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Senior Correspondent

Can Hillary be trusted? The biggest slam against her is that she is dishonest. That is a very damaging accusation. If the President or a candidate for the office cannot be trusted, the nation may be in serious trouble. So what seems to be the evidence that she doesn’t deserve the confidence of her party or that of the general electorate?  

The most persistent attack has had to do with her use of a personal e-mail account for government business. While there is no evidence that any government confidences were threatened or marked “top secret” until later, Hillary has admitted that while not illegal, her choice was probably unwise.

While she seemed to tell two different stories about the tragic Benghazi attack, the controversy has produced no serious new legs since she spent eleven hours before the Congressional Committee examining the episode. Pouring gasoline on dead ashes did not produce an explosion, but an odor hangs around.

Then there is the accusation that, since she has taken money from and given speeches for Wall Street bankers and energy companies, she would not bite the hands that have fed her. But looking at her public record offers no evidence that she has tailored her positions to accommodate to these funders.

Efforts to uncover any other hard evidence of her duplicity have yielded little. There are issues within the Democratic Party on which she and Bernie have disagreed—like her vote to enter the Iraq war. But they are matters of policy, not honesty. And yet her approval rating continues to erode.

I think there is another reason why so many people continue to harbor a suspicion that Hillary cannot be trusted. It lies in the skill by which advertisers sell their products through the use of repetition. For years, dating back to Travelgate and the tragic death of Vincent Foster, there has been a whispering campaign suggesting that she is dishonest. That cloud over Hillary just won’t go away.

While for years we have watched the Republicans cast this dark cloak of suspicion over the Clintons. Recently a number of my Democratic friends have repeated the charge, “She cannot be trusted.” When I have asked why they believe the accusation, the best anyone has come up with is the fact that they have continued to hear it, so it must be true.

I have a profound respect for Bernie Sanders and support each of the four points he continues to make— the problem with drastic income disparity, the call for new regulations in finance, the need to have the “Citizens United” decision reversed and Medicare for all. Yet his persistent suspicion that Hillary is not to be trusted seems disingenuous. If the truth of the accusation is only in relationship to the consistency with which it is articulated, then we just need to stop passing it on. Do you trust Hillary? I do.

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