OPINION – The standard-bearers for the Republican and Democratic parties continue to bewilder the voting public.
The two presumptive nominees continue to bumble and stumble their way towards the conventions, which should provide even more shock and awe as the parties officially anoint their candidates.
That’s why I feel we are saddled by the worst presidential slate in modern history.
Going into these conventions, I can still make a valid argument that neither presumptive nominee will be on the ballot come November. Certainly, from a personal standpoint, it would be an agreeable resolution to Election 2016.
While Donald Trump ambled along in the muck, his latest faux pas, of course, a Tweet taking a jab at Hillary Clinton with his key barb printed over a Jewish Star of David, Clinton was once again the victim of her husband, who chose to hold his private jet on the tarmac in Phoenix so he could hop aboard Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s plane for a friendly chat.
It was a stupid move and one that, depending on what he actually said during that conversation, could be an actual crime, unlike what Hillary Clinton’s detractors are trying to dredge up.
Her behavior in this matter, may reveal bad judgment and arrogance, but as far as the law is concerned, she probably did nothing illegal when using her private email server. At least that is how it went when Secretary Colin Powell did the same thing from 2001 through 2005 when he served the George W. Bush administration. There were some sideways glances in his direction, but nobody investigated him or questioned his propriety. He remains highly respected among conservatives, at least traditional, old guard conservatives. The Tea Party bunch is probably a different matter.
Hillary Clinton has freely admitted she made a mistake, had a lapse of judgment, and sat with FBI investigators for more than three hours the other day giving her side of the story.
How she responded under those circumstances will determine if she has placed herself in any kind of legal jeopardy, at least as far as the email scandal is concerned.
Was she truthful? Did she try to evade or misrepresent the facts? How often has history proven that the cover-up usually leads to more serious circumstances than an alleged crime?
We really will not know until the FBI issues its recommendation regarding prosecution.
And, in all honesty, none of us know if she compromised classified information in those emails. We are not privy to that information and for the most part, the way we fall on this matter is largely a result of our political persuasion. If you are a conservative, you believe they should lock her up and throw away the key. If you are a liberal you believe no harm, no foul, arguing that the archaic and unstable government servers posed a greater security risk than using her private email server.
Some of us are awaiting some sort of real evidence, not some kneejerk, schoolyard nonsense about “Crooked Hillary” or the defensive posturing from the left about the ordeal not being “that big of a deal” before taking sides on this matter.
But, it becomes difficult to maintain a neutral position in light of Bill Clinton’s drop-in visit with Lynch.
Lynch’s connection to Bill Clinton goes back to 1999 when he nominated her for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Now, in fairness to her, she has a reputation as an impartial prosecutor, attacking corruption on both sides, prosecuting Democrats and Republicans with equal vigor.
That’s why Bill Clinton’s insanely stupid decision to have a private, 30-minute discussion with her is off the charts and could send his wife limping into the convention, so much so that, at this moment, I would handicap her path to the nomination at about the same odds as Trump’s – 60-40. It all makes me wish Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would both just go away.
The problem for Hillary Clinton, at this point is that she is covered even more in the stench of scandal now. If no charges are brought against her, it will be looked upon as political favoritism, a cover-up orchestrated by her husband and a Democratic Party that has done itself no favors in the way it has manipulated this election season.
If charges are filed, she’s done. She won’t go to prison, but her career and clout will be history.
It leaves her in a true, no-win situation.
If she carries on with her campaign, she faces the scandal on a daily basis.
If she drops out of the race, even if she is found to have done nothing illegal, she will live with this for the rest of her days.
There is, however, a greater good to be considered, and that is the integrity of the system.
I know it is an outdated concept, but our leaders should be beyond reproach, clear of scandal, and, most of all, trusted.
Presidents should be able to travel the world negotiate with other heads of state, and be looked upon with respect by the global community, without the shadow of scandal cast upon their path.
Perhaps a bit naïve?
But, if we don’t strive for the ideal, for the very best we can achieve, then we are selling ourselves, and everybody else, short.
That’s why I also cannot give my vote to Trump, or, probably, Bernie Sanders, because even though it will be meaningless as part of the Utah tally come election day – I seriously doubt my vote will mean anything or coincide with the conservative majority – I still respect the value of my vote, the integrity of it, the importance of it.
So I am going to hang in there and see what develops.
Right now, everybody is rushing to try to resolve the various negatives in both campaigns – from fraud charges to the email scandal – before the parties gather for the conventions.
I don’t think either side will succeed at doing that at this point, which means both will convene under clouds of doubt and suspicion.
The best we can hope for is that come November, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are conspicuous by their absence from the ballot.
Although I am not a major fan of either, I would be much more comfortable with a race between Mitt Romney and Joe Biden, both of whom are quietly warming up in the bullpen. What about primary voters? To appease them they could place Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren to round out the ticket.
Will either be tapped to help their party save face?
Anything is possible in Election 2016.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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