November 4, 2016

Clinton emails return weeks before election

opinion

By Ryan Hiles–

Hillary Clinton’s private email controversy is the killer at the end of a slasher movie. You’ve hit it with a car, shoved it off a roof, lit it on fire and now you’re standing over a battered, charred body, thinking to yourself, “There, it’s finally over.”

Just as you let out a deep sigh of relief, believing you’ve avoided a slow, agonizing dismemberment, that’s when you feel the warm, clammy palm grip your ankle. That’s when you realize this will never really die.

And so it seems the Clinton emails have made yet another show-stopping appearance as this campaign’s most irrelevant, yet somehow durable, source of narrative. FBI Director James Comey told Congress the investigation was being reopened with a letter so incomprehensively vague that it essential serves as a political Rorschach test.

If you believe Hillary Clinton to be a lecherous, Machiavellian, pathological manipulator, then Friday probably felt like Christmas morning, and that letter from Comey was the Red Rider BB Gun tucked away in the corner of the room.

For voters like myself, Friday was a day characterized by confused anger. Confusion, because Comey’s letter didn’t include any allegations, or really any information at all. Anger, because as soon as I saw the cable coverage of the events unfolding, I knew what this was and how it would be interpreted. It’s not that there is anything real or tangible that Comey brought forward that scares me or makes me question Hillary’s integrity. This pit planted firmly in my stomach is there because this narrative of Hillary as fundamentally corrupt, however false or hollow, is directly fed by a story like this.

I’m not scared that this inquiry will dig up anything that multiple Congressional committees, a year-long FBI investigation and Russian hackers haven’t already dug up. I’m simply scared of the optics. I’m acutely aware that this is the kind of story that makes someone feel justified in washing their hands of the whole stinking mess and deciding that both candidates are equally flawed. And when people who find Donald Trump abhorrent forget about his galaxy of disqualifying words and actions, and decide that the other objectively competent and qualified candidate isn’t worth their time or their vote, that’s how Donald Trump wins.

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