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At the start of the 2008 presidential cycle, Hillary Clinton seemed like the obvious winner of the Democratic primary. Doesn’t that story line sound familiar? Fast-forward to 2016 and the Clinton campaign is working to avoid repeating any mistakes of the 2008 campaign and figure out how to capture the inevitability and roll it into the nomination.

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Report from the Washington Post:

Clinton still faces many of the same challenges she had seven years ago, when she went from being a juggernaut and most likely the first female president in American history to a perceived stumblebum out of touch with the political moment. A campaign that seemed invincible became known for strategic blunders, an off-putting air of entitlement and infighting among an insular and sometimes inexperienced group of aides.

But backers say this time Clinton is developing a smarter, more relevant campaign message focused on economic opportunity and her lifelong work to better women’s lives. The former secretary of state is also trying to play down any sense of inevitability and aims to adopt many of the same data-focused strategies that Barack Obama used to snatch the race from her in 2008. [Emphasis added]

Several of Obama’s prominent strategists are now supporting Clinton, and she is incorporating his model of using several pollsters and strategy advisers to diversify information coming into the campaign.

Many supporters point to Clinton’s final weeks as a candidate in 2008 as a good starting point for 2016. She was widely hailed for refusing to give up the fight, showing a feistiness missing from her earlier, anodyne campaign appearances.

Sounds like she’ll be running on the economy and women’s rights, if I’m reading this correctly. Obviously she’ll be seeking to bring in a majority of women voters as a firewall against any serious Republican competition. This tactic can be traced to Barack Obama’s method of bringing in minority and youth voters in droves to counteract any Republican insurgency in white voters. That method, coupled with many conservatives and evangelicals staying home, proved successful the past two cycles.

In short, 2016 will be infused with identity politics as is nearly every political campaign nowadays. The reason being, of course, is that it often works. The question will be whether Republicans have learned how to handle it on the national stage.

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