The death of the Robert Mueller myth and the liberal ‘field of dreams'Roundup
tags: impeachment, Trump, Robert Mueller, Mueller report
Jim Sleeper is a lecturer in political science at Yale and the author of "Liberal Racism" (1997) and "The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York" (1990).
As the news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller has no more indictments or “bombshell” revelations about Donald Trump’s winking collusion with Russia or, possibly, anything else, it took some courage for Vox senior analyst Dylan Matthews to throw cold water on Spike Lee, the New Yorker’s Adam Davidson, Vanity Fair’s Rachel Dodes, reporters at NPR and others who craved a quick, dramatic takedown of Donald Trump because, as Matthews sees it, they had succumbed to “a yearning for something, anything, to end the death loop that American democracy appears to be trapped in — for a big, dramatic blowup to fix the system’s ills. In the liberal imagination, that blowup typically takes the form of Trump’s removal from office, an event that sets us back to a path of normalcy and sane politics.”
Au contraire, Matthews declares, with what some will dismiss as easy hindsight but what I applaud as wisdom (not least because I said the same thing myself in 2016, as Trump was soaring through the Republican primaries): There was very little “normalcy” and “sane politics” coming to Americans from the neoliberal Democratic politics of the Clintons and Schumers and their Hollywood and Manhattan celebrants. Even as they waved banners of United Colors of Benetton “diversity,” they helped Republicans to seed and ride injustices and resentments that drove Trump's victories over both parties' establishments.
Matthews rightly faults Trump opponents' keening after media-driven, Hollywood-style narratives of quick, dramatic victories:
At least since Donald Trump first announced his presidential campaign in June 2015, journalists and activists have been asking: Is this the scandal that finally does him in?
Would his casual description of Mexican immigrants as rapists in his announcement speech force him to drop out shortly after he jumped in? Would his attack on John McCain for being captured in Vietnam end his campaign? What about mocking a disabled New York Times reporter? Or lying and saying Muslim Americans in Jersey City celebrated the 9/11 attacks? Or proposing an all-out ban on Muslim immigration?
What about the revelation of a tape where he brags about sexually assaulting women? Or the stories from multiple women who said he did, in fact, sexually assault them? Or leaking highly classified information to the Russian government? Or ordering FBI Director James Comey to close his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and then firing Comey when he refused? Would any of these be enough to finally bring Trump down?
As it turns out, the answer in each case was no.
Not even the New York Times’ admirable, extensive reports on Trump’s taxes and his snookering of Deutsche Bank into hundreds of millions of dollars of bad loans was enough.
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