Something sports fans tend to do is to wildly over-interpret the significance of random events. For example, if the Big Game ends up getting decided by a play or two that could just as easily have gone the other way with a slightly different bounce of the ball, fans of both the winning and the losing teams will treat the outcome of the contest as a whole as essentially foreordained by the “obviously” superior or inferior quality of the respective teams’ coaching, players, etc.
Of course this happens in politics all the time as well. All you need to do is flip 55,000 votes, i.e., about one out of every two thousand votes cast in the election, and Clinton beats Trump. Clinton’s “inevitable” loss then suddenly becomes the “inevitable” disaster for the GOP of nominating a preposterously unqualified grifter. For example it’s literally the case that if the weather had been slightly different on election day — to pick any of hundreds of trivial factors — Clinton could well have won.
In which case, where would we be today?
If Clinton had won by the margin Trump did, Trump would never have conceded the legitimacy of the result. And if Clinton had won by a slightly closer margin — say taking Pennsylvania by less than 5,000 votes — we could well have had some sort of Bush v. Gore II.
In either case, the Republican party would treat Clinton’s presidency as per se illegitimate. The whole thing would make the birther “controversy” look like small potatoes. Assuming Clinton was actually allowed to become president by the Roberts court, some GOP elites would be using the opportunity to try to get rid of Trump, but Fox News, Limbaugh and Co., and the Scream Machine as a whole would ensure that Trump would remain the de facto head of the Republican Presidency in Exile (a phrase that would be popularized by Andrew McCarthy or someone similar).
The SCOTUS would still have only eight members. This would be perceived by the political and media elites as a genuine constitutional crisis.
More generally, Republican legislative intransigence would be close to total. Some sort of debt crisis would almost certainly have been triggered by the legislature’s refusal to raise the debt limit. Financial markets would be crashing as a result. This would also be considered a constitutional crisis by elites. Juan Linz’s name would come up a lot.
Congressional investigations of various old and brand new Clinton “scandals” would be 24/7.
Both Siderism would be at an all-time high, as the Official Rules of American Elite Media would require all these crises to be just as much Hillary Clinton’s fault as that of the Republican leadership. Also, neoliberalism.
Fantasies of a Common Sense Moderate Middle Third Party would also be off the charts, with various paradigm-shattering plutocrats being put forth almost daily (Lean In In 2020) by the Acolytes of Disruption, Thomas Friedman, honorary chair.
Feel free to elaborate.