Democratic Party leaders in Ohio are encouraging organizers to focus on important issues unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments and investigation over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
As Mueller’s counsel brings the first indictments against people connected with President Donald Trump Monday, Ohio Democrats want to make the focus for the next few years about the economy, jobs, and issues that affect ordinary Americans.
“Let me just put it this way: We don’t spend a lot of time around here talking about Vladimir Putin and James Comey,” David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic party, told The Washington Post. “I’m as frustrated as anyone by what Comey did and that Putin interfered, and Congress should get to the bottom of that, but if that’s what we talk about … we will lose again.”
Mueller’s investigation began as a probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the grand jury he empaneled in Washington, D.C., has the authority to bring indictments for any wrongdoing that the investigation uncovers.
Democrats across the country are looking at how to reinvigorate their base for the midterms in 2018, and Pepper believes that Democratic activists are more energized now than during 2016. “Democrats are more energized than they were a year ago,” Pepper told WaPo.
Ohio went to Trump in the 2016 presidential election even though the swing state had supported Obama in the two previous elections. Pepper predicts that the 2018 mid-term elections will be like 1982, when Democrats swooped to take the senate and governorship two years after the state went for President Ronald Reagan by double digits.
“We have a bounce-back pattern in Ohio, and we’re seeing a lot of the same elements now that probably happened then,” Pepper said.
Mueller’s investigation has resulted in two indictments so far. The first round of indictments unsealed Monday allege that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, another former Trump campaign staffer, worked for Ukrainian interests without disclosing the work to the government, and laundered the money earned from that work to avoid detection.
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