In the midst of the political chaos this week, I have been thinking long and hard about the 2018 election. Why? Because it should be blindingly obvious by now that Republicans will not turn against Trump. And why should they? They know with him in power they will get to build prisons, slash social spending, and cut taxes for the wealthy. Basically, they will get their whole program passed, and that's all these ideologues care about.
Trump's opponents need to stop wasting time trying to cajole these conservative true believers and concentrate on how to vote them out of office, the only permanent remedy available. Doing this is harder than it may seem, because while Trump may be unpopular, gerrymandering and voter suppression and low voter turnout in midterms make this a difficult proposition.
There's also the difficulty of messaging. The scandals play well with Democratic voters, obviously, but you won't get independents with promises of impeachment. The health care bill is massively unpopular, making it a much more fertile ground to plow in the election. However, this did not mean giving up on Russiagate.
The two can be melded very effectively. Democrats simply need to tell the voters that "The Republicans are not going after Trump on Russia because they want to take away your health care and give the money to the rich." That needs to be the mantra. Voters must be told again and again that they are going to lose health insurance or pay a lot more for it so that the wealthiest people get even more money. And adding that this is the priority, not investigating Russia, keeps that issue around in the minds of voters who care about it more.
If the Democrats really want to be daring, they should offer Medicare For All. That will free them from having to defend the status quo, and also offer something tangible that would greatly benefit the majority of Americans.
Contrary to what some might say, Russia and economic critique are not mutually exclusive issues. They can, and should be combined, and if they are the Democrats will have a potent message.