Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

A chance that won't come again

When my son was younger, he was obsessed with baseball and we would watch it constantly, especially the playoffs. Each year, the Yankees were the dominant team, but we always had hope that another team would find a way to defeat them. And in every series, a chance would present itself.

I remember watching so many games start promisingly, with the challenger loading the bases in the first inning, sometimes even scoring a run or two. The tension would build and Ben and I would look at each other wondering if we should believe this time; maybe, just maybe, David might pull of an upset. The Yankee starting picture would be on the ropes, on the verge of getting knocked out of the game; the other team just one big hit away from blowing the game wide open.

And that big hit would never come. Sure, they'd score a run or two, or maybe even build up a 3-run lead late in the game. But they'd never put the game out of reach, never deliver the knock blow that the Yankees couldn't come back from. The game would always be just close enough to leave the door open for some late inning heroics. And when the game was on the line, the Yankees would come through with the unbelievable base hit or the walk-off homerun.

When the underdog failed to deliver the big hit and capitalize on the incredibly small opening they had been given, I would know in my heart that it was over, even if it was just the first inning. "But there's still 8 more innings left!" Ben would say. I'd explain that yes, there's always a chance, but with the Yankees, you usually only get one.

Against the Yankees of the political world, Barack Obama had just such an opening in New Hampshire. The press and Obama's supporters were eager to declare him the new frontrunner. A resounding victory would have caused a massive shift of expectations, severely limited Clinton's fundraising, and raised the possibility of her dropping out before Super Tuesday.

When it became clear that Clinton was going to win on Tuesday night, I had just one thought: "It's over." It seems absurd after just two contests. Even after his surprising loss, Obama has attracted a number of endorsements, remains extremely popular, and is not having any trouble raising money.

Against a political team like the Clintons, though, you usually only get one chance to knock them out. They learn from their mistakes and know better than anyone how to capitalize on an opponent's missteps. That chance has come and gone, and Hillary Clinton's nomination is now, once again, inevitable.