The selection of presidential nominee by the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee will be completed this month against the backdrop of difficult times for the two presumptive presidential candidates.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is facing serious dilemma for using her personal server for official e-emails during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2012. Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI) James B. Comey said on July 06 that Hillary Clinton was 'extremely careless with protecting the country's secrets' and found 'evidence of potential violations', but exonerated her from prosecution. However, the FBI Director himself was grilled by Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Congressman Jason Chaffetz on July 07. Jason asked the FBI Director whether the Bureau would look into Mrs. Hillary Clinton's alleged perjury in an October 2015 hearing before the Republican-led House Committee on Benghazi. The Director replied in a positive tone if it is referred to by the House Committee. It means Hillary will remain under investigation. Meanwhile, a spokesman of the State Department announced that the Department would 'reopen internal review into whether Mrs.Clinton or her top aides mishandled classified information'. With the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, clearing her of legal wron- doing, partisans in both sides are spinning this issue.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Republican Congressman Paul Ryan said there are a lot of questions that have to be answered. It looked as though Hillary Clinton received preferential treatment, he said. The Speaker said, "We have seen nothing but stonewalling and dishonesty from Secretary Clinton on this issue". He wrote to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seeking to bar Hillary Clinton from accessing classified information. In a scathing report earlier, the Inspector-General of the State Department pointed out that the former Secretary of State violated Federal rules by using a private email server for official business. About a week is left for the National Convention of the Democratic Party to be held in Philadelphia on July 25-28, 2016. Hillary Clinton has been blessed by the endorsement of her diehard contender Senator Bernie Sanders on July 12 in a public gathering held at Plymouth, New Hampshire. Sanders declared: "There is a significant coming together of two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Our job now is to see that the platform is implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton President---and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen." Incidentally, supporters of Senator Sanders raised slogans against Hillary Clinton but these were drowned by slogans of unity. Despite endorsement by Sanders, it is a long way to go until the presidential election in November.
Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, on the other hand, has caused fears among the Republicans because of his continuing rhetoric and amateurish campaign. Republicans are of the opinion that repeated racist attacks on an American-born Federal judge and his crude, exploitative response to the Orlando massacre have caused him unfavourable rating nationally to an unprecedented high. A poll conducted by Rear Clear Politics pointed out that Donald Trump is trailing behind Hillary Clinton by 5.8 points while 12 points behind according to Bloomberg survey. Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric, threat to build wall on US-Mexican border and anti-immigration stand might have caused panic among the Republicans. Nearly 400 delegates of the Republican Party have reportedly signed to stop Donald Trump's nomination at the Republican National Convention on July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio. In the convention, former presidential nominee Senator John McCain, Mitt Romney and former Presidents George W.Bush and George H.W Bush will remain absent while major donors like Wells Fargo Bank, Ford Motor and Apple and Microsoft have decided to pull out funding for this year's Republican convention.
Donald Trump has had an interesting exchange of views with the Republican House representatives and Senators well on July 07. While talking to members of House representatives, according to the Washington Times of July 8, he reviewed his plans to reshape tax code, reduce Federal regulations and scrap President Obama's healthcare programme while blaming news media for distortion of his comments in which he praised Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists. He faced some hostile Republican Senators like Jeff Flake, Mark Kirk and Senator Ben Sasse. Republican representative from Pennsylvania Charles W.Dent said his concern remains about Trump's incendiary comments plus his contradictory or conflicting messages after the meeting. While entering Capitol Hill, Trump was confronted by protesters who described him as 'sexiest, a fraud and anti-gay.'
Silver lining is on the horizon for Hillary Clinton in view of the fact that dozens of pro-Republican business leaders have endorsed her because, according to them, she is 'qualified, experienced and will make a fine President.' President Obama also endorsed her for presidency.
Hillary Clinton will possibly win the election if she selects Sanders as her running mate. It is yet to be seen which way winds blow during the presidential election period in November.
The writer is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh.