Donald Trump was under attack by the political and media establishment long before the day he took office as president. As a candidate, he had been ridiculed by the leadership of both parties, dismissed as an aberration by pollsters, and laughed off as a joke by TV pundits from morning until late-night.
The Trump-can’t-seriously-win banter that flooded the airwaves for an entire election year ran well into the evening of Nov. 8, 2016, when vote tallies finally rendered their verdict and bulldozed everyone sitting near a camera and microphone. The pall cast inside DNC headquarters, the Javits Center, and in New York TV studios grew heavy as reality set in. Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States. Confused and slack-jawed, the pundits searched one another for answers.
“How could it happen?” they asked. “What do we do now?”
Some on the air were inconsolable and struggled to choke back tears. Reactions from Democrats, starting with Hillary Clinton at the Peninsula Hotel and down to people on the streets, ranged from miserable and angry to outright violent.
The idea that this independent businessman, mercurial TV personality, and unabashed straight-talker, a non-politician, could systematically defeat the most powerful figures of both major parties to win the presidency could only be viewed as a repudiation of American politics during the past decade. It inspired politicians, political watchers, and professors alike to declare that a populist revolt had taken place, a movement, historic in proportion, that still resonates in today’s complex debates over Brexit, in the yellow-vested protests on the streets of Paris, and in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election in India.
Nothing is more frightening to a left-leaning political establishment (or a broadcast news organization, for that matter) than the possibility that they no longer wield the same influence. Theirs is a struggle to remain relevant and in control.
More than two years later, the same cast who comprise the backbone of liberal politics and liberal media are back at their jobs. They’ve pulled up their britches and pulled up their chairs. Their task is to try and stop this anomalous, albeit somewhat crude, political phenomenon from getting re-elected in 2020. This isn’t their most important mission. It’s their only mission really. Take back the country before American populism (or conservatism?) gains another foothold behind this unique character. Attack him personally, if not for his policies.
Almost immediately, before flowers or music could be ordered for an inauguration, Democrats started accusing the president-elect of colluding with a hostile foreign government. “The Russians interfered with our election!” they exclaimed. Trump was in on it, they surmised.
A full-blown special counsel investigation ensued, led by the director of the FBI. Media resumed their feverish ridicule of the president-elect and continued to plague him through his first year in office. Then through his second year. Finally, special counsel Robert Mueller III released his report, Attorney General William Barr presented his legal conclusions, and the entire Russian collusion narrative fell silent almost overnight.
Without the vindication they sought from their Russian bogeyman, outraged Democrats turned their focus to how Trump’s administration interfered with the special counsel investigation that was set against him. Nevermind that its premise had just been shown to be a fallacy.
The House Judiciary Committee is now fighting the White House to conduct its own wide-reaching investigation into the 2016 election, searching for any wrongdoing on the president’s part they can find. The committee investigation is casting aside Mueller’s findings and interviewing many of the same witnesses all over again.
If the special counsel couldn’t provoke President Trump to criminally obstruct his investigation, then maybe Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)—chairman of the House Judiciary Committee—can do better. The more Trump resists these ploys, and the more he complains on Twitter, the more the Democrats believe they are inching toward their goal—to declare that Trump has done something that makes him impeachable. If that doesn’t work, well, at least make Trump look as though he isn’t re-electable.
Just this last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) glowered as she patronized the president, saying, “I pray for the president of the United States.” The game is to portray that Trump has been rendered unstable by the Dems’ repeated provocations and Trump had abruptly walked out of a planning meeting in the Oval Office.
Both the House Financial Services Committee and House Intelligence Committee issued separate subpoenas seeking access to the same financial records from nine banks and financial institutions that have done business with President Trump, to what end is still unclear.
So what exactly are Democrats accusing the president of doing?
It seems they don’t know, at least not yet anyway. If any of these investigations turn up evidence that the president has done something untoward, we’ll surely hear about it.
In the meantime, the media prognosticators can return to their daily regimen of ridiculing the president and hope that someone’s still listening to them.