Hillary Clinton so far has been able to skate through the Democratic presidential primary without having to truly confront what ultimately may be her biggest hurdles to the White House: numerous scandals and controversies that have taken a back seat in her tooth-and-nail fight with Sen. Bernard Sanders.
Mr. Sanders decided early in the race to virtually ignore his opponent’s still-unfolding State Department email scandal, foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and other politically treacherous issues that could spell trouble for the former first lady as she heads toward a November showdown with the Republican nominee.
What Mr. Sanders was unwilling to do, political analysts say, is exactly the type of brutal political attack Republican front-runner Donald Trump specializes in. It’s unclear whether full-blown assaults on Mrs. Clinton’s private email server, the Clinton Foundation and other scandals will be effective enough to stop the former secretary’s march to the presidency, but what is clear is that the Clinton campaign must prepare for the kinds of tough questions and attacks it has avoided for the past year.
“I think Trump certainly will, through innuendo and outlandish overstatement, try to make the argument that the emails and the Clinton Foundation are discrediting, and maybe even disqualifying of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University who specializes in presidential politics. “It depends whether he has just that right dagger thrust that she can’t overcome. Certainly it’s something that her people need to be thinking about because he’s very, very good at it.”