Hillary Clinton is not going to be the Democratic nominee for president.
Yes, the conventional wisdom is that she is still the prohibitive favorite, armed with big money, big connections, and the Big Dog, Bill.
But the so-called “wisdom” is “conventional” for a reason.
As a result of endless sordid scandals and predictably Clintonian evasions, her poll numbers on everything from favorability to trustworthiness are in a nosedive. A battery of new polls in key swing states such as Colorado and Iowa show her losing to a number of GOP challengers.
She’s also taking incoming from the left, particularly from Vermont senator and socialist Bernie Sanders, who is scoring major crowds and an increasing percentage of the Democratic vote, indicating that the leftist base sees him as a viable option and not merely a vehicle to register discontent with Mrs. Clinton.
Polls this early in the cycle can be unreliable. But they do indicate a significant downward trend for her that must have her campaign at DEFCON 3.
None of this, however, is her most serious problem. Instead, it’s something much closer to home, much more insidious, much more dangerous than anything else.
It’s President Obama. And he just made his move.
Here’s how it’s likely going down:
The Clintons and the Obamas have a long history of bad blood, dating to the 2008 primary race. After Mr. Obama creamed her, he offered her the plum gig of secretary of state. Friends close, enemies closer. She tried to get her dirty tricks consigliere, Sidney Blumenthal, a top position in the State Department, which Mr. Obama pointedly denied. So she hired him anyway through the Clinton Foundation.
Through Mr. Blumenthal, she was fed all kinds of intelligence on global hotpots such as Libya, much of it inaccurate, as she circumvented traditional government communication chains via her private email server. What was she hiding from Mr. Obama? And why? Perhaps because she trusted Mr. Obama about as much as she trusted Bill.
Mr. Obama didn’t trust her, either. In a recently disclosed email, Mrs. Clinton complained that she heard “on the radio” that there was a “Cabinet meeting” that morning and wondered if she could attend. The secretary of state — fourth in line to the presidency — was frozen out, so she set up her own fiefdom.
Mr. Obama needs a successor whom he can control to ensure that the “fundamental transformation of the nation” continues. He cannot control either of the Clintons. In a revealing “tell” this week, he said, “In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious problems that the country faces and the world faces.”
He will therefore back the one person he knows will do his bidding: his vice president, Joe Biden, whom he summons to his side for every critical photo op, including the announcement of the Iran deal. There’s more going on there than just symbolism.
So here’s the likely plan: Mr. Biden will announce that he is running for president (the reported dying wish of his late son, Beau). After a respectable amount of time, Mr. Obama will announce that while he admires all of the Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden has earned his particular loyalty.
Following his presidential endorsement, Mr. Obama will then support Mr. Biden with the full weight of the White House, including the sophisticated technical infrastructure his campaigns used to win in 2008 and 2012. For years, Mrs. Clinton has begged Mr. Obama to turn it over to her, and he refused. He’s been saving it for someone else.
Mr. Obama will also use his considerable influence with black and Latino voters to support Mr. Biden, which may be enough to help him significantly.
But Mrs. Clinton is a survivor, they will say. The media protects her. True. But it will be a much different situation if she’s under criminal investigation by the Justice Department or worse, crippled by a Special Prosecutor or even an indictment.
Don’t think Mr. Obama will go there? He already has. Last week, the New York Times reported that two inspectors general from his administration recommended that the Justice Department open a “criminal” inquiry into her handling of classified material. The leak to the Times came from a “senior administration official,” which some have speculated was Mr. Obama’s own consigliere, Valerie Jarrett. The Times walked back some of the details, but the damage was done. If Mr. Obama did not want a DOJ criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton to go forward, he would not have let it go this far.
He wants the investigation, wants her nailed, wants her out. And he’s doing it, slowly, steadily.
The Clintons used to be champion Machiavellians. But in Mr. Obama, they look like they are being outmaneuvered — again — by the ultimate take-no-prisoners master.
Hillary is being given the Judas kiss by her former boss, a man loyal to no one but himself.
• Monica Crowley is online opinion editor at The Washington Times.