Here is an incontrovertible fact: the NRA spent four times as much money in support of Donald Trump and congressional republican campaigns in 2016 than it spent in 2012. Where did they get all of that extra money? It did not come in from some massive fund-raising effort. There is widely reported evidence that the money came in from Russia. This is part of the reason Maria Butina was arrested.
Let’s compare this one little factual nugget from the Trump/Russia scandal to the Hillary email scandal. Hillary’s emails are words that are burned into the minds of most Americans, but fair-minded people agree there is more evidence of serious wrongdoing on the part of Trump’s 2016 election bid, than there is evidence of Hillary Clinton’s wrongdoing with emails. Yet, in 2015, the year before the 2016 election, one poll showed 75 percent of Americans thought Clinton’s use of private emails was a big deal. Now, in 2019 none of Trump’s many scandals show the same level of concern among the American public that Hillary’s emails did.
While many many Democratic pundits believe it is because Trump’s base is loyal, and nothing he could do will dissuade them from their support of him, this is not necessarily true. The many Trump supporters I know do not understand the Trump-Russia scandal, and they believe he has been exonerated.
Republicans developed simple and short talking points about Hillary’s emails, and they repeated the points often. Whenever exonerating information came out about Hillary, they doubled down instead of backing off. This is how they effectively shape public opinion. Yet, with all the damning information rolling in every day about the Trump administration, many Democrats think it is better for Democrats to move off of the Trump corruption and the Trump-Russia connections and instead concentrate solely on the Democratic platform. Keep in mind this is advice that Republicans never follow.
If the tables were turned and this type of scandal affected a Democratic President, Fox News would not be so easily dissuaded from nonstop coverage and pronouncements of guilt. Democrats and liberal leaning media outlets have not done a good job driving home the message of the corruption of the 2016 election and the Trump administration. Democrats need to distill the Trump corruption message into a few key, understandable talking points, and they need to drive the message home. This corruption is too big, too important and too deep to let Trump get away with it.
Cheryl Kelley lives in the DC area with her husband and young son. She is active in government and politics.