Of course, that’s not how the news conference played out. Instead, she chose to stonewall and lie, gambling that—as a close friend and adviser told me later that spring—it doesn’t matter whether a politician is trusted.
Clinton lost the bet. The number of Americans who say they trust her steadily declined and hit a low point with the today’s New York Times poll. Sixty-seven percent of voters said she is not honest and trustworthy, more than the 62 percent who said the same of Trump. Just 28 percent of voters said they had a positive view of Clinton, according to the Times, compared with 33 percent last month.
Asked if her email practices were illegal, 46 percent of voters said yes, compared with 23 percent who said using a private server was improper but not illegal. An ABC/Washington Post survey suggests a majority of voters think Clinton should have been charged with a crime.
The collapse of her credibility was totally predictable, and totally avoidable. That makes Clinton’s actions particularly galling to Americans like me, who would never vote for Trump but who don’t want to condone her conduct; who don’t know whether they can trust her; and who now face a hard choice: Vote for Clinton, vote for a candidate outside the two-party system, or don’t vote at all.