Most Americans do not trust Hillary Clinton, yet she enjoys a substantial lead in her Democratic bid for the nation’s highest office. At least for her core of supporters, trust and credibility seem secondary to her stance on social issues dear to them. An avid supporter of abortion, for instance, is willing to vote for Clinton because they feel that such a woman’s choice is paramount over honesty and veracity. Who cares if she is an untrustworthy person as long as she supports our single issues, the reasoning goes. At the end of the day, that is not a surprising position for such a voter to take, nor is the practice limited to Clinton: People vote for a candidate based upon single issues all the time. But the issue of veracity would seem to trump intimate beliefs because the lack of trustworthiness invites anxiety and discomfort. People generally hate to be lied to. But that discomfort comes mainly from direct personal lies. Clinton’s alleged lies can easily be rationalized under the general category, without specific attachment to a particular individual voter. If she is lying about her emails or the Benghazi attack, or other general matters, there is no specific emotional tie to the individual voter. Her perceived lack of candor is less important. For those voters who do not make up the base of her core support, independents and moderate Democrats, who are not driven by single issues, the issue of credibility remains important. But even the thinking of these groups is tempered by the general and political nature of the alleged lies, just not so much as her committed supporters. It is these groups that need more convincing from Hillary. So, does Hillary Clinton’s reputation for truth and veracity matter?– yes, but not nearly as much as pollsters think. The Republicans would be better off joining Bernie Sanders’s line of thinking and focusing on other issues besides the emails– well, maybe not, because those who do care about veracity in the general sense may be sufficient in numbers to defeat her a general election.
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