House Democrats ponder throwing in the towel on Trump oversight, letting voters bail out the nation

House Democrats are not exactly presenting profiles in courage these days, generally putting the impetus for stopping Donald Trump on voters. Well, gang, we're all exhausted. But you can't just count on voters to bail you out. There's real impetus against Trump right now, yes, but motivating people to vote for something is just as important.

It's important because it sets up the momentum for a Joe Biden/Kamala Harris administration to jump in full throttle in January. It's also important because they're letting Team Trump get away with murder, literally and figuratively. Some investigations into the cozy deals Clown Prince Jared has been making using taxpayers’ dollars to fight the coronavirus would be one place to start. Attorney General William Barr's systematic dismantling of the rule of law is a pretty important one, too. So is enforcing the House's own subpoena power over Trump officials who aren't even legally officials! But House Democrats are projecting an entirely bad attitude.

Daily Beast reporter Sam Brodey says a question posed to Rep. Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat, about Trump administration efforts to paper over Russian interference in the election lead to a "disbelieving chuckle. Which then morphed into a full-on fake sob, played up for effect." And then this statement: “Impeachment is the tool the Constitution gives us to deal with serious abuse of power in between elections. […] When you're two months from an election […] the American people are going to have their say very, very soon.” So you don't raise holy hell about Russian interference in an election that's very, very soon because that election is so soon? Bullshit, not to put too fine a point on it.

At the suggestion that the House has reached the limits of its oversight powers, Michigan Democratic Rep. Dale Kildee said that “It feels that way sometimes,” then gave this contradictory explanation: “but I obviously think we still have to pursue every avenue, turn over every rock […] I mean, right now, it's pretty much in the hands of the American people.” Which is it? Turning over the rocks and exposing what we all need to see, or handing it over to voters? The House is the only institution we've got right now that can put Trump's malfeasance on display every single day until the election and prove to voters that 1) he's got to go; and 2) we need a Democratic Senate as well as House to tackle the enormous destruction he's wrought.

An unnamed Democratic aide was less careful about expressing the attitude in the caucus. They told The Daily Beast that Democrats are "finally confident" Trump will be voted out, and thus are mostly trying to "avoid Trump shit." Apart from trying to get further COVID-19 relief passed, doing much else is not on their radar, "even among members of the key committees that have led oversight for the past two years. 'The election is a month out. […] Most members are focused on putting their heads down and getting reelected.'"

The exhaustion is certainly understandable, but the certainty that Trump will be voted out is taking a little too much for granted and maybe, just maybe, the Democratic base needs to see Democrats keeping up the fight. For one thing, exposing Trump's corruption and keeping it in the spotlight could act as a deterrent for Trump to fight the election results, one thing that House Democrats are increasingly alarmed about. Maryland's Jamie Raskin is one of them. “In the age of Donald Trump, if we have learned nothing else it is that we must be prepared for the worst,” said Raskin. “We have to just go out and fight. We need to create a landslide election that cannot be stolen, and then we need to counter all of the propaganda and disinformation, and then we need to put all of our best lawyers in a position to block the efforts to obstruct the election.”

Both of those things are necessary. Preparing for that is necessary. Putting all of Trump's wrongdoing out in front of the public before, during, and after Nov. 3 is a key way of doing it. It's also giving a head start on what has to happen next year: prosecutions of Trump officials who have misused public funds and betrayed the public trust.

There's also the part about how the people's branch of government has to become that again, reassert its coequal power, and start fighting an out-of-control executive branch. It failed to do that with the Bush/Cheney regime and look where we ended up. There is going to have to be a reckoning and there's no time like the present to start preparing for it.