In my experience, in every leadership race, every party official picks sides. They want to keep their job, so they have a perhaps-understandable tendency to oscillate towards the perceived winner. Happens all the time.
That said, a few observations about the Democratic Party’s “scandal,” which – when compared to the fun-loving cross burning ceremonies in Cleveland last week, resembles a gathering of septuagenarian Rotarians in a dry state – as follows:
- the emails about Bernie Sanders’ religion, or lack thereof, are despicable and simply outrageous – and more heads than Wasserman-Shultz’s need to roll
- the elephant in the room isn’t an elephant: it’s a bear, the Russian one – and it is now clear that Russia is actively working in concert with pro-Putin Donald Trump (and whose campaign boss is a Putin lobbyist)
This stuff isn’t a scandal. It’s an opportunity.
One, by forcing the controversial Wasserman-Shultz to walk the plank, Hillary Clinton showed herself to be decisive and in-control. That isn’t what we witnessed with Donald Trump last week: he sees nothing wrong in maintaining the support of really bad people.
Two, Trump clearly is hoping to define himself as an authoritarian nationalist, rather like his pal Putin. But by edging too close to the Russian dictator – and by actually acting as Putin’s surrogate with the DNC leaks – Trump further risks splintering the GOP base, which is made up of people who grew up detesting and fighting Mother Russia, and who still see value in NATO.
Three, we have now entered an alternate universe where the Democrats are the anti-Russia party, and the Republicans are the ones who are soft on Soviet-style expansionism. It opens up a world of possibility for Hillary, wherein she scoops up bushels of pro-military Republicans, many of whom were already appalled by what Trump has said about POWs.
Donald Trump is working overtime to engineer his own defeat in November. All that would save him, at this point, is an October Surprise. And I’ll have more to say about that later.