The question: should we expect that the candidates, and our elected officials, be morally good and upstanding? Not really; it isn’t necessary.
I suppose we as voters can expect anything we like out of candidates and elected officials, but it so happens that they, well schooled in the art of public relations, can add any false façade to satisfy such expectations.
It is completely true that in all the years that the voters have expected morality out of their candidates, they have received squeaky clean, clean shaven, good church going Christians, who have succeeded only in serving special interests, wasting the hard earned money of the citizens on frivolities, and needlessly expanding the functions of government. Are the voters willing to forgive all these offenses because these men are moral, churchgoing Christian men?
The moral opinions and choices of an individual elected should not have to factor in to their mandate to serve us in government. The very fact that we have to discuss the morals of candidates (insofar as it would influence their policy positions) shows that the power they would exert is too much. Why would it matter when the only function of a government is to protect the natural rights of each individual?
To me, it does not matter the morals of a man who has promised me that he will govern according to the constitution, and handle frugally public money. If he does not do so, I will not vote for him in the next election. There is little need to wait around for a moral, Churchgoing man to fill that role; nor will I forgive his offenses while in office because he is moral or churchgoing.
But it is rather interesting to see the right, usually so concerned with such things, so willing to excuse a man who makes such hideous statements (really not worth repeating here). Such would be an allowance that would not be made if the candidate in question was not paying such strong lip service to their opinions. Meanwhile the left has taken up concern with morals and politicians now, something new!
What we are willing to forgive and explain away largely depends on what political side we stand on, and less to do with any coherent system of principles. This is especially evident here in 2016.
As for past indiscretions? It would be disingenuous of one to be angered with the past indiscretions of one candidate, without being so outraged about the indiscretions of the other. However, this seems to comprise most of our political discourse.
Allowance should be granted to the man that owns up to his past mistakes, and apologizes for them. There is one candidate which has made a few less excuses for his past actions than the other, partly out of necessity.
And, true, there is a difference between indiscretions and breaking the law. Evidence that Trump has numerous indiscretions abounds, but evidence of breaking the law has still not been convincingly provided. However, on the other hand, Clinton is known to have broken more than a few laws.
One final thought: the least “rapey” of the candidates, Gary Johnson, is suffering somewhat in the polls. Honestly I am not really surprised by this, as the independent voters are finding themselves in a quandary of a reality where either Trump or Clinton become president. Vote for X, to prevent a Y presidency!
As stated numerous times, the libertarian victory in 2016 will not take the form of positions or offices won. Rather, it will take the form of perpetuating access to the ballot, to grow and fight again another day.