Former Clinton campaigner Jennifer Palmieri writes about the Clinton campaign’s general inability to stir interest, from voters or media, in evidence that Russia was meddling in the 2016 election campaign in the U.S.
Her op-ed in the Washington Post isn’t sour grapes, but a a warning.
All of us — the press, Congress, the public, the administration — are still guilty of the soft complicity of low expectations. As president, Trump does and says outrageous and false things every week, from ordering arbitrary travel bans to accusing President Obama of illegal wiretapping with no evidence. The Russia charges blend in, making it all too easy to treat them as just the latest thing the president has blustered his way through. I understand how difficult it is to put the threat in the right context. We trod lightly at times during the campaign because it sounded too fantastic to be credible, too complicated to absorb.
In another era, Americans would have been able to count on both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to stand up to this kind of threat. A lot of Democrats like to play the “If we were Republicans” game. I usually hate it; I don’t want to behave like the Republicans do. But it’s useful here. If Clinton had won with the help of the Russians, the Republicans would have impeachment proceedings underway for treason. No doubt. Instead, dealing with Russia falls nearly solely on Democrats’ shoulders.
But Democrats can break out of the Catch-22 of the campaign: If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us. Polls show that voters are now concerned about the Russia story and overwhelmingly support an independent, bipartisan commission to take over this investigation. Members of Congress should use every procedural tool available to force votes on such a commission. Don’t let business continue on Capitol Hill without insisting at every opportunity that our nation should resolve the Russia matter. Filibustering Neil Gorsuch is a good start. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is right that it would be “unseemly” to move forward with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court by a president whose campaign is under an active FBI investigation.
I’m with her.