- - Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sometimes the defeated deserve pity, but sometimes only retaliation satisfies. The Democrats have no use for the venerable adage that “politics is the art of persuasion,” preferring the stone-cold counsel of Niccolo Machiavelli: “Politics have no relations to morals.” Determined to reach for every bad thing in their determination to recapture the White House, they set out to prove Machiavelli right.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has demanded the Trump administration give up documents from 81 persons who have had close or even distant contact with President Trump since his 2016 inauguration, about everything and anything concerning the hiring and firing of administration personnel and, of course, anything to do with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The search for the unicorn continues.

Mr. Nadler has targeted members of the president’s family, including his sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump; key figures in Robert Mueller’s investigation of “Russian collusion” to cook the 2016 election, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, and the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice and the FBI. Has he left anyone out? What about the superintendent of the motor pool at the State Department? Or the keeper of the bedpans at the Veterans hospitals?

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“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” says Mr. Nadler. “This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts. That is exactly what we intend to do.”

Bravo, except for the fact that not so much as an ant has crawled along Pennsylvania Avenue in the direction of the White House without the special counsel’s team of sleuths screening the past of that hapless ant for a link to Moscow. Democrats seem to be mired in a slough of despond (it’s a tributary of the swamp), despairing that Mr. Mueller will get the goods that will restore Hillary Clinton to the White House, where she can pick up the fragments of the lamps she threw at Bubba. They’re counting on Mr. Nadler to keep hope alive.

Just as vertically challenged folk can only hope that someone will arrive at the gym to lower the rim enabling them to slam-dunk the ball, the parade of “progressive” presidential wannabes can only pray that Mr. Nadler will find something anything to halt the president’s momentum toward a second term. Policy-wise, there will be no contest: Democrats’ socialist apologetics, the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, legalization of pot and prostitution, and tax the rich and the not-so-rich against the president’s across-all-classes jobs explosion, the energy revolution, border-security offensive, middle-class tax cuts and China trade reinvention.

Despite his own considerable woes, the Donald appears to be savoring the coming presidential campaign, eager for voters to measure his brand against the Democratic brand. “They’re embracing open borders, socialism and extreme late-term abortion,” he told a pumped-up crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference the other day at a suburb of Washington. “We are going to be here for six more years,” he said. “We believe in the American dream — not in the socialist nightmare.”

Despite taking the House last year, hope is a fragile thing on which to base great expectations. The Daily Beast, no friend of the president or his party, studied past elections and concludes that an incumbent president with a 44 percent approval rating has a 70 percent chance of re-election. Twenty months before the 2020 election, Mr. Trump’s approval currently stands at 43.9 percent, according to Real Clear Politics’ aggregate of 11 national polls.

History shows that one-term presidents are usually undone by an unpopular war, like Lyndon Johnson’s war in Vietnam, or an economic downturn, like that suffered by George Bush the Elder. Mr. Trump surprised critics who wrongly assumed his initially hard stance on North Korea would brand him nuclear cowboy, but it didn’t and he has hovered over a reinvigorated U.S. economy like a protective parent. If he falls into a trap set by Democrats it will have to be a better one than we have seen so far.

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