Welcome to “Behind The Blue Curtain”, Volume 1. #BTBC is an unsafe space where I send cold, hard, unadulterated messaging guidance and advice to Democratic voters, operatives, professionals, candidates, and elected officials.
Without further ado let’s go!
With regards to the Mueller Report, first and foremost Democrats need to focus on behaving completely different from our friends on the Republican side: follow evidence, accept facts, and move forward.
If you truly care about our party and our Republic you will not behave like the President and his sycophants who have attacked the character and integrity of Robert Mueller and are still typing “WHAT ABOUT BENGHAZI?” in all quotes.
Second point here, not every book, movie, play, or diet ends the way we want it to. As patriotic people of principle, based on what we know about the Mueller Report at this point, it doesn’t have the climatic, dramatic Matlock moment that points the irrefutable finger of certain conviction at the President.
While no impeachment may be disappointing, the best thing I can advise you? Build a bridge and get over it!
Keep in mind that the Special Counsel was never designed to uncover wrongdoing or result in impeachment, but to come in as an independent third party, ask questions, follow the evidence, and seek indictment when appropriate; in that regard the Special Counsel’s investigation has been extraordinarily successful.
Third point of reference: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been perhaps our best messenger prior to the release of the report, stating at a presser just two weeks ago,
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
So, what do you say?
That’s simple: talk about our values and our priorities. Democrats are notoriously bad at speaking in bumper stickers no matter how many times we are confronted with data urging us in that direction.
So, where to go from here in terms of messaging? Most often we need to consider what the other side will say and how our comments contrast to theirs and highlight the differences in our values and ethics as Democrats.
The Republicans and collaborators will spike the football like they won the Superbowl. They will parrot the President calling this a “hoax”, a “witch hunt”, and a “waste of tax dollars”. Our messaging needs to counter that in a very commonsense way.
Here are five important points to express online, offline, on the record, over the bar stool next to you, and in the very vibes you put out to the world:
1) It is shameful that we needed a Special Counsel to begin with. In the next election we have the chance to elect a President who will make us proud as a country and reset the standard for ethics and public discourse.
2) The overwhelming majority of people giving their hot takes haven’t even read the report. The first question out of your mouth/thumbs should be, “Have you read the report?” It was perhaps the most effective Republican argument against voting for Obamacare and will be an effective argument here. If they haven’t read the report there hot take is invalid.
3) The Special Counsel did his job very well: he asked questions, followed the evidence, and earned indictments when appropriate. Thirty-four people and 3 companies were either indicted, convicted, or pled guilty. Furthermore, there will likely be many more brought down as investigations continue through third-parties and House investigations.
4) The Mueller Report doesn’t change anything. It may have not determined that the President colluded with Russia or committed high crimes and misdemeanors, but it did not absolve him from being the most prolific liar in the history of 1600 Pennsylvania, lowering public discourse to an embarrassing level, destroying our standing globally, destabilizing global markets, and adding more to our national debt in 2 years than his predecessor did in 8 years.
5) This is far from over. Information gleaned from this investigation will inform dozens or House investigations that will get to the bottom of Jared Kushner’s security clearance and his off the official record communications with global leaders that may have enriched him, whether or not the emoluments clause was violated, and if Donald Trump violated dozens of federal laws by lying about his financial position in order to obtain billions in loans.
The bottom line for Democrats is this: get over your disappointment and get refocused on 2020. The President is out of step with a majority of Americans on gun safety, income inequality, health care, equality, the deficit and debt, and basic human decency.
We’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s go.