer communicator, she may ever-so-slightly outclass a Scott Walker, but she pales in comparison to at least a half-dozen Republicans: Figures like Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, perhaps even Jeb Bush, can put together more memorable sound bites. But whereas Walker’s performance came off as so pathetic that he had to abandon his campaign in disgrace, Clinton easily lapped the field. None of her opponents can plausibly imitate the public’s conception of a presidential nominee. Lincoln Chafee looked like he wandered into the building after his yacht had been lost at sea for weeks. Jim Webb snarled angrily about obscure obsessions. Martin O’Malley seemed to crave consideration as her vice-presidential nominee. Bernie Sanders is running for co-op president...
Related: Hillary donors worry: 'All the energy is with Bernie'
The DEMOS should market Hillary's cackle for Halloween ~!?!
Hillary could probably benefit from a laugh consultant
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