Home Opinion Hillary Clinton: Too Little, Too Late

Hillary Clinton: Too Little, Too Late

by Montclarion Opinion
Columnist Nicholas Da Silva

Columnist Nicholas Da Silva

Although the elections for the next President of the United States do not occur until next year, I would be shocked if the road to the White House manages to get any more dramatic and scandalous than it already has. If Donald Trump is the current king of controversy in the political world, then Hillary Clinton would join him on the throne as his queen.
If you asked anyone a year ago, they would have told you that Clinton was bound to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 Presidential Elections. However, the last couple of months have seen the former Secretary of State’s status jeopardized by not so favorable revelations and poor decisions on her part.
The hard times began on March 2, when it was revealed by an article in The New York Times that Clinton used a personal email and private server during her four years as Secretary of State. The week after the news broke, Clinton tried to defend her actions claiming she had officially violated no laws.
Yet, she had only made things worse for herself by revealing that her aides had deleted over 30,000 emails which she said were “personal emails.”
This revelation has led to months of discussion and debate as to whether or not Clinton had the right to delete those emails. Clinton’s supporters claim that she committed no wrongdoing in the situation and is a simply a victim of over-classification. Her critics have argued that under the Federal Records Act, the National Archives regulations and State Department rules, a government official has no right to pick and choose what documents they feel can be preserved. In addition to the debates, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Clinton and other political officials like current Secretary of State John Kerry over the issue.
To make matters worse, this email debacle has done the opposite of Trump’s controversial campaign in that it has caused Clinton’s popularity to decline. On July 16, Associated Press released a survey showing that 39 percent of Americans viewed Clinton positively, while 49 percent of the those surveyed thought negatively of her.
Her unfavorable rating increased eight percent from the survey that Associated Press took in late April. NBC News released a poll on Aug. 3 which showed that Clinton’s popularity had dropped from 44 percent in their June survey to 37 percent in just a few months. The poll also revealed that her disapproval rating went up by eight points from 40 percent bringing her to 48 percent.
On Sept. 10, a Quinnipac University poll showed that Bernie Sanders had overtaken Clinton as Iowa’s Democratic lead with 41 percent compared to her 40 percent.
While these polls do not guarantee who will get the Democratic nomination, they should be viewed as a potential indicator for the direction the race is going to head in for at least the next month or so.
To steer the race back in her favor, Clinton tried to address the situation without officially accepting responsibility. On the same day where Clinton admitted to deleting over 30,000 personal emails, she also said that she had her staff deliver over 50,000 pages of printed emails to the State Department last December. Clinton also went to the press to explain her actions, but even that has done more harm than good. Initially, after the scandal broke, Clinton chalked up the whole incident as being a result of her desire for personal convenience.
“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account which was allowed by the State Department because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” Clinton stated. “Looking back, it would have been better if I had simply used a second email account and carried a second phone but at the time, [it] didn’t seem like an issue.”
In this statement, Clinton took a bit of heat for the incident, but did not formally state that what she did was wrong. That explanation was followed by months of Clinton using legal precedents to justify her decision. Even during an interview with NBC News on Sept. 4, where Clinton was asked if she was sorry, the embattled Democratic candidate only stated that she regretted the confusion the incident caused.
However, during an interview with ABC News on Sept. 15, Clinton finally took responsibility for her actions and admitted that it was the wrong thing to do. “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” Clinton told anchorman David Muir.
Later that day, Clinton went on her Facebook page and posted an apology. “Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department,” Clinton stated. “I could have – and should have – done a better job answering questions earlier. I’m grateful for your support.”
Even better, Clinton posted a link in the Facebook post to a page on her personal website, in which people could see frequently asked questions concerning the scandal and even read Clinton’s work-related emails. This is a step in the right direction for Clinton, but the question remains if her formal apology arrived too late in the game.
The fact that it took her six months to officially apologize for the whole debacle will cause many to doubt the sincerity of her repentance. If she really felt bad about this email controversy, why did she not go out of her way to apologize earlier? Instead of spending months trying to make excuses, an immediate apology would have saved her a lot of trouble and won back some of the public’s trust that she has lost over the past year.
Apologizing now appears to be something she is doing for the sole purpose of damage control rather than because she felt that she had made a mistake. If anything, this whole situation could have been avoided if she had used her government-appointed email address like she was supposed to.
It is going to take more than a simple apology to get the public majority to trust her again. With less than a year before the Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election is voted upon, Clinton is going to have to buckle down and do everything in her power to keep herself from repeating her 2008 Presidential run, in which she went from clear frontrunner to being left in the dust.

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