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Why Democrats Failed to Exploit the Obvious

4 min read

Imagine, for a moment, if in 2008 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe had coordinated with Wiki Leaks and the Russians to infiltrate and influence the readers of America's social media apparatus. Imagine then, if Mr. Obama was caught on tape regaling his exploits of how he molested women; only to have that revelation obscured a few hours later when an operative of Mr. Plouffe’s called his sources to Vladimir Putin and had stolen GOP campaign material, mainly gossip, released to change the subject. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would have called a hastily organized press conference, flanked by Republican leadership, and using his best guttural growl, he would have called for the traitor and rapist to drop out of the race. Counter-calls from Democrats of racism, premature pronouncements of guilt, and words like dismay and troubled would have been the meek Democratic retort. The Conservative shredder would have been turned up on high; and within days, if not hours, Mr. Obama would have been before cameras, chastened and apologetic announcing his withdrawal from the presidential race.

Yet it happened…  

When Paul Manafort was the campaign manager for Donald Trump, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the above scenario is precisely what played out. Roger Stone, self-described “dirty trickster,” whose prison sentence was commuted because he publicly said he would not “turn” on President Trump, had repeated contacts with Julian Assange, founder of Wiki Leaks. A plan was devised, through all accounts, to pass information to the Trump campaign about what, where, and when the hacked Democratic National Committee private emails would be strategically released to the public. The first known instance of this is when an hour after Mr. Trump, in a recorded conversation with TV Host Billy Bush, giving lurid details of his successful techniques to sexually assault women, is when the first dump of Hillary Clinton's emails was dropped on the American public.

This behavior was a gift to any opposing campaign but the Democrats failed to exploit the truth. Unlike Republicans, who turn Democratic faux pas into memorable GOP chants, shook their heads in disgust and waited for the Republicans to do the right thing. Fair play is not the GOP mandate, destroying the government, riding on the backs of the middle class and the working poor, degrading the rights of women, and demonizing people of color is their stock-in-trade.

Why do Democrats wait until it is too late

I have some theories that the older leadership in the Democratic party is still stuck in the halcyon days of post-session cocktails, cloakroom handshakes, and opposition morality. The recent, obvious, and admitted ploy of the Trump administration to slow mail delivery to suppress and oppress the November presidential election vote, is the latest example of  Democrats failing to seal the envelope.  The Democrats have known for years that moves to discredit, destroy, and disillusion the public over mail service has been afoot. It started as a privatization move, which would inhibit the poor and middle-class access to a Constitutionally mandated public service.  Where else can you mail a letter and have it arrive, as much as 3,000 miles away, for less than 50 cents?  

Social activists and protesters did what the Democratic hierarchy should have done months ago, spectacle, outrage, and display.  At the home of Post Master General Louis DeJoy, protesters drew the attention of the public. Public servants released pictures of stacks of boxes and mail, sitting in bins, undelivered because of cutbacks and deliberate efforts to slow down the system. Finally, on the heels of the Democratic Convention, hearings will be held to look into DeJoy’s operational changes at USPS and why. In typical fashion, instead of Democrats hauling Mr. DeJoy into a House hearing immediately, under threat of subpoena, they allowed Mr. DeJoy to set his own schedule.

Much like AG Bill Barr who defanged the Mueller Report and its 10 or more instances of obstruction of justice, instead, Barr declared the president innocent. The Republican-controlled Senate gets the first crack at DeJoy on Friday and will undoubtedly use the hearing as a prep before his Monday hearing before the Democratically controlled House. Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy was known as the ‘Lion of the Senate’ and it can be argued that without his steadfast stubbornness over the years, we may not have the Affordable Care Act. With his bellicose demonstrations on the floor of the senate and red-faced passion, people listened.  The last Democratic not afraid of the spectacle was the recently departed ‘Conscience of the House’ Rep. John Lewis. He literally sat, along with some of his colleagues, on the floor of the House to protest the lack of new gun laws to stem the tide of mass shootings. The fight still goes on but even Republicans admit it got their attention. I want to see a Democrat with his or her sleeves rolled up screaming on Monday; sometimes, the spectacle is in order.

Vote in 2020 for Change.


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