Reprinted from Media Matters
"She is an awful candidate. Everybody knows it."
That's how Matthew Dowd summed up Hillary Clinton on this Sunday's This Week on ABC. Reviewing the state of the 2016 White House campaign and insisting that Clinton is deeply flawed, Dowd deepened his critique: "She's an awful candidate. She's not liked. She's not trusted. The positive for her is she's running against a worse candidate in the course of it."
Clinton's an "awful" candidate, yet she amassed more votes than anyone else running in the Democratic and Republican primaries, she currently holds a commanding lead over Donald Trump, and she might rewrite the electoral map by flipping some dependably red states blue.
That's a very unusual election equation.
Dowd isn't alone in his peculiar appraisal. As the prospects of a Clinton victory loom larger this year, more pundits seem to be trying to explain why her historic victory wouldn't be that big of a deal. Why it might not be that meaningful, and how Clinton might just luck her way into the White House, no matter how commanding her potential margin of victory is.
The commentary trend is rather remarkable considering that in 2000, Republican George W. Bush not only lost the popular vote, but had to be hand-selected by the Supreme Court to become the next president. Yet Clinton is the one facing a possibly depleted victory?
Indeed, Clinton's alternately portrayed as boring and uninspiring, overly aggressive and widely disliked, or sleepwalking through history like a modern day Chauncey the Gardener.
New rule: Clinton not only has to win. She has to win a certain way.
According to a recent CNN.com report by Maeve Reston, Clinton's definitely not winning the right way. Reston announced the 2016 election cycle lacks any "inspiration," in part because so many voters "can't stand either candidate." According to Reston, the campaign is void of the "joy and even the sweeping rhetoric that drove voters to the polls" in previous campaigns -- like when George W. Bush pushed for "compassionate conservatism."