FBI director James Comey made a mighty effort to keep the negatives, both real and manufactured, on Clinton in play. First there was the supposed new revelations about possible misuse of her emails. Next, he doubled down by claiming there were thousands more emails the FBI would sift through for improprieties, including emails to daughter, Chelsea.
Then there was the supposed threat of new terror attacks on U.S. soil near or on Election Day. The ploy wasn't a total flop. Polls that showed Clinton cruising to a comfortable win on November 8, with a double-digit lead over Trump, instantly were reversed. Some now showed Trump either in a statistical dead heat with Clinton, and even nudging ahead in a couple of key swing states. Trump seemingly had a lifeline he desperately needed to claw back into the race.
Comey notwithstanding, he really didn't. In fact, neither Trump nor any of the other dozen-plus, would-be GOP presidential contenders ever had a chance. Given the overwhelmingly Democrat friendly political, population and voter demographics, getting the requisite 270 plus-one electoral votes for the White House was a near impossibility for any of them to bag.
Clinton, or any other Democrat going into the 2016 presidential campaign, already had between 210 and 220 electoral votes sewed up before the first vote was even cast. Those votes are in the dozen or more lockdown Democratic states: California, New York, Maryland, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan, and a handful of other smaller electoral vote states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon and Vermont.
A Democrat simply had to win a few of the half dozen swing states that lean Democratic to easily get over the top. The oft-mentioned big three, must-win swing states are Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Obama won them all twice. He won them for two reasons. One is the voter demographics. They were fast changing with more young voters, middle class college educated women, young professionals and a rising number of Hispanics. They came out in big numbers for him.
The other reason was he got as close as any presidential candidate could ever get to getting a near unanimous vote from black voters. Clinton is not Obama. She can't turn the black vote into a holy crusade for her as Obama did for him. But she never needed to. In her bitter primary battle with Obama in 2008, she beat him badly among white, less educated, blue collar and rural voters. This included a considerable number of white male voters. This partially offset his minority vote swell in these states and assured her primary wins in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Now, much is made that GOP presidential candidates bank on older, white, less educated, male blue collar voters to give a GOP contender any chance at the White House. This proved true with Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. in presidential elections past. It did not prove true with Romney or McCain in presidential elections present. The reason is simple. Their numbers are dropping in the must-win swing states.
The margin of victory for the GOP with their numbers has narrowed almost to the point of nothingness. A GOP presidential contender would have to do what Obama did, and that's turn the campaign into a crusade against alleged liberal big government, that shamelessly gives the company store away to minorities at the expense of suffering white males. Romney and McCain tried with subtle and gentle code pitches to do that. Trump tried with ham-fisted, sledge hammer, racially bigoted, anti-woman, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bashing screeches.
That was enough to get him to the top of the GOP presidential pack. But he was preaching to the traditional GOP crowd though just more shrilly than other GOP contenders. The downside for him was that the number who recoiled in fear and loathing at his screeches were even bigger than those he was screeching to.
The growing number of diverse, Democrat friendly voters are increasingly in the must-win swing states as well as other states in the South and the heartland that for decades have been sacrosanct for the GOP. To name three, Georgia, North Carolina and Utah, these are states that no Democrat even bothered to set a campaign toe in for decades. Yet, they have now been officially declared "battleground" states. There are more blacks, Hispanics, younger middle class professionals, and educated women in these states. Trump will still probably win them. But the fact they're now competitive simply underscores the near impossibility of a GOP presidential contender to grab the Oval Office.
The supreme irony is that for years the electoral college's magic 270 votes was the ace card the GOP relied on to win. But the changing voter demographics have stood this on its head, and made it the province of the Democrats. So, Comey could pump out all the scary Clinton news he could conjure up, but it couldn't put the GOP in the White House.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio-One Network. He is the author of What We Can Expect from President Hillary Clinton (Amazon Kindle). He is an associate editor of New America Media.