Indulging Some What-Ifs

(Photos by Angela Weiss and Mandel Ngan/ AFP/Getty Images)

I relish the role of calling humbug on the political press. I’m the guy who loves to tell overheated pressies that no, there won’t be a contested convention or that, no, the polls aren’t all wrong, or, no, the Cabinet won’t be invoking the 25th Amendment.

Bored reporters who tire of political stasis are quick to see the seams through which massive disruptions could emerge. That’s fine. It’s good to know where to look. But when the game of “what if” goes from an occasional pastime to a mainstay of coverage, it keeps our audiences from getting the correct proportions when it comes to thinking about the contests as they really are.

I have, therefore, risen again and again to the challenge of explaining why the frontrunners in both major parties—particularly the sitting president—are likely to be renominated, that the sitting vice president is unlikely to be discarded, or that a third-party candidate is unlikely to ascend to the presidency.

And yet … 

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