For normal people, the general-election cycle starts now and it’s worth revisiting what’s known about the contours of the contest.

n Hillary Clinton is the front-runner. With just over two months left until Nov. 8, this is her race to lose. She is better funded, better organized and – marginally – better liked. She also is the beneficiary of demographic and resultant electoral college shifts. But she has not – somewhat remarkably – closed the deal with much of the electorate, who still have major questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Still, if you are a betting person, she is the safer pick.

n There is no “new” Donald Trump. Since May 3 – when he crushed Sen. Ted Cruz in Indiana and effectively sealed the Republican nomination – there has been talk of a Trump pivot in which he drops some of his brashness and reactionary rhetoric to convince wavering voters that he is temperamentally up to the task of being president. But time after time, Trump has taken one step forward and two steps back. There is just this Trump, take him or leave him.

n The public doesn’t really want either of them. Clinton, at the moment, has a clear – although slightly shrinking – lead in swing states and national polling. But the aversion to Clinton is so massive among Republican base voters that they are beginning to rally to Trump’s cause despite having major issues with much of what he says and lingering questions about how committed he is to the conservative cause. And Democrats are fearful and astounded at the idea of Trump anywhere near the White House.

n Republicans have a demographic problem. In the wake of their 2012 loss, top thinkers in the party released an autopsy of what went wrong – and how to fix it. One of the central recommendations was that Republicans needed to find a way to be for some sort of comprehensive immigration reform – otherwise, they would lose their chance at the growing Latino vote. Four years later, the party has nominated a candidate whose centerpiece issue is building a wall on the Southern border. In most polls, Trump is underperforming the 27 percent that Mitt Romney got among Hispanics in 2012. That’s a disaster going forward.

n Republicans have an electoral map problem. Although there is a tendency to blame Trump, it’s not entirely (or even mostly) his fault: Only 1 in 10 people who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 were nonwhite. What that means in practical terms is that states like Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado are moving toward Democrats at varying degrees of speed. There is no such movement toward Republicans. (Minnesota and Wisconsin are getting slightly more Republican, but it is a very slow change.) Consider this: 17 states plus the District of Columbia have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1992. That accounts for 242 electoral votes. Meanwhile, 13 states have voted for the Republican. Add them up, and you get 102 electoral votes. It’s just math.

n The first presidential debates will be bananas. Circle Sept. 26 on your calendar. And given that Trump is likely to be in need of a major moment, it has the potential to go in a thousand directions.

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