WELL, AS IT SHOULD BE: Hillary Clinton’s Late Start Won’t Stop the Punches.

The advantage of being the front-runner is that she has all the money locked up, and she won’t need to run to her left in the primaries in order to placate the base. The disadvantage is that she has no idea who she is running against, while everyone else knows exactly what they will be fighting. They’ll have over a year to lock in their message — no, better than that, they’ll be able to start their campaigns against her during the primaries, while she can’t mount an effective response until she knows who her opponent will be. Any rejoinder she makes before then will only serve to raise the profile of the people making the most effective criticisms.

Meanwhile, she’ll need to spread her opposition research across multiple candidates, while all of theirs is laser-focused on her. To be sure, she’ll also benefit from the research they do on each other. But of course, the winning candidate will also have the benefit of everyone else’s anti-Hillary research operations — and they’re more likely to pool their research for the general campaign, while they probably won’t be sharing any unused tidbits with the Democrats.

A late start is helpful, though, if you aren’t really sure that your’re running — or if you’re really sure that you aren’t running, but want to maximize political leverage and money. Then there are possible health issues.