I saw this on Consortium news and it touched on the Democrats continually pushing the Russia thing
The national Democrats saw Russia-gate and the drive to impeach
President Trump as their golden ticket back to power, but so far the
ticket seems to be made of fool’s gold, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on
the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from
office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but
the gamble appears not to be paying off.
The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a
congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest
indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some
Democrats had hoped.
Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen
Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one
lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the
over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing,
with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s
“deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media
to reverse a presidential election.
Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in
terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the
party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top
in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in
California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide.
Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which
manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave
hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious
self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s
heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged
Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump
and his populist movement.
A Party of Snobs?
From conversations that I’ve had with some Trump voters in recent
weeks, I was struck by how they viewed the Democratic Party as snobbish,
elitist and looking down its nose at “average Americans.” And in
conversations with some Clinton voters, I found confirmation for that
view in the open disdain that the Clinton backers expressed toward the
stupidity of anyone who voted for Trump. In other words, the Trump
voters were not wrong to feel “dissed.”
It seems the Republicans – and Trump in particular – have done a
better job in presenting themselves to these Middle Americans as
respecting their opinions and representing their fears, even though the
policies being pushed by Trump and the GOP still favor the rich and will
do little good – and significant harm – to the middle and working
By contrast, many of Hillary Clinton’s domestic proposals might well
have benefited average Americans but she alienated many of them by
telling a group of her supporters that half of Trump’s backers belonged
in a “basket of deplorables.” Although she later reduced the percentage,
she had committed a cardinal political sin: she had put the liberal
disdain for millions of Americans into words – and easily remembered
words at that.
By insisting that Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee – after
leftist populist Bernie Sanders was pushed aside – the party also
ignored the fact that many Americans, including many Democrats, viewed
Clinton as the perfectly imperfect candidate for an anti-Establishment
year with many Americans still fuming over the Wall Street bailouts and
amid the growing sense that the system was rigged for the well-connected
and against the average guy or gal.
In the face of those sentiments, the Democrats nominated a candidate
who personified how a relatively small number of lucky Americans can
play the system and make tons of money while the masses have seen their
dreams crushed and their bank accounts drained. And Clinton apparently
still hasn’t learned that lesson.
Citing Women’s Rights
Last month, when asked why she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Clinton rationalized her greed as a women’s rights issue, saying: “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made.”
Her excuse captured much of what has gone wrong with the Democratic
Party as it moved from its working-class roots and New Deal traditions
to becoming a party that places “identity politics” ahead of a duty to
fight for the common men and women of America.
Demonstrating her political cluelessness, Clinton used the serious
issue of women not getting fair treatment in the workplace to justify
taking her turn at the Wall Street money trough, gobbling up in one
half-hour speech what it would take many American families a decade to
While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s
problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party
is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the
Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the
Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial
To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national
Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites:
global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the
workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.
Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a
costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it
is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of
neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal
interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless
Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28
percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the
concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’
long tradition as the party of the American working class and the
party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.
Yet rather than rethink the recent policies, the Democrats prefer to
fantasize about impeaching President Trump and continuing a blame-game
about who – other than Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic
National Committee – is responsible for Trump’s election. Of course,
it’s the Russians, Russians, Russians!
A Problem’s Deep Roots
Without doubt, some of the party’s problems have deep roots that
correspond to the shrinking of the labor movement since the 1970s and
the growing reliance on big-money donors to finance expensive
television-ad-driven campaigns. Over the years, the Democrats also got
pounded for being “weak” on national security.
Further, faced with Republican “weaponization” of attack ads in the
1980s, many old-time Democrats lost out to the Reagan Revolution,
clearing the way for a new breed of Democrats who realized that they
could compete for a slice of the big money by cultivating the emerging
coastal elites: Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and even elements
of the National Security State.
By the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership
Council defined this New Democrat, politicians who reflected the
interests of well-heeled coastal elites, especially on free trade;
streamlined financial regulations; commitment to technology; and an
activist foreign policy built around spreading “liberal values” across
Mixed in was a commitment to the rights of various identity groups, a
worthy goal although this tolerance paradoxically contributed to a new
form of prejudice among some liberals who came to view many white
working-class people as fat, stupid and bigoted, society’s “losers.”
So, while President Clinton hobnobbed with the modern economy’s
“winners” – with sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom and parties in the
Hamptons – much of Middle America felt neglected if not disdained. The
“losers” were left to rot in “flyover America” with towns and cities
that had lost their manufacturing base and, with it, their vitality and
even their purpose for existing.
