Hillary's continuing trust problem proves 'crooked' label is sticking
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Wisconsin: poll Clinton tweets impeachment website, encourages voters to 'see the evidence for themselves' MORE and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE are nearly tied in the polls, with the election just days away. But there is one critical factor that’s not expressed in many polls and could ultimately keep Clinton from the White House: voter turnout.

It’s hard to predict voter turnout. Most polls that attempt to account for mobilization do so by measuring enthusiasm among respondents. According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News Tracking Poll, only 43 percent of Clinton’s own supporters are “very enthusiastic” about her. Voters who aren’t excited about their candidate are less likely to spend the time and effort it takes to cast a ballot.  

Why the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton?

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Clinton’s core issues with her base have little to do with policy, and everything to do with character. Or, more specifically, trustworthiness. After years at the center of scandals from Benghazi to “Emailgate,” even Clinton’s own supporters don’t think she can be trusted.   

A new poll found that Trump has opened up an 8-point advantage over Clinton when it comes to which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, leading 46 to 38 percent. Making matters worse for Clinton, 60 percent of voters think she is corrupt.

On Friday of last week, FBI Director James Comey announced that the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State had been reopened. Comey’s bombshell could not have come at a worse time for Clinton and played beautifully into Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” narrative.

The announcement hurt Clinton when it comes to independent registered voters. Trump now holds a 17-point edge in vote preference among independents; 69 percent of these voters have an unfavorable view of Clinton.

But perhaps even more worrisome for Clinton is how the announcement affected enthusiasm among Democrats. Since Friday, there has been a 4-point dip in enthusiasm among her supporters. For many, the reopening of the case corroborated their concerns about Clinton’s ethical compass.

To be clear, Clinton has struggled with trustworthiness long before Friday’s FBI bombshell. Back in March, nearly half of her own party’s primary voters believed she was dishonest.

To many, the “Crooked Hillary” narrative had already been justified earlier this year when the Democratic National Committee seemingly “rigged” the primary in favor of Clinton and against competitor Bernie SandersBernie SandersSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director MORE. Clinton received 602 superdelegates — the DNC insiders who can vote for whichever candidate they please, regardless of the will of the voters — while Sanders received only 48. Yet when it came to the popular vote, the race was much tighter: Clinton got around 15.8 million votes while Sanders got 12 million.

Is it really any wonder that two-thirds of Sanders’s supporters feel the primary was fixed to ensure a Clinton nomination? If voters think Clinton received the nomination unfairly, why should they believe she would be an honest president? 

Clinton’s history as a career bureaucrat may also play a role in her high untrustworthy ratings — especially when it comes to young voters, who could make up the nation’s largest voting bloc this year. Three in four millennials don’t trust the federal government; these same voters see Clinton as a permanent fixture of the government. 

So will Clinton’s untrustworthiness be enough to push Trump over the edge on Election Day? Possibly. It all depends on mobilization.

As Clinton’s character continues to be tarnished, the enthusiasm among her own supporters will continue to plummet. And while disillusioned Clinton supporters aren’t likely to vote for Trump, they may simply stay home on Nov. 8. Factors as seemingly insignificant as bad weather or long lines at the polls could easily dissuade unenthusiastic voters from making the effort to cast a ballot.  

If Clinton loses the election, she has no one to blame but herself. Her thirst for power persuaded her to continuously lie and break the rules — and it may finally be come back to haunt her.    

Kristin Tate is a conservative columnist and author of the book "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride And What You Can Do About It."
The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.