Hillary Clinton followed up a strong debate with the other Democratic candidates, last week on October 13, with strong debate with the Select Committee on Benghazi, this week on October 22. Consequently, she has moved from really likely to almost certainly the Democratic nominee for president. Meanwhile, in the fight for the Republican nomination Jeb Bush downsized his payroll by 40% on October 23, but he was in a freefall starting October 17 as he struggled with questions tying him to his brother, George W. Bush. Equally important is that Donald Trump refuses to go away, increasing the probability that the Republican establishment coalesces around an establishment candidate soon; and, Marco Rubio has similar establishment positions and is now perceived to be more electable than Bush.

Clinton became the almost certain Democratic presidential nominee this week after Joe Biden dropped out of the race and she nailed the Benghazi hearings in back-to-back days.

Biden, who was not officially running, but was testing the situation for a few months, dropped out on October 21. This was a direct consequence of Clinton doing well enough in the Democratic debate on October 13, to lessen the demand for alternative establishment candidate. Subsequently, both Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee also dropped out this week; both candidates were at a solid 0% to win the Democratic nomination.

Clinton spent 11 hours answering questions at a Congressional hearing on Benghazi; no new information was gleamed and she looked very poised and knowledgeable. While the Republicans will certainly keep Benghazi in their cache of anti-Clinton rhetoric, the utter failure of the 8th committee on the topic to learn anything useful, will probably end any mainstream reviews of the September 11, 2012 attack.

The vast majority of the remaining uncertainty should be understood as the uncertainty of the nine months that still exist between now and the official nomination on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia. This 12% of certainly (Clinton is at 88%) is possibility of unknown scandal, illness, etc., that could disrupt her bid before it becomes final.

Vertical Lines: Democratic debate on October 13 and Benghazi hearing on October 22

Sources: Betfair, Hypermind, PredictIt, http://twopointoh.predictwise.com/politics/2016DemNomination

Bush is now barely more likely to win than Trump, with Rubio soaring into the lead.

Bush is having a serious messaging issue ever since Trump forced Bush to defend his brother, George W. Bush’s, foreign policy. Regardless of how popular George W. Bush is with the Republican base, establishment money is concerned about reminding general election voters of his presidency. Further, Bush is not as media savvy as Rubio. For the establishment, Bush is increasingly dominated by Rubio: same positions, less electable.

The longer Trump refuses to go away, the more panicked the establishment gets. Currently Trump and Ben Carson combine for 52% of the polling support. If Carson and Trump still lead the polls in November, the establishment will need to start spending heavily on one establishment candidate to ensure that that one establishment candidate wins. Anything fracture in the establishment candidates can allow Trump or Carson to actually win. This is good news for the establishment candidate that is currently highest in the polls, Rubio. He would be the most likely person for the establishment to coalesce around.

Sources: Betfair, Hypermind, PredictIt, http://twopointoh.predictwise.com/politics/2016RepNomination

No debates this week, but the GOP takes the stage on Wednesday, October 28. Bush is going to need to figure out by then how to answer questions about his brother, George W. Bush. Rubio is going to have to find a way to break out of the pack. Trump and Carson are going to pummel each other for the top of the anti-establishment pack.