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The Democratic nominee should take the White House in November, but even if she wins, Trumpism may haunt her

COMEDIAN BILL MAHER captured the anxiety of Democrats about the presidential election when he returned to his weekly HBO show in mid-September after a summer hiatus. “When I left five weeks ago, Hillary had a huge lead,” said the host of Real Time. “What the fuck happened? They say the race is tightening. My asshole is tightening.”

That graphic response is understandable for many voters. Hillary Clinton no longer has a huge lead—in fact, she’s trailing in some swing states— although her numbers seem to be creeping back up nationally. Liberals who had been dismissing Donald Trump as a blow-dried bloviator now see an electable bloviator—something his Republican competitors came to understand as the mogul won primary after primary. Now the question is, Can Trump really get 270 electoral votes?

The answer is yes, just as it always is for any nominee of one of the two major parties, but Clinton still holds advantages that make this race hers to lose. Democrats know that, which is why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s vehicle for promoting House candidates, has been sending out a flurry of alarmist fundraising notes, like the one with the subject line “Kiss All Hope Goodbye,” and the text “TRUMP +3 in Ohio, 538 says if he wins Ohio he’s got 67% odds to be PRESIDENT.” (FiveThirtyEight, the website edited by Nate Silver, is known for its prescient analysis of elections and takes its name from the total number of electoral votes. Its odds of Trump winning rose from as low as 10.4 percent on August 14 to 43.1 by September 21.)

Clinton knows the debates are crucial, which is why she spent weeks prepping with briefing books when she was on the road, as well as with practice sessions back home in New York’s Westchester County. After swimming in political vitriol for four decades, she had to know this wasn’t going to be easy. That’s just how presidential elections are in a country where voters are split almost evenly between the two main parties. With swing voters as rare as centrists in Congress, landslides like that of Ronald Reagan’s—who defeated

Walter Mondale in 1984 by more than 18 percent—just aren’t happening anymore. Margins in presidential elections have not been nearly as big since then: In 2000, George W. Bush squeezed past Al Gore in the electoral college but lost the popular vote by 0.5 percent; in 2004, his margin over John Kerry was just 2.4 percent. Amidst the economic hellscape of the 2008 election, Barack Obama won by a strong but hardly Reaganesque 7.2 percent over John McCain, and that dropped to 3.9 percent when he beat Mitt Romney in 2012. Just by being the Republican nominee, Trump is a plausible winner, not the easily beatable fool Democrats once assumed he would be.

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The race to the White House is nearing the end. Is this Hilary's race to lose; Newsweek looks at why she should win, but may lose out!