If Hillary Clinton wants to maintain a bunker mentality until Election Day, I would suggest switching courses. She hides while Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” for months—bad move. With the latest State Department Inspector General report that the former first lady had violated the Federal Records Act, Clinton is keeping away from the press. Her campaign maintains that she did nothing wrong, though the facts don’t hold up with that narrative. Moreover, it seems to be impacting her stance with young women voters, who have flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, since they think that her private email system showed that she was “reckless,” not accountable for her actions, and played by her own rules. The latter is a throwback to the criticisms lobbed against couple in the 1990s.
Last week, NBC News’ Chris Jansing sat down with a focus group of women voters, who pretty much savaged the former Secretary of State over her email fiasco.
“I take national security really seriously and the idea that she would have a private email server—it demonstrates someone who thinks they’re outside of the rules and not accountable. And it’s reckless,” said an undecided voter, who served in the Air Force for six years.
“Exactly,” responded another female voter in the group.
The Air Force veteran continued by saying, “the most disappointing part about all of it is that I don’t feel like she’s taken responsibility for it.”
“When people are in positions of power, they have a responsibility and a duty, to make sure that what they do is transparent. And the entire problem with this email server issue is that she’s [Clinton] not being transparent,” said another voter.
A Clinton supporter read the usual lines, like how other secretaries of state have done this, but also—in a bit of a stretch—said that Bernie supporters should view this email controversy as a criminalization of Clinton. And that Sanders’ supporters should see how these actions are somewhat in conflict with the Vermont Senator’s message of overcriminalization and criminal justice reform. The rest of the focus group roundly rejected that point.
The Air Force veteran concluded the segment by saying, it [the email server] speaks to her character…I want someone who I can trust, who I think has a character that is credible, and that I’m going to believe what that person says to me.”
After taking into account all of the exit polls from past primary contests, women voters under the age of 30 split for Sanders 68/31 over Clinton. Jansing said that this group looks at this election as an existential crisis, noting that many have student loans and want to start families.
It also proves that women are not monolithic in their voting behavior, which is a trap that many Democrats fall into when assessing the strength of their coalition. They obviously want someone who has a good character, who would be held accountable, and who does not consider themselves above the rules. That’s not Hillary Clinton.
A NBC News/WSJ poll showed that 19 percent of voters found Clinton as trustworthy and honest, while only 35 percent felt the same for Donald Trump. They’re very low numbers, but as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki noted—twice as many voters felt Trump was more sincere. Moreover, what the Clinton supporter in the focus group left out, and what Kornacki referenced, was that the State Department was never approached by the Clinton team over setting up this sort of email arrangement, and even if she did—it probably wouldn’t have been approved. Maybe that’s why “liar” is one of the most popular words used to describe Clinton.
Oh, and she doesn’t get it.