Democrats: Stop Counting on Scandal

First off, let me just say that aside from self defense, I never condone individual acts of violence of any kind, period. Seeing as the “bodyslam” story appears to be holding up, I would argue Gianforte should probably resign. That said, this is a tepid opinion at best. I see this more as an issue for Montana and not a major story up for national discussion.

Mainly, this seems like a good moment to comment on a rising trend in the liberal wings of our political ecosystem. Call it what you want — scandal media, tabloid politics, partisan news — but it is hard to deny that there is a growing current of crisis-hunting, at least in terms of the types of stories being promoted by the American left. This is not a new trend and it’s not unique to the left at all, but that is where the biggest growth has been in recent months. From Michael Flynn to Bill O’Reilly, Democrats have been in full-blown “takedown mode” since January 20th.

But if the Gianforte incident teaches us anything, it’s that the Democratic party’s problems will not be solved by scandals, provable or otherwise. Even when we have an audio recording and confirmation from FOX News reporters who were in the room, even when any reasonable pragmatist would admit Gianforte should not hold office, the man still won the election. In response, Democrats may feel inclined to push these issues even harder — and it’s honestly hard to blame them — but even if Gianforte were removed from office, a Democrat replacement would still be unlikely. All the time and energy spent on this issue is almost certainly not going to produce an outcome that will be satisfying to liberals. The same can be said for most of the other scandal targets as well: replacing the individual is unlikely to have the desired effect on the system.

But the problem is still worse than that. This appetite for outrage is not just pointless, but actively harmful too. The nonstop bickering and partisan sniping only continues to erode what’s left of America’s good faith. We already have a hard time assessing and fixing our problems, but the constant partisan noise drowns out some very necessary conversations about real issues facing this country right now: things like the AHCA and tax reform, yes, but also hidden stories like the impending subprime auto-loan crisis and worrisome trends in the retail job market.

The takeaway? Try to focus on principles, not people. Attack ideas instead of ideologues. Scandals will come up; we can be sure of that. And we should comment on them when we feel compelled. But overall, we should try to stick to things that are truly objectionable and, more importantly, actionable. That’s where the real stuff is, and there’s plenty of work to be done.

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