It wasn’t as if the Republicans were offering anything better. True,
they were more comfortable talking to these “forgotten Americans” –
advocating “gun rights” and “traditional values” and playing on white
resentments over racial integration and civil rights – but, in office,
the Republicans aggressively favored the interests of the rich, cutting
their taxes and slashing regulations even more than the Democrats.
The Republicans paid lip service to the struggling blue-collar
workers but control of GOP policies was left in the hands of
corporations and their lobbyists.
Though the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American
president, raised hopes that the nation might finally bind its deep
racial wounds, it turned out to have a nearly opposite effect. Tea Party
Republicans rallied many white working-class Americans to resist Obama
and the hip urban future that he represented. They found an unlikely
champion in real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who
sensed how to tap into their fears and anger with his demagogic appeals
and false populism.
Meanwhile, the national Democrats were falling in love with data
predicting that demographics would magically turn Republican red states
blue. So the party blithely ignored the warning signs of a cataclysmic
break with the Democrats’ old-time base.
Despite all the data on opioid addiction and declining life
expectancy among the white working class, Hillary Clinton was
politically tone-deaf to the rumbles of discontent echoing across the
Rust Belt. She assumed the traditionally Democratic white working-class
precincts would stick with her and she tried to appeal to the “security
moms” in typically Republican suburbs by touting her neoconservative
foreign policy thinking. And she ran a relentlessly negative campaign
against Trump while offering voters few positive reasons to vote for
When her stunning loss became clear on Election Night – as the crude
and unqualified Trump pocketed the electoral votes of Pennsylvania,
Michigan and Wisconsin – the Democrats refused to recognize what the
elections results were telling them, that they had lost touch with a
still important voting bloc, working-class whites.
Rather than face these facts, the national Democrats – led by
President Obama and his intelligence chiefs – decided on a different
approach, to seek to reverse the election by blaming the result on the
Russians. Obama, his intelligence chiefs and a collaborative mainstream
media insisted without presenting any real evidence that the Russians
had hacked into Democratic emails and released them to the devastating
advantage of Trump, as if the minor controversies from leaked emails of
the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman John
Podesta explained Trump’s surprising victory.
As part of this strategy, any Trump link to Russia – no matter how
inconsequential, whether from his businesses or through his advisers –
became the focus of Woodward-and-Bernstein/Watergate-style
investigations. The obvious goal was to impeach Trump and ride the wave
of Trump-hating enthusiasm to a Democratic political revival.
In other words, there was no reason to look in the mirror and rethink
how the Democratic Party might begin rebuilding its relationships with
the white working-class, just hold hearings featuring Obama’s
intelligence chieftains and leak damaging Russia-gate stuff to the
But the result of this strategy has been to deepen the Democratic
Party’s reliance on the elites, particularly the self-reverential mavens
of the mainstream media and the denizens of the so-called “deep state.”
From my conversations with Trump voters, they “get” what’s going on,
how the powers-that-be are trying to negate the 63 million Americans who
voted for Trump by reversing a presidential election carried out under
the U.S. constitutional process.
A Letter from ‘Deplorable’ Land
Some Trump supporters are even making this point publicly. Earlier
this month, a “proud deplorable” named Kenton Woodhead from Brunswick,
Ohio, wrote to The New York Times informing the “newspaper of record”
that he and other “deplorables” were onto the scheme.
“I wanted to provide you with an unsophisticated synopsis of The New
York Times and the media’s quest for the implosion of Donald Trump’s
presidency from out here in the real world, in ‘deplorable’ country. …
Every time you and your brethren at other news organizations dream up a
new scheme to get Mr. Trump, we out here in deplorable land increase our
support for him. …
“Regardless of what you dream up every day, we refuse to be sucked
into your narrative. And even more humorously, there isn’t anything you
can do about it! And I love it that you are having the exact opposite
effect on those of us you are trying to persuade to think otherwise.
“I mean it is seriously an enjoyable part of my day knowing you are
failing. And badly! I haven’t had this much fun watching the media
stumble, bumble and fumble in years. I wonder what will happen on the
day you wake up and realize how disconnected you’ve become.”
So, despite Trump’s narcissism and incompetence – and despite how his
policies will surely hurt many of his working-class supporters – the
national Democrats are further driving a wedge between themselves and
this crucial voting bloc. By whipping up a New Cold War with Russia and
hurling McCarthistic slurs at people who won’t join in the
Russia-bashing, the Democratic Party’s tactics also are alienating many
peace voters who view both the Republicans and Democrats as warmongers
of almost equal measures of guilt.
While it’s certainly not my job to give advice to the Democrats – or
any other political group – I can’t help but thinking that this
Russia-gate “scandal” is not only lacking in logic and evidence, but it
doesn’t even make any long-term political sense.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the
Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).