As FBI Director James Comey re-opens the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, and sources suggest that indictments are coming, there will be those who suggest that Barack Obama should pardon Hillary Clinton.
If she wins, though, it would be politically better for the Democrats if Obama chose not to give out that pardon.
Imagine what will happen should Hillary Clinton becomes President, and Republicans keep at least one house of the Congress. Immediately, two or three committees will hold hearings, and a few members of Congress will introduce articles of impeachment.
Immediately, because Hillary Clinton is under suspicion, the Republicans will be forced to press the issue. Even if they didn’t want to, their voters would place them under enormous pressure to talk about it. They would have no choice.
By leaving Hillary Clinton hanging, Barack Obama would distract Republicans and keep them from focusing on their policy objectives. Impeachment sucks all the air out of the room, immediately paints Republicans as obsessed cranks trying for a do-over of their failures of the 90s, all while achieving nothing good for the Republican party.
But if Obama pardons Clinton, then it’s finished. We get to Move On™, and the remaining issues of investigating her subordinates become a meaningless sideshow. Republicans are left to oppose Clinton on matters of substance, where they have a chance of exercising their Constitutional powers, preventing her from doing what she wants. Republicans therefore gain at the expense of Democrats.
So the best interests of the Democrats are served by there being no pardon. Leave Clinton out there to tantalize the Republicans, and the GOP will destroy itself chasing after her, in a matter akin to Wile E. Coyote.