Trump, Clinton Scandals: Selective Transparency Hinders Democracy

Donald Trump has proven to be such a polarizing, belligerent, and, quite frankly, offensive candidate that his constant stream of new controversies has managed to outshine Hillary Clinton’s most troubling scandals. Where the Hillary Clinton Wikileaks Revelations, which paint a picture of a political insider catering to Wall Street special interests, should have blunted the chances of the Democratic nominee, the focus of the 2016 US Presidential Election was immediately pulled to Trump’s apparent history of sexual misconduct. What is most unfortunate about the scandals surrounding both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that the American People did not learn of them until it was too late to make a difference in the election.

Transparency, and ultimately accountability, is essential for proper governance, but selective transparency is a means to manipulate public perception and undermine democracy. The Wikileaks data dump on Hillary Clinton is not problematic, because it exposes upsetting and seemingly hypocritical statements by Clinton. That is a beneficial aspect of the revelations. The document release is problematic, because the one-sided disclosures by Wikileaks are distorting public perception against Hillary Clinton and, in a broader context over time, the United States. Although revelations about Donald Trump help “balance” the effect on public perception in one sense, the strategic timing of the release weeks before the November election distorts public perception.

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