‘Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.’ That’s what a wise ex-colleague of mine used to say whenever someone made a boneheaded move out of extreme self-interest.
Democrats would do well to heed that lesson. In the first edition of this newsletter we argued that they should move on from the Mueller investigation and focus on the issues affecting electors. Have they? Hardly. The House is in full swing to subpoena Trump for everything he has ever said or done prior to taking office.
Despite Nancy Pelosi’s repeated promises not to go down the route of impeachment, the question keeps coming up, as the news media tries its darnedest hardest to feed the frenzy. Meanwhile, the White House has vowed to ‘boycott’ any and all subpoenas from Congress. An escalated public battle, and playing the victim, suits Trump just fine.
The real question is, what are the Democrats trying to prove? That the President lies? That his campaign had multiple contacts with the Russians? That the President is a narcissist who brands all real news he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’? That he rarely paid taxes and isn’t half as rich as he claims to be?
Americans know all this, and, mostly, don’t care. At least those that voted for him. They look at the economy and see it chugging along; Wall Street is not far off an all-time high and pension funds are doing just fine.
The Mueller report, when it was finally was released, included nearly one thousand redactions.[i] But there was still plenty of incriminating evidence, perhaps none more so than the President’s own words: ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.’ Hardly the words of a man who knew he would be ‘totally vindicated and exonerated.’
Those that like Trump, or voted for him, have bought into the notion that the media is out to get him. They get their daily fix of consternation and reality bending news from Fox, talk show radio and Facebook/Twitter. It’s no better on the left, where MSNBC and the NY Times are crying foul, and have become so accustomed to doing so, that they are increasingly at risk of sounding like whiners.
At the end, you can blame the Russians all you want, but Americans do a pretty good job of creating division themselves when it’s in their interest to do so.
So Democrats, don’t spend the next year and half going down a rabbit hole trying to impeach him. As the Trump anointed ‘Crazy Bernie’ rightfully pointed out, this will merely play into his hands.
Start, instead, by giving him a nickname that sticks – like the ‘The Mafia Don’ or simply ‘The Don.’
(BTW, ‘Sleepy Joe Biden’ just entered the race. If elected he’ll be the oldest president ever at 76, and he’s got more than a few skeletons in his closet. For now, he’s polling first ahead of the twenty other candidates in the race. It should make for an interesting Democratic primary. More on this in due course)
For now, the Democrats need to hammer aggressively on the issues and differentiate themselves from ‘The Don,’ by being more principled and solution-oriented.
He’s banking on being able to play the victim – please don’t fall for that trick again.
[i] Luke Harding, ‘What’s missing? The clues to Barr’s 1,000 Mueller report redactions’, 20th of April, 2019, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/19/mueller-report-redactions-whats-missing-clues, accessed 26/4/19.