Wounded Clinton likely to survive

Wounded Clinton likely to survive
4 min read
12 Jul, 2016
Comment: While Clinton faces a more difficult campaign due to the email scandal, her supporters are likely to stick by her, despite their disappointment, writes Roxanne Perugino
Republicans refuse to accept anything less than the outright political destruction of Clinton [Getty]

FBI Director James Comey dropped a political bombshell last week by refusing to bring charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. After going through a litany of what the FBI did in its investigation and what it found, Comey said "…although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case."

Prior to Comey's announcement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch had stated that she would "go along" with the FBI's decision and not pursue criminal charges against Clinton. Lynch's statement adds fuel to the belief held by Clinton's enemies and skeptics that the recent meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton was to ensure that Hillary Clinton would not face criminal charges. As a result, Hillary Clinton has seemingly emerged intact from yet another controversy over her ethical behavior.

Republicans however, are not so accepting of Comey's pronouncement. Immediately after his press conference, the State Department reopened its own investigation into Clinton's use of a private e-mail server.

Republicans, refusing to accept Comey's pronouncement, dragged him to Capitol Hill for a five-hour hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during which Comey's integrity was questioned by Committee Republicans.

A number of Republicans are calling for an investigation of the investigation; House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper requesting that he deny Clinton any access to classified information for the remainder of her 2016 campaign.

Republican members... refuse to accept anything less than the outright political destruction of the former Secretary of State

Seemingly no amount of special committees or unremarkable investigatory findings on the Clinton email scandal will satiate Republicans. Last week's hearing was just the latest example. Republican members, so beside themselves over what they perceive as special treatment toward Clinton, refuse to accept anything less than the outright political destruction of the former Secretary of State.

What will Republicans gain by continuing to go after Clinton? As with all things in the current bitter partisan political arena, it depends on whom you ask. Democrats will claim that Republicans have only further embarrassed themselves in what continues to be an extraordinary waste of taxpayer's money.

A number of Republicans, on the other hand, believe Comey's testimony offered the GOP some new, promising leads, enabling them to continue their crusade against Clinton right up to Election Day.

Clinton is not mortally wounded; damaged perhaps, but she will likely survive

How will Comey's decision affect Clinton's presidential campaign? While it is still early to judge the fallout - and clearly Republicans are not yet through with their campaign against Clinton - it would seem Clinton is not mortally wounded; damaged perhaps, but she will likely survive.

Still, as the presumptive Democratic candidate - one whose basic honesty is doubted by most Americans - every Clinton scandal from her days as a staffer on the Committee to Impeach Richard Nixon, to Whitewater to the State Department emails will be subject to intense scrutiny.

As David Graham of The Atlantic noted, "No other American politicians - even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush, have fostered the creations of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them." In a Rasmussen poll released in July, 54 percent of voters disagreed with the FBI's decision not to indict Clinton. Only 37 percent agreed with the FBI's conclusion.

In a Rasmussen poll released in July, 54 percent of voters disagreed with the FBI's decision not to indict Clinton

While it is true that Clinton faces a more difficult campaign brought on by the email scandal, her opponent Donald Trump has his own trust issues. He does not poll well among women, African-Americans, Latinos and Muslim Americans. His incendiary rhetoric and misstatements on any number of issues is cause for concern for many Republican voters. Recent polls have shown him trailing Clinton by as much as 10 points.

That said, other polls put the contest much closer, as close as 2 points between the two. However, the conventional wisdom among many is that, even with her trust issues, Clinton is likely to beat Trump in November.

Those voters who admire and support Clinton are likely to continue to do so, even in the face of disappointment. They will enter the voting booth on November 8 and pull the lever marked Clinton, while fervently hoping and praying she will not make mistakes as President that will further erode public trust and confidence.


Roxanne Perugino is a Legislative Policy Analyst at the Arab Center Washington DC.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.