Leaked emails will poi­son Clin­ton’s pres­i­dency

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Jonah Gold­berg is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices. Jonah Gold­berg The Na­tional Re­view

Some­times you can’t just plan for the ball; you have to plan for the hang­over, too. No mat­ter how 2016 ends, there will be a headache that haunts the coun­try for years to come.

Let’s start with the most ob­vi­ous but less likely sce­nario: Don­ald Trump wins the pres­i­dency in per­haps the big­gest black swan event in the history of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Whether you think Trump’s pres­i­dency would be an un­fold­ing dis­as­ter of bi­b­li­cal pro­por­tions (“The Po­tomac! It’s turned to blood!”), or the un­fold­ing of a bi­b­li­cal prophecy to save Amer­ica (“The Win­ning! So. Much. Win­ning!”) or some­thing in be­tween, no one can deny the enor­mous change it would rep­re­sent, and the hos­til­ity and fear it would likely elicit from var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions and con­stituen­cies, par­tic­u­larly the news me­dia, but also Hol­ly­wood, higher ed­u­ca­tion, our NATO al­lies, unions, left-wing ac­tivists and per­haps even Wall Street, the Pen­tagon and much of the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy.

For­tu­nately, Don­ald Trump has the Lin­col­nesque qual­i­ties of po­lit­i­cal sub­tlety, mag­na­nim­ity and fore­sight to quell any such mis­giv­ings.

There’s no need to dwell on that sce­nario right now, as Trump seems poised for the worst show­ing by a GOP nom­i­nee since Barry Gold­wa­ter’s drub­bing in 1964. But a Trump de­feat might carry quite a wal­lop as well. Over the last few days, as he’s be­gun to re­al­ize that he’s self-sab­o­taged a winnable race, Trump has taken to claim­ing that any loss will be the re­sult of a “rigged elec­tion.” When his sur­ro­gates, in­clud­ing run­ning mate Mike Pence, Rudy Gi­u­liani and Newt Gin­grich, in­sisted Trump was merely com­plain­ing about hos­tile me­dia cov­er­age, Trump ran to Twit­ter to in­sist that, no, no, many “polling places” are rigged too. Trump never misses an op­por­tu­nity to hu­mil­i­ate those who would try to save him from him­self.

Trump’s strat­egy makes no sense in terms of cob­bling to­gether a win­ning elec­toral coali­tion, but it is a cyn­i­cally savvy way of lock­ing in mar­ket share for what may be his next ven­ture: a me­dia em­pire de­signed to fan the flames of cyn­i­cism, para­noia and alien­ation for the pop­ulist forces fuel­ing his pres­i­den­tial bid. If that hap­pens, one can ex­pect the feud­ing on the right to con­tinue.

All of this has got­ten a lot more at­ten­tion than the equally in­evitable headaches a Clin­ton vic­tory will en­tail.

Dur­ing the Cold War, the Rus­sians mas­tered the use of slowact­ing poi­sons to kill vic­tims long after they were stabbed with an um­brella tip. Fit­tingly, the Wik­iLeaks emails may act like ricin or an­thrax, wreak­ing havoc on Clin­ton’s pres­i­dency long after they’re re­leased. In a nor­mal elec­tion year with a nor­mal GOP nom­i­nee, the Wik­iLeaks rev­e­la­tions might prove fa­tal to Clin­ton’s can­di­dacy. In­stead, it seems al­most a sure thing that they will poi­son Clin­ton’s pres­i­dency for years to come. The al­le­ga­tions of pay-for-play be­tween her foun­da­tion and the State De­part­ment, her speeches to Wall Street, the an­i­mos­ity of some of her clos­est ad­vis­ers for Catholics: All of th­ese things will have a long half-life. As will her man­i­fest lies about the use of her pri­vate server.

The pop­ulist San­ders-War­ren wing of the Demo­cratic Party has been given ample ev­i­dence to sup­port their sus­pi­cions of Clin­ton as a con­niv­ing and cyn­i­cal politi­cian. The pop­ulist Trump wing of the Repub­li­can Party — and large swaths of the rest of it — is al­ready locked into the be­lief that Clin­ton is a sin­gu­larly ne­far­i­ous force in our pol­i­tics. If elected, she will have ful­filled the only man­date that unites large num­bers of vot­ers: She’s not Trump.

Right now, and for the fore­see­able fu­ture, Amer­ica is be­ing torn asun­der by pop­ulist pas­sions on the left and right that lead peo­ple to dis­trust nearly ev­ery ma­jor in­sti­tu­tion in this coun­try.

For­tu­nately, Hil­lary Clin­ton has the Lin­col­nesque qual­i­ties of po­lit­i­cal sub­tlety, mag­na­nim­ity and fore­sight to quell any such mis­giv­ings, right?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.