Strike One: Obama nominated Merrick Garland. After years of being rebuffed by the Republicans and with notice that his nominee would not be confirmed, Obama nevertheless nominated a middle of the road, older, white male candidate for the Supreme Court on the delusional hope that such a candidate would get a hearing and be confirmed. Had Obama recognized the political realities, he could have nominated a black woman for the seat. Such a nominee would have appealed to the Democratic base. Furthermore, had Hillary unequivocally indicated her resolve to support such a nominee, she would have galvanized many female and black Democrats who otherwise were not particularly enthusiastic about voting for her.

Strike Two: Hillary chose Tim Kaine as her running mate. As we say in Chicago, Kaine was a nobody who nobody sent. He added little or nothing to the ticket. JFK had the sense to pick LBJ as his running mate, even though they were not close or particularly friendly. But LBJ was a difference maker. Who you will comfortable working with simply is not as strong a criterion for a running mate as who can help get you elected. Had Hillary chosen Sanders, the opponent who nearly captured the nomination and who appealed to disaffected white male voters on the trade issue, Sanders’ supporters likely would have been much more energized. And just as importantly, some Trump supporters who voted for him because of the trade issue likely would have gone with Hillary instead.

Strike Three: Bill Clinton meets with the Attorney General. Whatever the motive for this incredibly stupid meeting, the outcome was the Attorney General taking herself out of the process on the criminal investigation of Hillary and deferring to FBI Director Comey on the matter. That left the door wide open to Comey repeatedly going public with his thinking regarding the investigation, all to the obvious detriment of Hillary. Without the Bill Clinton meeting, Comey would have had no recourse but to keep his thoughts private and addressed only to the Attorney General, which surely would have greatly benefited Hillary.

Hillary’s Out: Any one of the three strikes may or may not have been fatal to Hillary’s chances. Together, however, they knocked her out.