Democrats are struggling over the direction of their party, and this week things got more complicated. In addition to the splits over the Green Leap Forward, Medicare for All and constitutional rewrites, Robert Mueller’s report has opened a new divide. It’s Team Reality vs. Team Bitter Enders.
Granted, the end of the special counsel’s probe is a shattering blow to Trump haters. So long as Mueller continued his investigation, the left and its media mates were free to spin collusion claims and nurse hopes of a toppled Trump presidency. Anyone who pushed back was told to sit down, shut up and wait until Mueller ruled. He now has. The party is over.
Realists understand the risks of continuing to dwell on collusion and obstruction of justice. Americans are weary of Mueller headlines. In a CNN poll this month, respondents listed the economy, immigration and health care as their most important issues for 2020. No one listed the special-counsel probe. The Democrats who are actually charged with electing more Democrats understand this. In a leadership meeting Monday night, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, laid out the alarming reality: Voters have little idea what the Democratic policy agenda is; the party urgently needs to move beyond 2016.
The realists also understand the Mueller probe has gained the party little up to now, beyond gratifying its base. While the resistance wallowed in collusion hysteria, Donald Trump presided over tax reform, massive deregulation and a remake of significant parts of the judiciary. He’s an incumbent presiding over a growing economy, with a campaign awash in money. A Politico story recently warned the left not to put much stock in approval ratings: “If the election were held today,” the reporters wrote, Trump would “likely ride to a second term in a huge landslide, according to multiple economic models with strong track records of picking presidential winners and losses.”