U.Va. Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato is contributing a regular column to Politico Magazine. This week, he explores the tough choices the eventual Republican nominee may have to make in order to increase the GOP’s chances in 2016. — The Editors

Did you ever see the documentary A Perfect Candidate? It was about Oliver North’s 1994 challenge to U.S. Sen. Charles S. Robb, a Democrat from Virginia. Despite the title, North turned out to be less than perfect; he lost to a scandal-wounded but resilient Robb despite a Republican tidal wave.

There will never be a perfect candidate, unless brilliant genetic engineers assisted by Watson the computer decide to undertake the task in the distant future. Until then, parties are left with flawed human beings, those bundles of virtues and vices that get proctoscopic treatment during long campaigns.

As long as she runs, Hillary Clinton appears to check most of the boxes that Democratic activists require, and one of her advantages is that her strengths and weaknesses are unusually well known. It’s hard to believe that voters will learn anything big about Hillary in 2016 that they don’t already know or suspect.

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