- - Thursday, April 26, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Never throw anything away. You never know what might return to high fashion. When the Gore-Lieberman ticket sank in the presidential election of the year 2000 many Democrats refused to let the ticket die in the flood of “chads” — remember those? — that littered the Florida landscape. “Sore Loserman” blossomed on mocking T-shirts and bumperstickers. Now the Democrats can’t let go of another disappointing election.

This time they’re harping on a variety of imagined Republican evils — sexism, white supremacy, collusion, voter suppression, the electoral college, and fake news are cited to explain their loss. They’ve blamed Bernie Sanders, the deplorables, and above all Russian President Vladimir Putin for the sacking of Hillary Clinton. There’s just no way the people could have chosen Donald Trump over the virgin queen. The 2016 campaign simply could not have been a free and fair election.

Now the Democrats are putting more money where their mouths are. The party filed a lawsuit last week in Manhattan against the Russian government, Wikileaks and the 2016 Trump campaign. Their suit says the Trump campaign engaged in a “racketeering enterprise” by co-ordinating a collusion by Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. For over a year the Democrats have cited the hacking of John Podesta’s emails, and later, the Democratic National Committee server, as evidence of “collusion.” The Democrats themselves refused to turn over the hacked server to the FBI for a thorough investigation, but, well, that’s different.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee said in announcing the suit. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: The campaign of a nominee for president of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency.”

The DNC is looking around for manufactured outrage that can be monetized to pay for this summer’s congressional races. There are several investigations going on already in search of Kremlin-Trump collusion, beginning with the marquee special by Robert Mueller. It would make far more logical sense to wait until that investigation concludes before unleashing more lawyers. Pressed on this point, Mr. Perez said he doesn’t know when Mr. Mueller’s investigation will end, “nor would I ever ask him because I want him to do a good, thorough job.” (Of course he does.)

Even if someone could prove collusion, a very big “if” indeed, that still wouldn’t prove that the collusion affected the election returns. The candidates’ positions on immigration, taxes, the war against terrorists, and Hillary Clinton’s own private email server scandal must have had something to do with the result. But the Democratic lawyers can relax. They’re not expected to win in a courtroom. This is a stunt to satisfy the Democratic base, where doubts and fears are growing that Mr. Mueller will not come through with the promise of terminating the Trump administration with extreme prejudice.

The lawsuit is an attempt to cure what ails Democratic fundraising. Tom Perez has presided over anemic fundraising even as President Trump continues to encourage furious opposition on the left. It’s quite an achievement, to raise so little money when there’s so much energy abroad in the land. With little chance of winning, the lawsuit will further deplete the Democratic treasury. The lawyers will see to that.

The lawsuit is likely to hurt Democratic campaign prospects, as evidenced by the fact that Democrats hither and yon are trying to distance themselves from the suit, like Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, running for re-election in a state that President Trump won handily.

“When Joe travels around the state to listen to Hoosier concerns, he hears about the need for more good-paying jobs, protecting access to affordable healthcare, and addressing the opioid crisis,” Mr. Donnelly’s communications director tells The Washington Examiner. “He doesn’t hear anything about the DNC suing Russia and the Trump campaign.” Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, struggling in another Trump state, agrees, and calls the suit a “silly distraction.” David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Barack Obama, says the suit is a “sideshow” that is “spectacularly ill-timed” and will aid President Trump’s portrayal of the Mueller investigation as a partisan vendetta.”

A lawsuit to relieve the pain of losing an election is a novel cure, and not likely to be an effective one. Bringing back a Sore-Loserman crying towel, another aspirin or even a draught of an opioid elixir would be far more effective.


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