Travelgate. Chinagate. Whitewater. Vince Foster. Filegate. Do you remember any of those? They are scandals or questionable events that involved Hillary and Bill Clinton in the past. A brief discussion of ten of them can be found here. But recently we've had more. Hillary apparently used a private email address to communicate as Secretary of State. When this emerged, she turned over 55,000 emails that should have been transmitted through her official government email but meanwhile deleted private emails from the same period. Those are gone and cannot be retrieved.
The Clinton Foundation has also been a source of controversy, due to large, questionable foreign donations. Bill Clinton's sexual escapades continue to emerge. (Most recently, his name was said to appear on the flight logs of an airplane owned by a notorious sex offender.) Hillary claimed that Bill and she were “dead broke” on leaving the White House but made millions of collars thereafter. People find that offensive. And on and on. She has continuing involvement with Wall Street monied people, and that continues to bother many Democratic voters.
If Hillary actually runs for president, all of these controversies (and more) are bound to emerge again and again. In fact, some speculate now that the email scandal may be the event that decides her not to run for president. But if she does decide, the risk is that these sorts of scandals will continue to emerge, eventually causing voters to turn away from her.
What should Democratic voters do? Their best hope is that someone else tests the waters against her.
My own hope is for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or both of them together (wouldn't that be interesting!). But even if it's just Martin O'Malley, having two names on the ballot will give the primary voters pause. Democrats want to win, and there should be significant questions whether Hillary Clinton can really make it against an electable Republican.
And which Republican would that be? There are a lot of poor prospects out there, but if the Republicans get smart and choose someone who is truly centerist, that person would have an excellent chance to beat her, given all the things that are piling up against her. Right now, that person probably is Scott Walker, because he could unite the party.
So the best strategy for the Democratic Party is to wait and see. If Hillary chooses to run, then the best hope is to have someone electable run against her. The chances are significant that during the primaries these controversies will re-emerge and cause her to lose. And then there would be that electable person to pick up the pieces.
In the end, we may have Martin O'Malley against Scott Walker. Strange but true.