It’s been another busy news week. Many different stories have been competing for our attention. Rumors have been swirling that the Mueller probe will be finishing soon. These rumors may prove to be right or they may be the latest chapter in a long campaign of disinformation and expectations management that aims to discredit the investigation and damage its credibility. Investigators have been leaving the investigation, so it’s safe to say it’s scaling down, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. We know from court filings regarding Cohen and Flynn that many ongoing investigations remain. So, time will tell.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to attack John McCain and spew his usual vitriol at the Mueller probe. At this point Trump is becoming a broken record, his whiny protestations unchanged from the days and months passed. It’s nauseating to listen to his frantic BS but it’s not going to go away until we vote him out. Any one of the current investigations may uncover something truly heinous that prompts Republican lawmakers to consider impeachment, but the odds are against it. Investigations take time, hearings take time, appeals take time, and by the time Congress would be ready to move forward to impeachment, it will be the fall of 2020 anyway.
Our Number One concern has to be voting Trump out of office in 2020. And each of us must be prepared to discuss Trump and the Democrats with our friends, family and social media circle in a consistent and productive way. At the end of the day, IF Trump wins another term it won’t matter whether the Democrats gather behind single-payer or Medicare for all. It won’t matter which of the Democrats did something stupid when they were a teenager. It won’t matter how moderate or progressive the Democrats are. The less time we spend fighting each other, the more time we can spend energizing our voters and demotivating the Trumpers.
It’s hard to believe but there are millions of our fellow Americans who love Trump. They believe he’s finally standing up for the United States and creating jobs. They don’t care that he’s graceless, vile, dishonest and corrupt. He has become a symbol of their struggle, the struggle to feel powerful and get revenge on the people in our culture who have shamed them. And their feelings of powerlessness and shame have been baked in over three decades by Fox infotainment.
We can lament among each other what an epic buffoon and sleazeball Trump is, but in the broader public sphere it’s more effective to talk about the policies we want. When we are angry and railing at Trump, it’s a sign to his supporters that he is doing the right things. Our distress and upset are evidence of his success. It’s grotesque, but that’s the dynamic at play here. If Trump held a news conference and burned a copy of the Constitution and declared himself Emperor, his supporters would cheer as long as WE were outraged. It’s our outrage that they want, it’s our distress that they feed on.
That’s why politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pete Buttigieg have been successfully raising their profiles lately. They don’t spend much time raging at Trump. Instead they deconstruct the narratives and framing used by Republicans to expose the hypocrisy and dishonesty beneath, while promoting smart and well-reasoned policy proposals that are popular among a majority of Americans.
We would all do well to watch these and other Democratic leaders closely and borrow from them the things that work. We have to move forward with a spirit of determination, even if it’s fueled by anger, but we can’t fight hatred with hatred. It won’t end well.