Just when you thought 2016 couldn’t get any crazier….
I feel like this is a sentence I have written on a number of occasions this year and will probably write a few more times between now and November 8.
By now, you have all heard about Hillary Clinton’s email story thrusting itself back into the news this afternoon. To me, what transpired when and after the news broke summed up everything that is wrong with our politics today.
The tsunami started with this tweet from Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee:
As you can see, he told the entire political world that the FBI was reopening their investigation in Clinton’s private email server; an investigation that concluded in early July with FBI Director James Comey faulting Clinton’s carelessness with classified information but not recommending any criminal charges.
Except, not really. Instead, the FBI Director stated in a letter to Congress they were reviewing some emails that may be pertinent to the previous investigation due to the discovery of emails that were discovered in an investigation into a separate case. The letter went on to say the FBI could not assess whether the material is significant or not and whether it contained classified information.
Put in context, what Mr. Chaffetz said is simply not true. If this were contained to Jason Chaffetz and right wing media circles, it would be one thing. Instead, the entire media world ran with the headline and it spread like a wildfire.
Thanks to NBC’s Pete Williams’s reporting, we found out as the afternoon went on that it had nothing to do with WikiLeaks or the Russian hacks. Williams also reported that the emails Comey and the FBI are looking into were not withheld by Clinton or her campaign; leading the FBI correct reporters and say their background of the story was not correct.
Once again our media does a bang up job. Instead of looking further into the tweet from a partisan Congressman, they just ran with the sensationalist headline because clicks and ratings.
Seriously, it is mind blowing how some of these people are so bad at their jobs.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, we later found out the FBI discovered these emails while looking into Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal and the illicit messages he sent to a 15 year-old girl. More than 1,000 emails were found on a laptop used by both Weiner and his estranged wife, and top aide to Mrs. Clinton, Huma Abedin. Some emails were between Abedin and Clinton.
That’s right. Former Congressman, Mayoral candidate, and current scumbag Anthony Weiner’s insatiable need to send pictures of his dick to underage girls, and other people, might help Donald Trump win the White House because of course it might.
Only in 2016 could these stories connect with each other 11 days before an election.
I am not, by any means, defending Clinton here. I have never defended her when it comes to this story. So now is a good time to say, again, this wouldn’t be an issue if she didn’t make the stupid decision to set the private email server up in the first place.
There are a number of things I like about Hillary Clinton. She is smart, tough as nails, and pragmatic. I think she would be a good and very effective president. But despite these qualities, this is why I was not happy about other Democrats clearing the field for her this year. I voted for Clinton because, in my opinion, there weren’t any other appealing options in the Democratic field.
Using a private email server fed into a narrative of dishonesty, untrustworthiness, and a sense among many that she feels the rules do not apply to her. And even though this may turnout to be a big nothingburger, the fact it is in the news again will only do damage to Clinton. So regardless of what comes from this, the timing of it, or how our incompetent media bungled the story, Clinton deserves a lionshare of the blame here because she is the one who set this thing up in the first place. There will never be a good defense for that initial decision.
Clinton and her campaign are holding out hope that a) opinions about her use of a private email server are already baked into the cake, as many have suggested, or b) the story morphs into how horrible of a human being Anthony Weiner is.
We’ll see if option b comes to fruition. In terms of whether or not minds are already made up about her emails? I think there is a lot of truth to this. Polls show the American people already think she broke the law by using a private server and yet she is still leading in the polls by a fairly comfortable margin.
That being said, the last time this story dominated the headlines like this in July, her poll numbers dropped and didn’t recover until the Democratic National Convention a few weeks later.
If a similar result occurs, the question is how much they will drop. Millions of Americans have already voted and the numbers, so far, look promising for Mrs. Clinton in a number of swing states. So the damage may be limited.
Or, a number of Democrats who backed her, but weren’t crazy about it decide to stay home or vote third party. Any significant drop in Democratic turnout could swing the election, especially if Republicans continue to come home to Donald Trump as they have over the last week.
Chances of that happening are not great, but they’re not insignificant. The major worry for Democrats should be the down ballot races, especially when it comes to the Senate. Now, every GOP candidate can run on the message of holding Hillary Clinton accountable as president. They were doing this anyway, but the email story being back in the news breathes some new life into the message.
What the Clinton campaign does have working in their favor is that Donald Trump is still the opponent and he has a way of putting her controversies on the back burner by creating his own. And it is very likely another oppo research bomb or two will drop on Mr. Trump over the next 11 days; either as a result of leaked tapes or of his own doing.
All of this is the culmination of a partisan and dishonest Congressman, a media more interested in clicks than facts or context, an awful human being with such a lack of self control he sent lewd pictures to a minor, a major party nominee starting it all with horrible judgement, who might be saved by virtue of facing an opponent who has insulted and alienated just about every demographic group in America, lied about charitable donations, defrauded students through a fake university, brags about groping women, and has been accused by multiple women of groping and sexual assault.
If this doesn’t capture the theme of 2016 and everything awful it represents, I don’t know what does.
11 more days until this is over. I am counting the seconds as we speak.