Hillary’s Growing Trust Problem
Washington (DC): As kids watch television, the snippets from Trump’s speech roll by showing him spouting things like, “I can stand on the middle of the Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I still won’t lose any voters…” and finally Clinton appears to put her message straight,“our actions should make our kids proud of us”. This is the Clinton’s “Role Models” advert against Trump.
Clinton has spent nearly $82 million on campaign ads, both negative and positive, so far. Her campaign has been able to attract voters that undecided or disappointed with Trump, but do Clinton backers really love and trust her to be the best choice to lead the United States? Or is it that they are bending toward her because they have to pick one?
According to the recent CNN/ORC polls, Clinton tops Trump by a 47 percent to 42 percent margin in the race for the presidency. The percentage has grown after the national conventions of both the parties, but is it because the voters were scared of the Trump’s policies more than they believed in Clinton’s plans? The polls suggest the former: Asked if Clinton is honest and trustworthy, only 34 percent of the participants said yes, while 64 percent said no.
Clinton was successful to consolidate the democratic vote, unlike Trump, who is facing a tough time uniting the party behind him. She deserves the credit of systematic deliberations with her party opponent Bernie Sanders, though she is still facing challenges in making Bernie backers support her. Nevertheless, this is her strength. Obama endorsed her. He even criticized Trump as “unfit for presidency”.
All this helps Clinton build trust among voters, but there are also issues that act to dissolve that trust. Clinton with the Democratic Party behind her is a trust builder. Clinton by herself is not likely so. Her past lies encumber her journey of trust: Clinton’s email scandal, lurking around at this crucial juncture of elections, criticisms of dereliction in the Benghazi fiasco, or allegations on Clinton Foundation of quid-pro-quo at the time when Hillary Clinton was state secretary raised too many questions to which Clinton failed to provide satisfactory answers, and even lied at times.
In the case of email scandal, her usage of personal email account for her work related emails while she was the secretary of the state is beyond the regulations of her duty. Her defense that she didn’t send or forward any of the classified emails proved to be a lie, making the episode even more dangerous to her credibility.
On top of that, the recent Democratic National Convention email hack and the subsequent release of personal emails of the house democrats dispelled confusion and mistrust among voters against Clinton and the convention. Trump readily jumped to show the whole hack episode as evidence that DNC leadership had rigged for Clinton and against Bernie Sanders. He tweeted, “Rigged system is live& well”.
Another arrow against Clinton in Trump’s arsenal that raises doubts on her honesty among voters is her campaign financing. Trump used every occasion to accuse her methods of fundraising. The majority of Clinton’s funds came from only 20 prominent donors and “they own her”, he said at every opportunity he got, juxtaposing his own financing that mostly depended on campaign donations.
With all these trust busters surrounding her, and not much change to offer other than the continuation of Obama’s policies of his last two terms, Clinton is definitely facing the brunt of the credibility crisis,which she has to address strategically before who knows some favorable winds suddenly make Trump powerful enough to surpass her in the elections.