Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner in 2016, has admitted using her personal email account, clintonemail.com, to conduct sensitive State Department duties while she was secretary of state for four years during the Obama administration.
The former first lady, who may have violated federal record-keeping regulations, has since come under fire from Republicans, such as House Speaker John Boehner,
for lack of transparency.
The suggestion is that that through her private email usage she may knowingly or unknowingly have kept documents of public record under wraps, including possibly vital emails on the deadly Benghazi attacks in 2012.
The GOP is hoping that the controversy will seriously affect her chances of becoming president in 2016 and may even force her out of the Democratic race, according to the Times.
But in a column for the newspaper’s The Upshot column, Brandan Nyhan, an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College, says that the actual public response to the controversy is more likely "to be a combination of apathy and partisanship."
"Few Americans are paying attention to any aspect of the campaign at this point," he writes. "Those who do notice will most likely divide largely along partisan lines, with Democrats interpreting her actions more charitably, especially once they see Republicans attacking Mrs. Clinton on the issue.
"Any significant political costs are also likely to be fleeting because the revelations came so early in the campaign cycle. It is hard to believe that a lack of transparency in Mrs. Clinton’s use of email will have a significant effect on a general election that will be held some 20 months from now."
Nyhan said that although Republicans will likely drag out the scandal for months, the strategy is unlikely to yield "significant payoffs," as has been proved by such "past controversies as Whitewater and Benghazi."
The professor summed up by saying, "It is not clear at this point that her actions violated any laws. All of this could change, of course, if a true bombshell emerges from her famous BlackBerry, but she has been under intense scrutiny for more than two decades and is likely to have been extremely cautious.
"If there’s one thing we’ve learned from past presidential campaigns, it’s that most supposed game-changers like this quickly fade from the memory of the political class, having never been noticed by most Americans in the first place."
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