But how against-all-odds was it really? We've dealt with this question before, and our conclusion was that the Obama-ites and others suffer from a little bit of revisionist history when it comes to just how "inevitable" Clinton was back then.
To wit, our own Philip Bump posted this:
...her lead in 2016 is substantially larger than what she enjoyed eight years ago. By way of example. Here's how the polling looked in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire in 2008, via Real Clear Politics.Clinton led, often by a wide margin. Her largest lead was just over 21 points. (The numbers above are the Real Clear Polling average, incidentally, not raw poll numbers.)Iowa was much closer. In fact, Clinton often trailed other candidates, including former North Carolina senator John Edwards.Her largest lead in Iowa was 7.2 points.Now compare that to 2016 polling -- which is still early, but a poll taken today is only about 50 days before the start of the polls above.Hillary Clinton was the front-runner in 2008, ahead of Edwards and Obama, until she wasn't. Clinton is the front-runner for 2016, as well, ahead of a healthy dose of empty space and then Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth "No, Really, I'm Not Running" Warren (D-Mass.). It's a whole different race.However, that can change.
For all talk about how Clinton was SO inevitable in 2008, we had a hard time finding people who actually said this back then -- much less Team Clinton itself.
From my post:
Going back to 2006 and 2007, we could find very little evidence of anybody publicly calling Clinton the "inevitable" nominee. Here's what we found when we searched in LexisNexis for "Hillary Clinton" and "inevitable":So basically there were maybe a few examples of people suggesting she might be inevitable, and slightly more people ascribing that view to unnamed other people (who might or might not have existed or been willing to speak on the record).And then came the New York Times's Adam Nagourney, in April 2007:"For Senator Clinton, Democrat of New York, the situation is not so seemingly dire, but any hope she had of Democrats embracing her candidacy as inevitable has been dashed by the rise of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the continued strength of John Edwards of North Carolina, and obvious discomfort in some Democratic quarters of putting another Clinton in the White House."That's right, as of April 2007, just two months after Obama launched his campaign, whatever inevitability bubble existed had pretty much burst. What would follow was a whole bunch of hand-wringing about how some of those people had declared the primary over way too early.All despite the fact that there is very little evidence that those people were anything amounting to a chorus.
So to whatever extent the inevitability idea existed, it was gone by, well, right about this point in the race.
Now, it's fair to suggest that perhaps Team Clinton was a little too big for its britches early in the 2008 campaign. But that's generally what campaigns try to do at this point, through fundraising and other things.
And we're sure that's what it looked like from Axelrod's viewpoint. Whatever the case, it's pretty clear he's still hanging on to it.