The Mueller Report is a Damp Squib, What Do The Democrats Do Now?

It was meant to be liberal Christmas, the day of the revelations, when the Messiah would come and smite the Antichrist. Robert Mueller is everything Trump isn’t, a modest do-gooder who was awarded the ‘Purple Heart’ and a public servant with a formidable 20-year record of true service to America. He would save us all from the tyranny of the ‘orange Hitler’, a draft dodging, bumptious braggart who has earned a life of privileged excess by the virtue of his name. The Republic would be saved from his tyranny, and the office of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln redeemed of this brief stain. ‘Russiagate’ may have sounded too good to be true, but after losing the first female president to a pervert, goddamit that b*tch karma owed us this one. But as Trump’s favourite rally anthem goes, “you can’t always get what you want”. So what do the Dems do now?

Mueller has given America a scrupulously researched report into the 2016 Trump election campaign, which found a lack of significant evidence for any criminal proceedings against the President or his family. At the moment, some Democrats are banking on the fact that the report doesn’t fully exonerate Trump, hoping and praying that a full release of the report will give them the nuggets they need to build a criminal case against the President. But they miss the point of the Special Counsel’s report. It wasn’t to prove that the Donald was some kind of crook, any American could tell you Trump’s business dealings have been sketchy for decades, it was to find a case for criminal proceedings and, later, impeachment. Without concrete evidence of such wrongdoing, the leader of the world’s greatest power cannot be toppled. If you come for the king, you best land a s*cker punch.

There is a sad irony in that if the roles were reversed, one could imagine Special Counsel Donnie using every dirty trick in the book to bring President Mueller down. But as the Democrats must soon learn if they want any hope of making Trump a one-term President, we live in the real world [sad :(]. Any further attempts by the Democrats to impeach Trump will merely ensure his reelection. They will confirm the suspicions of many middle Americans that a distant coastal elite can’t stomach their decision to exercise their constitutional right to vote for any d*mn fool they want.

But the Democrats still have hope. In 2020, they will have several key advantages that they lacked in 2016. Instead of an establishment fix up by the Clinton crime family in the upcoming elections, the Democrats will have an open primary, in which dozens of talented candidates will have their chance to win the nomination. Currently, the strongest candidates are Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (the progressive party looks set to elect another straight white male dinosaur). Despite coming from opposite ends of their parties ideological spectrum, they share many of the same qualities: an easy-going working-class charm, the ability to empathise with rust belt voters whom Hillary alienated in 2016, and the good sense to not call millions of American ‘deplorables’. Of the two, Biden probably has the edge, the Obama connection gives him a hefty poll boost with African-American voters who dominate the Democrats’ southern primaries. He currently polls higher than both the declared African-American candidates, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris, combined. Although recent “sexual assault” allegations against Biden could seriously undermine him.

On the wings of the Democratic primaries, there’s a plethora of has-beens and never-weres. Julian Castro and Kirsten Gillibrand missed their moment if there ever was one. Elizabeth Warren’s desperate attempts to prove that she is a Native American, smacks of an ugly white guilt that repulses minority and white voters alike. Corey Booker’s a progressive poser who isn’t fooling anyone but his New York donors. Beto O’Rourke, the Kennedy for gym buddies, could have clinched it had he won his Senate race last year. Kamala Harris is the strongest candidate outside of the big two, but her career as a prosecutor alienates her from the progressives, and picking a Californian candidate isn’t exactly a smart tactic when the state has been overwhelmingly Democratic for the last 20 years. My personal crushes are Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg, both of whom are exciting fresh candidates with innovative ideas, but they lack the profile to win. I’d say look out for them in 2024, but they’re both so young that they could still run in 2040–when they are 70–after all it worked so well for Trump.

Funny enough, the Mueller report might actually strengthen the Democrats in the 2020 election. By ending their foolish crusade to impeach Trump, they could focus on the issues that matter to American voters: the economy, healthcare, civil rights, and national security. In just seven months, we will be a decade from Obama’s 2008 triumph, in which the Democrats swept the rust belt. That 2008 coalition of disaffected white working-class voters, young progressives and minorities hoping for a better future is still out there. Millions of these voters chose Obama in 2008 and 2012, and then Trump in 2016. These were Democratic voters, and then the Democrats nominated the establishment standard-bearer with the charisma of a damp rag, Hillary Clinton. In 2020, the Democrats have the chance to win back these voters, but a campaign focusing on Russia will make that impossible.

Russiagate was meant to be the 21st century’s Watergate. Instead, it now seems more like this generation’s hunt for the WMDs in Iraq. After years of media speculation and major hype that promised a revelation which would legitimise radical action to topple a leader, nothing has been found. However, this time, rather than undermining the administration, it’s the opposition and the media who have embarrassed themselves. For the past two years, senior Democrats and media pundits have promised the American people that Trump colluded with Russia. This won’t be forgotten by American voters coming into the 2020 elections. When Trump will yell that the media is nothing but fake news, far more Americans will now be inclined to agree with him. If the Democrats want to win in 2020, they will need a strong candidate and a message focused on the real anxieties affecting American voters. Russiagate has served to distract many from Trump’s actual failures as President, his inability to pass healthcare reform, a tax cut which overwhelmingly benefits the rich and muddled foreign policy which has alienated America’s allies. Can they do it? If past performance is anything to go on, the rest of the world may have to get ready to put up with four more years of Trump. Nonetheless, it would be a critical race determining America’s future. The people must decide whether they want a unified world with America at the helm or a bunch of bickering nations who at the end will lose all that they have built over the years.

The Pangean does not condemn or condone any of the views of its contributors. It only gives them the space to think and write without hindrance.