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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hillary Should Thank Her Lucky Stars

Should Hillary Clinton go on to become the first President in U.S. history, she can look back at this campaign and count her lucky stars.  There have been three fortunate situations that will have propelled the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State to the position she has coveted for decades.  Without all three, her chance of winning in November would have been a longshot.  In no particular order:
The non-indictment indictment.  When FBI Director James B. Comey announced on July 5 that Hillary would not be recommended for indictment as a result of her use of private email servers while Secretary of State, a major burden was lifted off the shoulders of the Clinton campaign.  This led to a collective sigh of relief among Democrats and anger and disappointment by Republicans.    

In a public, straightforward speech, Comey excoriated Clinton for multiple misdeeds but mostly determined the former Secretary of State was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information contained in emails.  The main reason the FBI did not recommend punishment was that there was no evidence to indicate “intent” to misuse the email system or that she was grossly negligent.  This does not mean there wasn’t intent; it means there was insufficient evidence to support it.

By the thinnest of margins, Hillary escaped the legal morass that would have all but killed her chances of being elected though this “scandal” will be kept alive by her opponent and the GOP throughout the remainder of the campaign.  Moreover, a poll showed that 56 percent opposed her exoneration, and that’s not good.  Nonetheless, the threat of indictment has vanished and is clear to run.

He’s with her. Bernie Sanders effectively ended his underdog campaign on July 12 when he, for the first time, publicly endorsed Hillary for President.  The Clinton camp had to concede several left-leaning issues contained in the Democratic Platform to basically win the peace.  Had she not, Sanders and his followers would have likely made some form of trouble at the upcoming Democratic National Convention with floor fights, demonstrations and other tools to rain on Hillary’s parade.  That was never explicitly stated but the implied threat was there and Hillary complied with the majority of Sanders’ demands.

Then there was the worry that Sanders would launch a third party campaign (after all, he's not a true Democrat), which would doom Hillary's chances for sure.
With their joint rally in Portsmouth, NH where the endorsement took place, those circumstances have been obviated.  The hope is that Bernie’s supporters would now work for or at least vote for Clinton in the fall.  It’s not clear that will happen among some Sanders hold-outs. But with Bernie on board, Hillary will not feel compelled to choose a running mate to the left of her, such as Sen. Sherrod Brown or Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to appease the enthusiastic Sanders backers.  She could now select a running mate based on other factors that are more comfortable to her.

Donald Trump.  The third lucky star is Hillary’s opponent, Donald Trump.  Without going into the myriad reasons of how a Trump presidency would be a disaster on so many levels, Hillary lucked out by drawing an opponent even more disliked than her.  Her trustworthiness polling is alarmingly low for a presidential contender and her negatives among voters are high, except Trump’s are even higher.  Once an opinion is formed about trustworthiness, it is near impossible to reverse that.  And the email matter did not help.  #hocopolitics

photo courtesy of theduran.com
For his part, Trump is doing everything possible to help Hillary.  Every day, it seems, he opens his mouth and bad things come out of it.  He reinforces the narrative Hillary has embarked on that he does not have the temperament, experience or skill set to be Commander-in-Chief.  Trump’s bullying antics on Twitter and at rallies, the juvenile name-calling, the oversimplification of complex issues, his gross narcissism, and bigoted pronouncements render him a scary choice.  It’s hard to say if any other GOP candidate would have defeated Hillary because many of them had their own flaws.
Even with a fractured Republican Party heading into the convention and what seems to be a relatively unified Democratic party bolstered by the support of President Obama and other Dem leaders as well as Sanders, the race seems too close for comfort at this point.

There is much more ahead with the conventions, the VP picks, the debates, the long campaign, and unexpected events that are sure to transpire between now and November that will determine the final outcome.
Regardless, Hillary Clinton should definitely thank these lucky stars for at least being in the game.

1 comment:

edblisa said...

To vote for one or the other is voting for the lesser of 2 evils, which is a pretty horrible scenario. There is no easy answer.