I’m going to make a bold guess: If you asked most liberals a month ago what the reaction would be to the Mueller report’s release, they probably wouldn’t have said, “Trump supporters literally dancing in the streets and waving Confederate flags.”
And yet that is exactly what happened over the weekend, when Robert Mueller ended his lengthy investigation into the president’s shenanigans by more or less saying, “The guys looks shady but I can’t definitively prove it.”
Yes, the president was neither indicted, nor forced to testify (and almost certainly perjure himself). The fact that the GOP somehow celebrates these developments as a “victory” shows how abysmally low the bar has been set for Trump.
In any case, for nearly two years, liberals have been hoping — even predicting — that Mueller would uncover nefarious crimes so appalling, so brazen and shocking, that even the president’s die-hard enablers in Congress would be forced to admit, “You’re right. This lunatic has got to go.” And just like that, we would be rid of Trump forever, and every guy wearing a MAGA hat would fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness, while promising to never, ever question progressives again.
Instead, smug right-wingers are shrieking, “Exonerated!” — even though the report summary clearly says it “does not exonerate him.”
Yeah, the GOP isn’t so good with the details.
What Republicans are excellent at, however, is whipping up racial animosity, tapping into authoritarian impulses, and smothering objective facts under a frothy mix of conspiratorial thinking and anti-intellectual disdain.
Because of this, many commentators have pointed out that:
Mueller’s report was never going to deliver easy justice, because even if it somehow got Trump kicked out of office, the factors that put him there in the first place, or what has been unleashed since his malice-laced campaign, wouldn’t suddenly evaporate.
If it’s true that the fabled white working class needed a savior in the form of Trump, then it is also true that many progressives cast Mueller in the same role. Perhaps it is a human need, therefore, to believe that one white knight in shining armor will ride over the mountain, vex our idealogical enemies, and make everything right and pure again.
But let’s be honest — when has that ever been reality?
In truth, as Luke Darby writes for GQ, “Trump won the 2016 election largely because of deep problems with the U.S. and American democracy that all preceded his candidacy,” and even if this xenophobic megalomaniac “vanished from the White House tomorrow, none of these problems would go with him.”
Next year, Americans will vote for president. Currently, about 40 percent of Americans approve of a guy who has coddled dictators and neo-Nazis. They like the man who has denigrated every demographic other than white men. They admire the chief executive who still doesn’t know how the government works, and whose own advisors regularly question his sanity, intelligence, and competence.
Clearly, no white knight is coming to convince those 40 percent of Americans they are wrong.
Featured image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr