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The Post-Mueller period begins now


I will admit to being greatly disappointed with the Mueller Report. I don’t understand why he didn’t indict Jared and Junior. I don’t understand why he punted—kicked the can down the road and left it to Trump’s Justice Department to pursue. Trump’s Justice Department, run by Republican operatives? Really?

Still, the operative sentence in his Report is that he’s not exonerating Trump. Trump, of course, immediately claimed that Mueller did exonerate him. That’s a lie. The facts directly contradict it. But what’s a fact to a Trump voter?

Two questions: Where do House Democrats go from here? And where does the Democratic base (including me) go?

Answering the second question first, we lick our wounds and continue the fight. Like the old Fred Astaire song says, “Pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.” It was a tough weekend. First we were shocked there would be no further indictments. Then came Barr’s four-page letter in which he crowed about his boss. No collusion! No obstruction! And then, of course, Trump himself, repeating the party line. This was hard on us. We’d been counting on the Mueller Report and it let us down. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this whole sordid period of Trump and Trumpism has been a reality T.V. show, with plot twists and unexpected developments. Sometimes Trump is up; sometimes we’re up; many days are draws. Trump is currently up. But the series isn’t over. It’s only the end of Season Two. So Dems must keep hope alive.

As for House Democrats, I say, Investigate, investigate, investigate. Trump has not, repeat not been cleared of obstruction of justice. We have to see the entire Mueller Report–most Americans agree. Democrats must keep on repeating that mantra, because Trump will keep saying that he has been cleared of everything. Dems must point out the lie. The American public—Republicans included—already knows that Trump is a pathological liar, so pointing out that he’s lying again (“Total exoneration!”) will be easy.

It’s important also for all of us to remember that we joined The Resistance and were against Trump and Trumpism well before we knew anything about Russiagate. We were against him because of his moral turpitude. Washington Democrats, including the presidential candidates, have to press this case forward—the utter unfitness of this moral derelict to be president, to lead the American people. We have to be relentless in reminding voters of the sexual affairs, the Access Hollywood tape, the 8,000 lies, the insults, the vulgrarity, everything contemptible about this vile man. We have to keep on reminding Americans how much they detest him. Trump consistently loses on the character issues: trustworthy, tells the truth, is honest. There’s nothing he can do about that: it’s baked into the cake.

The worst thing for Democrats to do is to roll over. Forget about calls for centrism, for “Can’t we all get along?” pleas. The hard truth is that, No, we can’t all get along. There’s something evil in the Republican Party. On endless occasions I’ve written about the many parallels between America’s Republicans today and Germany’s Nazis in the 1930s. These parallels are clearer now than ever. In some respects this Mueller Report has been Trump’s Reichstag fire: the excuse he’s been looking for to crack down and become ever more intolerant. We can expect some very serious moves from Trump against the press, against liberals, against the Democratic candidates. He’s emboldened. And he’s pissed. A pissed off, emboldened Trump is a supremely dangerous Trump. He generally shows good judgment in knowing how far he can go without getting into trouble, but he’s at some risk now of overreaching. We don’t know precisely what he’ll do, but we have to watch him mindfully, all the time, and call him out at each opportunity. And we have to stay united.

This latter requirement is going to be tough. Democrats are dispirited, and a saddened party is a weakened party. The splits between the various factions in the Democratic Party, already apparent, are likely to turn into open fissures. By all means let the candidates thrash it out on the campaign trail, but let them at the same time talk to their supporters and urge unity, unity, unity! And civility, civility, civility! We dare not let the party descend into the intramural spit fest it sank into during the Hillary-Bernie period. Going forward on this blog, that will be one of my most important stress points. Unity!

So, Democrats, have some cocoa, take a puff off the doobie, watch some good T.V. and recover. We’ve taken a blow. We’re down, but not out. The good fight continues; The Resistance remains alive and relevant.

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