As many people have said over the past couple of years, all the Democrats need to do to win back the presidency in 2020 is to not be insane. It appears to be proving easier said than done:
A US House of Representatives panel has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not releasing an unredacted copy of the report on Russian election meddling.
The judiciary committee took the rare step as tensions rose over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr, one of Mr Trump’s sons, to legally force him to testify. It is the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family in connection with the investigation.
The Democrats placed a large bet on the ridiculous notion that Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin, and it’s failed to come off. In fact, they probably knew it wasn’t true and the whole Mueller investigation was just the tool with which they hoped something would be dug up which could be used to impeach Trump, but despite his very best efforts, the special counsel came up with nothing of substance. Trump didn’t collude with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential election, and the instances of obstruction of justice contained in the report consist of Trump shooting his mouth off like he normally does (while not following through) in the absence of any underlying crime.
What the Democrats should have done is put this catastrophe behind them and quickly move on. A large number of ordinary Americans were already weary of the Mueller probe and its hampering effect on Trump’s presidency, and in the wake of the report it’s hard to imagine anyone outside a tiny minority of anti-Trump fanatics have the stomach for another year of this pantomime. Unfortunately, rather a lot of Democrat politicians make up that minority, as do their media mouthpieces, and are determined to flog this dead horse right up until the 2020 election. For them, getting rid of Trump has become such an obsession they’ve forgotten the best way to do it is to not come across as fanatical, vindictive lunatics in the 18 months before an election. I suspect most Americans are severely unimpressed by what they’re seeing here.
The other problem the Democrats have is the likes of terrorist-supporting Ilhan Omar and Palestinian activist Rashida Tlaib are laying into Israel with little attempt to distinguish their criticism from bog-standard, anti-Jew hatred while the party leadership utters not a whisper of condemnation. That you or I may disagree over whether their remarks constitute antisemitism or legitimate criticism doesn’t matter when an awful lot of Democrat-voting American Jews are listening in horror, first at the comments themselves and then at the silence that follows. It is unlikely that these people will switch their allegiance to Republican but it might cause a lot of Jews to stay at home, unable to bring themselves to vote for a party which not only includes antisemites but actively promotes them. The 2020 election is likely to be a close-run thing, and both sides need every vote they can get.
Two and a half years into the Trump administration the Democrats should have a very strong hand, but they’ve dealt themselves a weak one. They’ve now decided to play it very badly.