Conventional wisdom, peddled by self-important Beltway pundits, tells us that Hillary Clinton's emails, leaks, hacks, and transcripts are highly damaging to her campaign. In fact, the opposite has turned out to be true. If you set aside the optics and look at the totality of the substance, you'll find a thoughtful, insightful, and well-intentioned public servant working through intractable problems to find practical solutions.
Hillary Clinton has said it was a mistake to use a private email server while at the State Department and that she regrets having done it. The national media have spent nearly 600 days punishing her for it. But a deeper look at the substance of her emails — as well as other hacked materials — explains why she's on the verge of winning the presidency.
In January of 2016, Karoli Kuns wrote a personal essay about Clinton's emails that went on to become one of the most shared pieces of the campaign. It opened with a confession:
I have a confession to make: In 2008, I was one of the most ardent Hillary Clinton haters on the planet. I was ferocious about how much I didn’t want her to win the primaries, and I rejoiced the day she gave her concession speech.
But Kuns gradually warmed to Clinton and described what happened when she read the infamous State Department emails:
In those emails, I discovered a Hillary Clinton I didn’t even know existed.
I found a woman who cared about employees who lost loved ones. I found a woman who, without exception, took time to write notes of condolence and notes of congratulations, no matter how busy she was. I found a woman who could be a tough negotiator and firm in her expectations, but still had a moment to write a friend with encouragement in tough times. She worried over people she didn’t know, and she worried over those she did.
And everywhere she went, her concern for women and children was clearly the first and foremost thing on her mind.
Those sentences describe a process that has unfolded over the course of the election: The more that is uncovered about Clinton's private correspondence, the more emails and transcripts stolen, hacked and posted online, the better she looks.
Despite breathless headlines and ominous text highlights, all the hype about campaign-ending leaks has amounted to little more than a window into a hard-working and detail-oriented candidate and campaign.
— Eric Roston (@eroston) October 15, 2016
Clinton's die-hard opponents are getting increasingly desperate as she gets closer to the presidency. But the trouble for them is that with every new leak, we see further evidence of a lifelong public servant working through difficult problems with careful deliberation, weighing all sides of an issue to find the most pragmatic (and progressive) solution.
I've NEVER been worried about a single email or transcript from #Hillary because she's a good person with her country's interests at heart.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) October 16, 2016
Who knows whether recent leaks are authentic or doctored, but they are having the same effect as her emails: Revealing a candidate and campaign whose actions are neither malicious nor nefarious.
Will that dissuade pundits from sticking to their anti-Clinton script? No. But voters who have heard doomsayers predict that these documents will sink her campaign are discovering that they expose nothing more than the typical inner workings of any political team. And that chasm between the hype and the reality is a net positive for Clinton.