Hillary Clinton still might not win her way back to the White House.
But barring a stunning repudiation of pollling reliability, she will win today’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary over Bernie Sanders by a wide margin.
That would bolster Clinton’s already-strong odds of gaining not just her party’s nomination but the Oval Office.
On Friday, PaddyPower.com, an Irish-based online betting site, reflected the wagering world’s consensus by listing Clinton as an 8-to-11 favorite (bet $11 on her to win $8) to become our next commander-in-chief — and our first female president. Republican front-runner Donald Trump was listed next at 5-to-2 (bet $2 on him to win $5).
Keep in mind that odds are set not as predictions of outcomes, but as attempts to draw equal amounts of money on both sides of a bet.
The rest of the candidates, including some who aren’t even running (at least not yet):
No. 3 Marco Rubio 13-2, No. 4 Sanders 12-1, No. 5 Michael Bloomberg 40-1, No. 6 Joe Biden 50-1, No. 7 Ted Cruz 66-1, No. 8 John Kasich 80-1, No. 9 (tie) Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan 200-1, No. 11 Ben Carson 250-1.
Of course, betting on favorites doesn’t always pay off.
For instance, when Nikki Haley announced at age 37 in 2009 that she was running for governor after fewer than three terms in the S.C. House, she was a very long shot.
Yet S.C. voters elected her in 2010 as our first female governor — and first Indian-American to hold elective office in our state — then re-elected her in 2014. Now a national GOP star, Haley has been touted as a contender to become our first female vice president.
Just don’t count on her making the GOP ticket if “The Donald” wins the nomination.
Last month, while giving the official Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, Haley warned Americans — with Trump clearly targeted — not to “follow the siren call of the angriest voices.”
Eleven days ago, Haley said Trump represents “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.” The next day, she endorsed Marco Rubio, who then edged Ted Cruz for second behind first-place Trump in our state’s GOP primary last Saturday.
Trump returned rhetorical fire by calling Haley “very weak on illegal immigration.”
That’s mild wording by the biting linguistic standards of “The Donald,” who revived another catchy barb during Thursday night’s debate in Houston by calling Cruz a “basket case.”
Then on Friday, Rubio called Trump a “con artist.”
Back to Thursday: Several hours before the debate, our senior senator, Lindsey Graham — whom Trump had previously called an “idiot,” “stiff,” “loser,” “nut job” and other hurtful names — told reporters in Washington that Trump was a “nut job” who is “generally a loser as a person and a candidate.”
In other words: I’m not a nut job and a loser — you’re a nut job and a loser.
Then on Thursday night at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s Congressional Dinner, Graham said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, no one would convict you.” Graham added: “My party has gone bat**** (a crude word unworthy of this family newspaper) crazy.”
Gee, that makes Graham, though still one of my favorite politicians, sound like a sore — and even reckless — loser.
And Graham was a loser, while Trump remains very much a winner so far (but why?), in the GOP nomination race.
Meanwhile, Haley said Thursday that she will support Trump if he’s the nominee.
But just as that wouldn’t get her on a Trump ticket, Graham won’t be Secretary of Defense or a Supreme Court justice if his obnoxious New Yorker nemesis wins the presidency.
Surveys show that Clinton’s pat S.C. primary hand today stems from lopsided support by black voters.
So how many black voters in our state have read the compelling column, first posted on Feb. 10 on The Nation website, “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote”?
The second headline on that piece offers incriminating answers: “From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted — and Hillary Clinton supported — decimated black America.”
1) Name the Israeli prime minister who said: “Don’t be so humble — you are not that great.”
2) Name the Indian prime minster who said: “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”
3) Name the German chancellor who said: “When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises.”
4) Name the United Kingdom prime minister who said: “I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.”
1) Golda Meir was the first female prime minister of Israel, serving from 1969-74.
2) Indira Gandhi was the first female prime minister of India, serving from 1966-77 and 1980-84. She was assassinated by bodyguards incensed that she had ordered, four months earlier, the Indian army’s deadly-force takeover of the Golden Temple in the state of Punjab to put down a Sikh rebellion.
3) Angela Merkel, the first female chancellor of Germany, has held that job since 2005.
4) Margaret Thatcher, aka “The Iron Lady,” was the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, serving from 1979-90 — the longest tenure of anyone in that office during the 20th century.
And as you ponder who gets your presidential vote today or in November, respect this Thatcher maxim, which has appeared in this space before and probably will again:
“Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.