One result of Donald Trump’s imminent presidential nomination is that he will be the most prominent figure attacking Hillary Clinton on her many scandals, particularly her e-mail scandal. Though he has mentioned her e-mails before, today he shifted firmly into general-election gear, saying on a phone interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe that because of Clinton’s private e-mail server “she should not be allowed to run in the election. She should suffer like other people have suffered who have done far less than she has.”
Credible politicians have made this same point. From what we know, it looks like the FBI could have ample reason to recommend her for indictment for sending classified information on an unsecured private server.
This nonpartisan, evidence-based argument suffered a setback when Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) portrayed it as a Republican attack on the presidential campaign of the likely Democratic nominee. His blunder allowed Democrats to dismiss worries about a potential felony as partisan squabbling.
As this PR disaster begins to fade from public memory, critiques of Clinton’s private server and of her other scandals, deceit, and poor judgment will be undermined for the next six months by their main messenger: Trump. Certainly he has plenty of ammunition with which to attack Clinton. But his utter lack of credibility and his own pile of scandals could effectively diminish the seriousness of concerns about Clinton’s corruption to the level of National Enquirer tabloids and 9/11 truther conspiracy theory.
Add this to the myriad ways in which the Republican party has shot itself in the foot during this most winnable of elections.