Nate Cohn notes that Hillary Clinton currently “commands a staggering 60 percent of the primary vote, an unprecedented figure for a non–vice presidential candidate and one of the highest levels of support of all time”:
Yes, Clinton lost in 2008. But it’s important to note how much stronger her numbers are today than they were in 2007. Back then, only 35-40 percent of Democratic voters offered their support. With a few additional gains, Clinton was able to expand to nearly 50 percent of the vote, despite getting only a sliver of the African American vote. Polls indicate that Clinton has won back much of their support, giving her the broad coalition she possess today.
The true Clinton skill is survival. How those two ever got through the primaries in 1992 still amazes me. Lying very well helped. But it’s clear to me that Clinton has changed, as we all have over the years. There was, for me anyway, a real issue with her path to power – through her husband. But once she had won a Senate seat, and then exhibited remarkable magnanimity at the 2008 Convention, and gained real government experience as secretary of state, she became her own politician. My reservations on that score have evaporated.
Still: did she really make a big impact as secretary of state? Foreign policy was guarded by the president by and large. Maybe some pro-Clinton readers can make the case and persuade me I’m wrong to downplay her substantive record.