We may finally have at least an indication as to the answer to one of the big questions hanging over the 2016 election. Specifically, what happens in the event that James Comey turns over to the Justice Department a recommendation that Hillary Clinton be prosecuted on felony charges related to her mishandling of classfied material on her secret bathroom email server? And, more to the point, what happens in the extremely unlikely event that Loretta Lynch doesn’t just flush the file and actually moves to charge her? The conventional wisdom dictates that Clinton would step aside for the good of the nation (or at least the Democratic Party) and turn the nomination over to someone with at least a lower chance of needing to be sworn into office from a jail cell. But this is, after all, Hillary Clinton we’re talking about here. She might just prefer to tough it out anyway. And if this latest sets of numbers from Rasmussen is any indication, she’ll have plenty of support in that decision.
Most continue to believe likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is a lawbreaker, but half of all voters also say a felony indictment shouldn’t stop her campaign for the presidency.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think Clinton should immediately stop campaigning if she is charged with a felony in connection with her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of State. Fifty percent (50%), however, think she should continue running until a court determines her guilt or innocence…
Among Democratic voters, 71% believe Clinton should keep running, a view shared by only 30% of Republicans and 46% of voters not affiliated with either major party.
I suppose this would be shocking to hear if I hadn’t concluded long ago that Hillary Clinton’s voters would still support her even if she were caught on film feeding puppies into a burn barrel. Still, the demographic breakdown in the poll is a bit revealing. Of course, 71% of Democrats want her to stick it out, and the only reason it’s not higher is probably that some of Bernie’s supporters don’t want to see a total party collapse or a Trump presidency. 30% of Republicans also want her to keep running, but I expect that they’d rather run against someone who is more likely to lose because they’re on the way to prison.
The really puzzling part is that 65% of respondents said they, consider it likely that Clinton broke the law in relation to her email server use. The initial phrasing of the question could, were we to extend a massive benefit of the doubt, be construed to allow for respondents who feel that an allegation isn’t a conviction and she’s innocent until proven guilty, so why drop out? But a very significant majority seem to already be convinced that she would be found guilty anyway, yet they still want to see her run. It seems to me that there was a time when a felony conviction was pretty much a disqualifier for public office of any sort, and particularly when you’re talking about the leader of the free world. It likely says something about the state of American politics when the general consensus is that a little thing like this shouldn’t stop you.
What’s more, voters’ level of faith in our criminal justice system seems to be right on par with the rest of the government. Keeping in mind that 65% think she’s probably guilty, check this out. (Emphasis added)
Last August, 46% of all voters – and 24% of Democrats – said Clinton should suspend her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination until all of the legal questions about her use of the private e-mail server are resolved. But just 25% think it is even somewhat likely that Clinton will be indicted.
Sure, she may be guilty as sin, but barely a quarter of the country thinks that the Justice Department will pull the trigger and bring charges. And while this may be the saddest statement of all surrounding this question, I’m with the 75% on that one. Because nothing matters anymore.