Opinion

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Reality Check

Securing 2020

If Democrats can't develop appeal to independents and moderates, President Trump will skate into a second term

After two years and $25 million, the Mueller investigation has concluded. No further indictments will be issued. The special prosecutor did not find sufficient evidence substantiating collusion with Russia. And while Congress may want to go forward with claims of obstruction of justice, that charge is perilously weak as it is a result of how the investigation occurred (much like the Flynn charge of lying to the FBI), not any criminality associated with the 2016 election. At the end of the day, President Donald Trump and his family have been vindicated.

Since it appears the Democratic Party placed all of its 2020 election eggs in the “collusion with Russia” basket, the Democrats need a “Plan B” message ASAP.

Messaging from the current candidates seems to be focused on “I have better character than Trump,” a specious claim at best (ahem, Bill Clinton), and a losing election argument. The truth is, the American public votes with its pocketbook. Americans look past perceived or real moral turpitude when the economy is booming, folks are working, and we are safe. If the economy continues to hum, and no foreign terrorist attacks occur on American soil between now and 2020, President Trump is virtually assured reelection.

So as the Democrats continue to condemn President Trump for his moral failings and Twitter gaffes, the Republican message of less taxes, less regulation, less government, more prosperity, and greater national security will continue to thrive. The Democrats are a party without a consistent message, and not a single Democratic contender for the White House has been able to adequately formulate a strategy that inspires independents and disenchanted Republicans to alter the current administration.

The monkey wrench that could negatively affect the president’s reelection prospects is his current tariff policy. The tariff experiment is risky, and it may ultimately work to even the trade playing field. But if results aren’t realized in the next six months, the president may need to reconsider his tariff strategy, else lose a large part of his base and the critical “flyover” portion of the country that secured his 2016 election.

Democrats are not winning on any policy issue; even the issues typically grounded in the Democratic wheelhouse – criminal justice reform and student loan debt – are being usurped by President Trump. And since the socialist wing of the Democratic Party is getting a tremendous amount of attention, most Americans (including moderate Democrats) are turned off and fear the party will be usurped by the socialist wing. In the absence of clear and convincing evidence of corruption, if the Democrats cannot develop a cohesive call to action that appeals to independents and moderates President Trump will skate into a second term.

Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.