Clinton Email Investigation: Assessing the Political Damage

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

A journalist recently asked me if the video showing Trump making lewd comments about women could – somehow – even end up helping Trump. And, in a similar way, I was recently asked if the FBI reopening the case about Clinton’s emails could in some miraculous way be beneficial for Clinton (in defense of the two people asking these questions: I have witnessed within campaigns people spinning the worst news as possibly beneficial). While I do think that it is sometimes possible to come out of a crisis strengthened, I don’t think this would be the case in these two examples. I don’t see how the video could help Trump, nor how the FBI investigation could help Clinton. The question is more how big and how long-lasting the damage would be. For the case of the FBI reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails, we only start to see any effect in the polls. Some observers think that it might cost her a couple of points in the surveys. Some might say that that’s not a lot, but then also, most things we do in campaigns is about a couple of points. Timing could definitely not be much worse as early-voting is already ongoing in many states. The Clinton campaign would probably try to shift focus back on Trump as soon as possible. In that sense, I was not surprised to see new allegations about Trump’s ties with Russia appearing in social media.

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