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Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.

The conventional wisdom so far is that Hillary Clinton is so personally unpopular that she might be the only Democratic candidate that could lose the presidential race to Donald Trump. I have an alternative theory.

Hillary's the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump, at least this year.

Donald has turned all the subtext of politics into text, and thus — in the primaries, at least — all but turned the campaign into a dick-measuring contest: He beat his GOP opponents mostly by displays of dominance: "Lyin' Ted," "Little Marco," "No Energy Jeb." The TV news coverage looked less like a campaign and more like nature documentary footage of wild predators establishing a clan's alpha male.

Watching Hillary play rope-a-dope tonight — baiting Donald, then watch him bluster and interrupt while she smiled calmly — it occurred to me she's not playing the dick-measuring game. She was content to poke him, then step back and let him reveal his essential nature while she plugged away with a wonk's command of facts, figures, and plans.

The skills she displayed, a million women Tweeted tonight, are the kinds of skills that smart, professional women generally have had to employ in a world full of mansplainers. It's a form of jiujitsu — let the dudes demonstrate their alpha male moves while the women maneuver around the egos and get stuff done.

A traditional male candidate might not be able to beat Donald Trump's dominance displays this year. A woman? One like Hillary who has spent decades maneuvering among alpha male egos at the highest level? She might be the only person who could beat Donald Trump this year.


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Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

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I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…