Two thumbs on two scales

Hillary Clinton’s sense of entitlement to the presidency seems to pervade her candidacy in more ways than I thought. When I first wrote of this sense of entitlement, I was relying heavily on her behavior in the 2008 campaign “when she delayed long past the point of plausibility a concession that Barack Obama had won a majority of delegates for the Democratic Party nomination.”[1] My sense was and is that she just thinks it’s her turn to be president.

“I want to see someone who, like, has the fervor to fight for me,” Anna Schierenbeck said. A woman will be elected president “pretty soon” anyway, she said, regardless of what happens in 2016. Why does that woman have to be Mrs. Clinton?[2]

I’m actually inclined to share older women’s sense of urgency about electing a woman as president.[3] Women have waited a very long time and tolerated an awful lot on a path from chattels to a yet-to-be-realized equality.

But as I have written before, Clinton is a terrible candidate. The controversy over her use of a personal email server while serving as Secretary of State has not gone away: “The intelligence community is standing by its conclusion that two emails sent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contained information classified ‘Top Secret’ at the time it was sent,”[4] which means, first, that there are likely more to be found, and second, that a decision not to prosecute, given that the messages don’t even need to be ‘Top Secret,’ and that there have been lots of messages found whose content should have been considered confidential,[5] will be suspect. That’s one thumb on the scales of justice.

Then there’s a tiff over the Sanders campaign accessing the Clinton campaign’s data on a Democratic National Committee system made available to both (all Democratic?) campaigns. The Committee responded by immediately cutting off the Sanders campaign’s access, apparently in violation of its own rules, which prompted a lawsuit by the Sanders campaign.[6] The Committee backed off, alleging that its investigation continues,[7] but for many on the left, this is only more evidence that the Committee has a thumb on the scales in the primary contest for Clinton. This suspicion had been prompted by a debate schedule, which accommodated Clinton campaign requests, that some believe shields Clinton from scrutiny.[8]

Fig. 1. Ted Rall, December 19, 2015, fair use.

Clinton’s candidacy simply does not make sense. While the Democratic Party establishment may well succeed in throwing her the nomination, she isn’t likable enough to attract enthusiasm in the general election.

“Her challenge remains the same as it always has been — show voters who she is and reveal the person beneath the candidate,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public policy at Princeton University. “To win people’s trust and to generate enthusiasm, she has to let some of her character come out.”[9]

Even if she doesn’t face charges for mishandling classified e-mails, recent so-called ‘terrorist’ attacks only amplify voter concerns about national security.[10] And she continues to be a Wall Street favorite, collecting large donations from a class many blame for the financial crisis and widening social inequality.[11]

But on top of this, anyone who remembers the hysteria about Hillary Clinton during her husband’s presidency should surely connect that with the invective hurled at Barack Obama. We’re not hearing about Clinton’s weaknesses so much right now because she holds such a commanding lead in the Democratic contest and because the Republican contest is attracting so much attention.[12] If, as appears highly probable, she is indeed the nominee, once the Republicans unite behind their candidate, conservatives will savage her at least as severely as they did Obama.

But Clinton has—or is at least counting on—two thumbs on two scales. Which, for me, means that Clinton’s sense of entitlement guarantees a Republican victory.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Just sayin’,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2015,
  2. [2]Amy Chozick and Yamiche Alcindor, “Moms and Daughters Debate Gender Factor in Hillary Clinton’s Bid,” New York Times, December 12, 2015,
  3. [3]Amy Chozick and Yamiche Alcindor, “Moms and Daughters Debate Gender Factor in Hillary Clinton’s Bid,” New York Times, December 12, 2015,
  4. [4]Josh Gerstein, “Intelligence agencies say 2 Clinton emails were ‘top secret,’ but one is no longer,” Politico, December 15, 2015,
  5. [5]Rachael Bade, “FBI steps up interviews in Clinton email probe,” Politico, November 10, 2015,; Rachael Bade and Josh Gerstein, “Hillary Clinton camp: Email ‘thumb drive is secure’,” Politico, July 30, 2015,; Bill Curry, “This is why Hillary’s losing: The issue Jeb Bush and Donald Trump understand, which may keep Clinton from the White House,” Salon, July 26, 2015,; Ken Dilanian, “Investigators found classified information in Clinton’s email, but what does that mean?,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 31, 2015,; Josh Gerstein, “Intelligence agencies say 2 Clinton emails were ‘top secret,’ but one is no longer,” Politico, December 15, 2015,; Josh Gerstein and Nick Gass, “Clinton’s email woes deepen as classified messages pile up,” Politico, September 30, 2015,; Evan Halper, “Federal investigators want Justice Department probe of Hillary Clinton emails,” Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2015,; Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, and Carol D. Leonnig, “Tech company: No indication that Clinton’s e-mail server was ‘wiped’,” Washington Post, September 13, 2015,; Mark Hensch, “Poll: Majority believe Clinton lied about emails,” Hill, August 14, 2015,; Annie Karni, “Allies fault Hillary Clinton’s response on emails,” Politico, August 19, 2015,; Anita Kumar, Marisa Taylor, and Greg Gordon, “‘Top Secret’ emails found as Clinton probe expands to key aides,” McClatchy, August 11, 2015,; Trevor Timm, “Sorry, Hillary Clinton fans: her email errors are definitely newsworthy,” Guardian, August 1, 2015,; Jonathan Turley, “Clinton: ‘Pretty Clear’ No Emails Were Classified Despite Contrary Findings Of Inspector General,” July 26, 2015,; Jonathan Turley, “The State Department Flags More Than 300 Clinton Emails As Possibly Classified,” August 18, 2015,
  6. [6]Christian Drake, “New Information Shows DNC Violated Its Own Rules When It Shut Down Sanders Campaign Data Access,” Addicting Info, December 19, 2015,; Ben Kamisar, “Sanders sues Democratic Party,” Hill, December 18, 2015,; Caitlin Yilek, “Ex-Obama adviser: DNC ‘putting finger on scale’ for Hillary,” Hill, December 18, 2015,
  7. [7]Jessica Taylor, “DNC Restores Sanders Campaign’s Access To Voter Files After Data Breach,” National Public Radio, December 19, 2015,; John Wagner, Abby Phillip, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Accord reached after Sanders sues the DNC over suspended access to critical voter list,” washington Post, December 18, 2015,
  8. [8]Jonathan Easley, “Dem rivalry takes nasty turn,” Hill, December 19, 2015,; Lauren McCauley, “Thumb on the Scale? DNC Backs Off Bernie But Questions of Neutrality Linger,” Common Dreams, December 19, 2015,; Greg Sargent, “The DNC needs to restore Bernie Sanders’ access to voter data — fast,” Washington Post, December 18, 2015,
  9. [9]Amie Parnes, “Hillary Clinton’s likability problem,” Hill, December 2, 2015,
  10. [10]Jonathan Martin and Dalia Sussman, “Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll,” New York Times, December 10, 2015,
  11. [11]Patrick Healy, “Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary Clinton,” New York Times, November 21, 2015,
  12. [12]Albert R. Hunt, “Clinton’s Weaknesses Are Hidden by Republican Disarray,” Bloomberg, November 22, 2015,

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