11 April 2019
By J R Thomas
Who would be a novelist in these times? Not a political novelist for sure. Mr Trollope would have never got into writing the Palliser set if he had been instead writing the Corbyn set, or the Trump set. Mr Cameron he might just have managed – after all Mr C has a Barchester sort of background and Mrs May is indeed the daughter of a clergyman. But Donald Trump? Not even Trollope could have possibly managed a Trumpian figure. Let alone the complexity of a plot to suit our Donald and his coach load of potential opponents for the 2020 Presidential election.
A coach load who have fallen into rather a subdued frame of mind in the last couple of weeks. For those distracted by the swooping and swerving of Brexit events, we will quickly recap. William Barr, Mr T’s Attorney General, released two weeks ago a summary of Robert Mueller’s report on alleged collusion between Russian politicians and Mr Trump to swing the result of the 2016 election Mr Trump’s way. (Those with close memories will recall that in numbers terms Mr Trump lost, by almost 3 million votes, a margin of 2%, but the singularities of the electoral college system gave him victory. But so malignant do the Democrats (and some Republicans) apparently think Mr T to be, they find it more appealing to investigate Russian conspiracies than look at the mis-firing of the electoral college.) Mr Barr’s summary reveals the horrible and depressing truth. There was no collusion.
Shouts of “But…” and “What the f…” from a few Democrats, a crafty smile from The Donald, and then silence. Not for long. There are those who simply don’t believe it because Donald is obviously the Anti-Christ. There are those who don’t believe Mr Barr because he is obviously busy cutting out all the bits of the report that prove the Trump campaign was awash with roubles and Russian website interference. There are those who have moved on – to try to prosecute Mr Trump’s family, or his advisors, or look at his tax returns or his business activities in the 1980’s or his parking ticket fines or whether he scribbled on other kid’s drawings at school. Nobody has yet suggested Mr Mueller has been paid off by the Trump Organisation – in used rouble notes of course – but they will within a few days, no doubt.
Now, it is true that Mr Barr’s summary is very short, and that the full report has not yet been released, and will have been redacted by the Attorney General’s office when it is. And it is possible that wherever Mr Mueller put “has” Mr Barr has in error written “has not”. But it seems unlikely that Mr Barr, who after all is the senior non-judicial lawyer of the land, has given a summary of the content of the report so misleading it has reversed its meaning, or that the Mueller team would not have protested by some means had he done so. The horrible truth that has to be faced is that there really is going to be nothing to see here. And Mr Trump, praising American justice, has cottoned on very quickly to what this means. Which is, that his pre and post electoral victory allegations of the establishment endlessly conspiring against the ordinary people and those who speak for them, seem to be well founded. Who will believe Democrat politicians on any subject now? The intelligentsia? The Washington Post? For the time at least, they look like a bunch of hoity toity privileged rich folk trying to force out a populist President. Oh, whoops indeed.
So how do the Democrats win in 2020 now? One thing we might suggest, if they were willing to pay our very modest advisory fees, is to start advocating positive policies and stop attacking the President. OK, that’s really two things. But they are linked and a Mrs T May, of Maidenhead, UK, says that that is good advice, albeit a little late for her. “Play the ball and not the man” she says. But the Democrats are not listening. Indeed, when not trying to get the boot in a Trump direction, they are busy kicking each other.
The latest victim of this playground violence is former Obama vice-President, Joe Biden. Mr Biden’s policies and suggestions as to the shape of his Presidential campaign are not yet public – mainly because he has not said he is running. That has not stopped a highly personal attempt to trip the man up. The wire being used for this is that cheesecutter of modern times, the failure to accord with MeToo standards, albeit long before the movement arose. Several ladies, or women if you prefer – Mr Biden prefers “ladies” – have come forward to say that Mr Biden has in the past touched them inappropriately. That is to say, a kiss on the cheek, a hand on the arm, a lingering hug, a pat on the back. Several more ladies – women – have come forward to say that he in the past used to do that because he is a lovely and tactile person, a comfort in sorrow and a supporter in success, and they found it an appealing feature of him. Joe says that he has never once touched a woman with any form of sexual connotation or intent and is horrified to think that he is misunderstood, and will be more mindful of sensitivities in the future. But his opponents, and media, including the New York Times and Daily Mail, are now calling him Creepy Uncle Joe. Who would run for office in these times? Possibly not Mr Biden, and there goes one of their best hopes of defeating Uncle Donald.
There are 17 candidates running at the moment (including Mr Biden, who isn’t), although 10 of those are below the polling levels of that oddly named candidate “Somebody Else”. Mr or Ms Else is the preference of those who want a Democrat president but not one of the sixteen on the pollsters list. It is early days yet, of course, though maybe not for Mr Trump who thanks to the Democrats must have the Republican nomination pretty much sewn up at this point, but the danger to the Democrat’s chances can be demonstrated very easily. Top poller on 33% is Joe Biden (aged 76) not yet a candidate, second is Bernie Sanders (age 77) on 25% who is not a Democrat, and third is Elizabeth Warren on 7%. Will Joe run now? Would you? His wife and daughter died in a car crash, his son died of cancer, he did a lot of unrecognised hard work for Mr Obama. Now he is accused of being friendly, tactile, and human. Really, would you go through this? Why does anybody normal…
Knock out Joe and his old core Democrat rustbelt support and consider Sanders versus Trump (aged 72). This column has nothing against Bernie – indeed one almost cannot help but admire the old firebrand – but an Independent self described socialist (albeit on the Democrat platform) running against The Donald? It is possible to mess that sort of dead cert up of course, and in fact our regular correspondent Mrs T May of Maidenhead has once again written to give examples of how, but it takes real application. In the meantime, put your bets on Donald. He looks a cert.