POLITICS can be a long, winding and exhausting road at the best of times but following US presidential elections requires the stamina of Pheidippides.
The first candidate to officially declare in the race to become the 45th president did so 596 days ago when Texas senator Ted Cruz (remember him?) launched his lacklustre campaign.
Clinton may have declared her candidacy shortly after Cruz, but she has been positioning herself for a run at the highest office since the mid-1970s.
The overt signs of her personal ambition were there during her time as First Lady, but her subsequent election as a Senator in New York, and then time as Secretary of State, were meticulously planned with one goal in mind – the White House.
Having just missed out on defeating the all-conquering Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, Clinton – and the Democratic party machine – has had eight years to plan her presidential bid.
The Republicans have had no such luck.
The Grand Old Party’s nominee for president, Donald Trump, has never held elected office of any kind and is the candidate that almost no one inside the party wanted.
Since Obama put the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket to the sword in 2008 by winning 365 electoral college votes, the Republicans have been searching in vain for a fresh-faced candidate that could unite the party and deliver those crucial minority votes.
This was supposed to be Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s election.
The thinking was that Rubio would guarantee his home state’s critical 27 electoral college votes, a swell of Latino support, and would be a candidate that suburban women across the country could back.
Instead, Donald Trump arrived and laid waste to those carefully prepared plans.
Trump’s campaign has alienated women, driven Latinos into the welcoming arms of the Democrats in record numbers, and may just hand Florida to Clinton.
Despite the pervasive narrative of a neck and neck horse race, this election was over the moment Trump won the Republican nomination and I shall be buying Clinton on Sporting Index’s presidential 50 index at 45.
Demographics are shifting quickly in the US and the GOP would have likely struggled to bridge that gap regardless.
The Democrats may take the House of Representatives seat in California’s 48th district for the first time – North Korean opposition parties would have been sympathetic with Orange county Democrats’ plight in recent years.
However, the Republicans could have won this election if they were united.
Clinton may be the most qualified presidential candidate in a generation, but she has her faults and the baggage from a career at the top of world politics weighs heavy.
Trump hasn’t had the Republican party machine behind him, and hasn’t raised any funds to speak of in months.
The Democrats know where their votes are and early results have proved the gulf in class between the two party’s operations.
In Nevada – a crucial swing state – a record number of people turned out early, with the area around Las Vegas (Clark County) splitting hugely for Clinton.
Early voting has given Hillary has a 70,000 vote lead in the state and that will be simply impossible to overturn today. Latino early voting is up in Nevada, Florida and elsewhere throughout the country.
North Carolina flipped back to the Republicans last time, but I think Clinton has a great chance of regaining it and the 5/6 on offer appeals.
Trump, without the unanimous backing of the party, has never had an organisation on the ground to deliver voters to the polls where it counts. Sure, he’ll run up the score in Wyoming, West Virginia and Oklahoma but will likely lose by four or five percentage points in a raft of critical states.
Clinton’s election as Senator for New York 16 years ago yesterday practically guaranteed the state’s 29 electoral college votes for the Democrats today.
Clinton has been planning this run at the White House for decades and it would have taken someone seriously formidable to defeat her.
Donald Trump is not that person.
Buy Hillary Clinton - 45 (Sporting Index)
Clinton to win North Carolina - 5/6 (General)