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Opinion

Krause: Focus on 2020 vision

Now what?

What’s going to happen now that — apparently — Robert Mueller’s report doesn’t draw a road map from Washington to Moscow with Donald Trump’s footprints all over it?

Sure. It stopped short of exonerating Trump from attempts to obstruct justice. But if what we’re hearing is to be believed, there’s nothing in that report that directly connects Trump to collusion with Moscow to influence the 2016 election. I wasn’t expecting anything either.

There’s a bigger issue here. How do the Democrats proceed now that Mueller badly disappointed them? Do they keep flailing away at a dead horse in hopes of finding something Mueller may have missed? That would be disastrous, and I hope the leadership thinks as I do.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a Trump fan. Politics aside, I have the same dislike for loud, boorish bullies that most of his non-fans have. And you can add glory-seeking to that.

That stunt he pulled last week, trying to take credit for planning and implementing John McCain’s funeral, is a perfect case in point. I’d love it if all these glory hounds went away, and I’d be just as happy if Trump did too.

The problem the Democrats have now is that this “vindication” has given Trump a great mallet to swing at them. He was going to find one to use anyway, but as my friend Norman Cole always says, you don’t give people the mallet!

This is why the Democrats would be very wise to back away from picking this report apart. The short American attention span does not allow for prolonged hand-wringing, and parsing every sentence of this report will be seen as exhaustive and unnecessary overkill.

If the Democrats want Trump out, they’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: pick a credible candidate, run an effective campaign, and win the 2020 election decisively.

And that is OK with me. Repudiation is the best answer anyway. Impeachment is not the type of process you initiate simply because you don’t like the guy who has the job. I’d be much more comfortable seeing the president voted out.

That will be hard enough. Incumbents have a lot of power that can sway elections. The sitting president controls so many levers of government that opponents often have one hand tied behind their backs before they even start.

Sad to say, I do not think the Democrats are off to a very good start. The number of candidates who have already announced could probably fill Fenway Park, but it seems that all 37,731 of them are too flawed to win. That’s the impression I get from listening to every one of them get picked apart — by fellow Democrats.

Stop! Let these people state their cases, and let the process sort it all out. It worked for the Republicans four years ago. Save all the ideological purity for a late-night wonk party.

This incessant whining about the electoral college really needs to stop too. Like it or not, this is our system. I’d strongly recommend that the Democrats choose a different hill on which to die.

They could identify states that they should have won, but lost in 2016 and work harder to flip them. For example, Bernie Sanders — who ended up being the skunk at the lawn party as far as the Democratic cognoscenti were concerned — won primaries in Wisconsin and Michigan. This was a king-sized red flag that the Democrats apparently ignored. Trump won those states in the general election, as well as Pennsylvania. That’s 46 electoral votes among three states — all narrow defeats — that have gone blue as often as red. Trump’s margin of victory was 74. Flip those three states and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

The Democrats need to think about things like that. Keeping this Mueller report on the front burner will be nothing but a giant distraction. It’s going to be enough of a target for Trump already. Refusal to let it go will only make things worse.

We are, or should be, a little wiser now. We are, or should be, prepared for all the biases, prejudices, bigotry, misinformation, misinterpretation and misogyny. It’s OK to admit we underestimated the depth of it in 2016, but there’s no excuse now.

I really hope someone’s saying these things to the candidates. I don’t want another four years of Donald Trump. So the last thing we need now is another inept campaign by the Democrats.

Hopefully, unlike 2016, the Democrats rally around whoever wins the nomination and give that person a decent shot.

But most of all, put this Mueller report to bed, and get on with doing what needs to be done. Some people, and I might be one of them, feel it’s the most important election in our lifetimes.

 

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