My colleague Scott McKay’s prediction that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will become the Democrats’ white knight after Hillary Clinton’s campaign collapses under the weight of her own misdeeds seems less of a longshot today than just a few weeks ago.
But despite the worsening stream of news — a trickle from the slowly cracking dam of bureaucrats and co-conspirators and media hacks shielding Americans from understanding the fullness of her malfeasance — McKay assumes something I don’t: that an indicted Mrs. Clinton would necessarily be unable to garner or maintain the Democratic nomination.
Late night comedy hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel are covering Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail scandal — and a true scandal it is — more than “mainstream” news outlets are. Indeed, as the Media Research Center noted, none of the “big three” (ABC, CBS and NBC) covered the January 19th news that Hillary’s e-mail server contained, as Fox News’s Catherine Herridge put it, “intelligence from the U.S. government’s most secretive and highly classified programs.”
This means that Democrats, more likely to consume news from liberal-minded media organizations, are less aware of the seriousness of the situation than Republicans are. Still, it’s a big enough story that they cannot be ignorant of it, not least because it has come up repeatedly in Democratic debates.
Hillary’s socialist competitor, the strangely likable Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, continues to do her the enormous political favor of downplaying the scandal, beginning with his assertion in a CNN-hosted debate in October that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”
Hillary attempts to minimize the seriousness of her criminal negligence by asserting that she is “100% confident” that the investigation will find no wrongdoing on her part. And in true Clinton style, just in case her confidence is misplaced, she wants us all to believe that the investigation itself as well as news leaks about it are all part of the famed “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Brian Fallon, a Clinton spokesman, told Bloomberg News that “it’s completely fair to suspect that the intelligence community inspector general is not operating in good faith.” Actually, Brian, it’s not.
The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, I. Charles McCullough, III, is a former member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, a former Special Assistant United States Attorney, and was appointed to his current post in 2011 by President Obama. Doesn’t that sound like just the sort of person to politicize a national security investigation? I didn’t think so.
But here’s the thing: Democrats in large measure buy the Clinton spin, engaging in what Hillary herself might call a “willing suspension of disbelief.”
As recently as November, before the latest bombshell but after more than enough information had come out to convince an unbiased observer that Hillary’s stories about her homebrew server are a pack of lies, a Quinnipiac University poll showed 68 percent of Democrats believing that “Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy.” (Ninety-four percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Independents disagreed.)
Within the past month, a Pew Research poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters showed nearly two-thirds believing that Mrs. Clinton would be a good or excellent president. When Republicans were asked the same question about each of the GOP candidates, not a single one reached the same “good/excellent” expectation that Democrats, turning two blind eyes toward the glaring flaws of judgment and character within their party’s only serious contender, have for Mrs. Clinton.
Democrats may also be giving Hillary some wiggle room because of their desire to elect the first woman president, forgetting that electing another “historic first” in 2008 hasn’t worked out too well for this country — or any other, excepting perhaps Iran and Russia.
There is something special about the Democratic mind, something so impervious to facts and removed from reality — especially economic reality — something so pre-programmed and mindless, that a Clinton rally or town hall, as sparsely attended as it might be, reminds one more of a scene from I, Robot or Sound of my Voice than of cognitively functional human beings processing actual information.
This cult-like aspect of Hillary Clinton’s support, aided by a compliant media, is a powerful shield protecting her presidential aspirations from news that would doom most candidates. (Bernie Sanders’ support, much of which has been siphoned from Hillary’s tank, is arguably even more cult-like but he didn’t risk national security for “convenience” or to protect the public from his yoga schedule.)
This is Hillary’s last chance to run for president so she will not drop out voluntarily, whether or not an indictment proceeds from an FBI criminal referral. If she loses in November, it won’t matter because there is no chance she will serve time in prison even if convicted. If she wins, she can, as Marco Rubio only half-jokingly suggested, pardon herself.
Despite current polls and his early success in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democrats will not nominate Bernie Sanders — though I wish they would. Furthermore, short of Hillary’s being unable to campaign because she is wearing an orange pants suit in Leavenworth, it is inconceivable that the Democratic National Committee would dare disqualify and replace the first female nominee for president.
Therefore, Mrs. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee — and stay as such all the way through the presidential election — even if she is indicted for multiple felony and misdemeanor violations of laws that protect national security and critical intelligence-gathering operations.
Through one damning news report after another, through one incredible denial and excuse and recrimination after another, Democrats are stuck with Hillary Clinton and there is no plausible opening for Michael Bloomberg (or Joe Biden) as either a third party or Democratic candidate.
The only important question remaining in 2016, particularly after Marco Rubio’s spectacular New Hampshire debate implosion, is whether Republicans will nominate a man who can beat a “historic,” even if terribly flawed, Democrat.