Hillary Clinton’s email issues over her improper and perhaps illegal use of a private server in her house while serving as Secretary of State loom large over her presidential aspirations. And even though Bernie Sanders has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in Hillary Clinton’s emails, many folks and the FBI are interested. If you add the email legal issues to her likeability and trust issues which rank quite low, one might assume that she needs the help of Olivia Pope, the fictionalized character in the TV series Scandal. Coincidently, crisis management lawyer Judy Smith, the real life Olivia Pope, represented Monica Lewinsky during the Bill Clinton sex scandal. For that reason, I doubt if Clinton will be using Judy Smith. But Clinton needs a good crisis manager lawyer.
As a lawyer, I often represent clients who experience legal issues involving criminal grand jury political investigations before they are charged with a crime. Clinton needs lawyers who are not in her inner circle to guide her and assist with the legal issues and her image at this time. The people with whom we are closest often fail to accurately view and assess our flaws. And it is fool hardy for her to ignore the Email crisis and her flaws. I know Donald Trump will not be ignoring her email scandal. And regardless of whether the email issue turns out to be illegal or legal, the issue will still remain among many voters.
And with respect to her likeability and trust issues, a recent Huffington Post article stated that Clinton’s “so-called likeability problem is our issue not hers.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Clinton is running for president and not the other way around–with the voters. While she may not be able to wipe out years of what some voters, including myself, negatively think of her image, an effective crisis manager would perhaps help her with other newer voters. And the saying is true that every vote counts.
And I agree with those who believe that some negativity directed towards Clinton is a result of her gender. There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s negativity is viewed differently in the media. That being said, Clinton is not the first woman candidate to be treated differently due to her gender by many voters. And as a female candidate who has campaigned for years, one would think that Clinton by now would know there are ways to address and not ignore these issues. Clinton and many of her surrogates should be able to address those concerns just as race and religion were raised by some voters with President Obama’s race and ill purported Muslim association in 2008 and 2012.
Many people do not believe that Clinton will be charged for her actions in the email scandal. And then there are those who believe that even if charges are warranted by the Justice Department and the FBI, Clinton will be given a presumptive Hail Mary pardon by President Obama—despite his denials to the contrary. The point is she needs a good crisis manager whether charged or not. Clinton needs someone like an Olivia Pope who can do what others on her team have failed to do or ignored the need to do. And if Hillary Clinton already has a crisis manager, she needs to fire the present one and immediately get a more effective one. Clinton needs a crisis manager who knows she’s in trouble and how to fix it
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. She often appears on air on Al Jazeera, MSNBC, PBS, BET, Fox 5 DC among others. She also contributes articles to the Huffington Post and Women’s Media Center.