Well, there are at least a few potential answers to Chuck Todd’s question on Morning Joe today:
- Hillary Clinton is a terrible strategist.
- They’re not sure the server will stay blank.
- The Clintons think they’re above the law.
- They assumed the media would give them cover and blame Republicans for being mean to them in the past.
- All of the above.
Frankly, I’m leaning toward 5, with a special emphasis on 1 and 4. Turning over the server at this late date, and at the threat of a subpoena or search warrant, will “now do nothing for her politically,” Todd explains, “nothing to sort of get rid of the taint that they were looking for something to hide. Instead, it looks like they are reluctantly cooperating with an investigation.” And cooperating is a relative term here, too:
“And oh by the way, it’s blank!” Todd mocks the Clinton team, to laughter from the panel. “They could have done this six months ago.” Matt Lewis laughs off the idea that Republicans are attacking Hillary, when it’s the Obama administration’s DoJ, FBI, and IGs that are demanding access to the server and answers for her decisions.
Mika Brzezinski and Huffington Post’s Sam Stein both reject the Team Hillary charge that all of this is “nonsense.” The two reasons for Hillary to make that choice, Stein notes, is either to use her office for political gain or to thwart the Freedom of Information Act. Needless to say, no one on this panel was buying the Jennifer Palmieri spin.
Neither is the American public. Even before the FBI got the server and found that it had been wiped, a Monmouth poll found a majority of Americans want a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton over the e-mail scandal:
A majority of American voters are not particularly suspicious of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account when she was Secretary of State. Still, most support a criminal investigation of those emails for the potential release of classified material. The Monmouth University Poll also measured voter opinion of several presidential candidates before last week’s GOP debate, finding Clinton and Donald Trump with the highest negative ratings among independent voters.
Just over half (51%) of registered voters feel that Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account during her time as Secretary of State was mainly a matter of convenience compared to 38% who say this behavior suggests she has something to hide. Most Democrats (80%) say it was a matter of convenience, while most Republicans (68%) say she has something to hide. Independents are split – 48% say it was out of convenience and 41% say it suggests she may be hiding something.
Even though most voters feel Clinton’s intentions may have been acceptable, a majority (52%) say that her emails should be subject to a criminal investigation for the potential release of classified material. Another 41% say the emails should not be subject to this type of investigation. Most Republicans (82%) and a majority of independents (54%) support an investigation, while two-thirds (66%) of Democrats are opposed.
Independents want a criminal probe by a 54/38 margin. Even 23% of Democrats want a criminal probe. That’s not exactly a great position for a supposed coronation candidate in a major party, which is why Democrats are starting to hit the panic button.
At the same time, Hillary’s favorables have dropped to … 38%. Her unfavorable ratings were second-worst in the poll, at 48% (Donald Trump got 54%). Two months ago in the same series, Hillary was at 41/44, which means she’s dropped seven points in the gap in just two months.
Todd’s question can just as easily be directed at Democrats, too. This danger has been obvious for six months, and yet the only options the party has produced in case of a Hillary collapse is septuagenarians like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the latter of which isn’t even a Democrat but a Socialist. I’d list five possible reasons for that faceplant, but let’s just assume the answer there is All Of The Above, too.