By a wide majority, Americans do not like, do not trust and would prefer to have different candidates running for the presidency. Tomorrow could be a national day of mourning when Americans go to the polls to elect the next president. Both candidates are profoundly flawed. And a good bet is that no matter who is elected, the next president stands a chance of being impeached and possibly convicted and removed from office.
About flaws, Hillary Clinton’s are dramatically exposed by two of the people closest to her. Donald Trump is his own best detractor and his own words are the most damning indictment of why he is not fit to be president. Yet, one of these two will move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20th, 2017.
E-mails from John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s re-election campaign, are extraordinarily powerful reasons for why the former First Lady should remain at her New York home in Chappaqua. Podesta complains that Clinton and her team thought “they could get away with” not disclosing the existence of a private e-mail server that many believe broke the law. More searing was Clinton backer Neera Tanden’s conclusion that Mrs. Clinton had “bad instincts.” Do Americans want a president with “bad instincts” who believes he or she can get away with anything?
“Fact checkers” report that over three quarters of statements made by Donald Trump are wrong, false or outright lies. The infamous Billy Bush-Donald Trump video in which Trump brags about his celebrity status giving him the power to grab a woman’s genitals is tame when compared with interviews taped by biographer Michael D’Antonio and released by the New York Times. Do Americans want a narcissistic, egotistical, often delusional person who is unfamiliar with truth and fact in the White House?
But one of these two will become the 46th president of the United States. The most important question is what happens after noon on January 20th? If Mrs. Clinton wins, and irrespective of who controls both houses of Congress, Republicans will begin re-investigating her e-mails, because of the stunning announcement of FBI director James Comey on October 28th that his agency discovered 650,000 possibly related e-mails on the computer of sex offender and ex-House of Representatives member Anthony Weiner, now separated from his wife and Clinton’s closest confidante Huma Abedin.
Clinton will be engaged in legal battles almost from day one. Republicans will also be investigating the Clinton Foundation for wrong doing in co-mingling Bill Clinton’s personal business activities and alleged “pay for play” when Hillary was Secretary of State. That Bill Clinton’s former aide Douglas Band, who was very well compensated for lining Clinton’s pockets with huge fees, called this “Clinton Inc.” is a telling though not dispositive indictment.
Should Donald become the nation’s chief executive, his docket will be filled with legal problems. The fraud trial against Trump University will be underway and Trump may be required to testify. Imagine if the plaintiffs win and President Trump is found guilty of fraud. That other women may come forward to sue Trump over sexual misconduct is not out of the question.
But the ticking time bomb will be in Trump’s tax returns. Given the extensive nature of his business activities, the likelihood of potential conflicts of interest is exceedingly high especially involving foreign entities. Turning the Trump organization over to his children rather than to a blind trust will cause law enforcement officials to examine these and other business relationships that may be an order of magnitude damaging than revelations about Clinton Inc.
Of course, these prospects do not include the massive issues and challenges facing the next president domestically and internationally that are as difficult as at any time since the end of the Cold War. And forming a new administration cannot be assumed to be a done deal, probably taking months. Having a president bogged down with legal matters will not be helpful.
Should Hillary Clinton win, this will be the first time a husband and wife held that office. The downside could be that she might share another first—the first husband and wife presidents to be impeached by the Senate.
Because Donald Trump is indifferent to or ignorant of law and fact, the chances are not nil that if he is impeached, he will be convicted by the House and removed from office. But no matter who wins, these flaws will not send the right person into the Oval Office.