Polarization: Why Mueller Can’t Fix This One
Social Media Map of Polarized American Polity
1. A person who illicitly "cleans up" after crimes.
2. A person who "can get things done", usually illegal. An example of "getting things done" can be intimidating or getting rid of witnesses or evidence of a crime.
The Mueller investigation is likely doomed to fail if he can’t “fix” the existing conflict of counter-narratives in the dueling versions of “Russiagate.” Unless the Special Prosecutor’s Inquest succeeds in producing an overwhelming bipartisan consensus that Donald Trump was unfairly elected, and that Trump knowingly and willfully “colluded” with Russia, Robert Mueller will have failed to fix the scandal so that the episode is settled without further political conflict.
Achieving a political consensus is the hurdle that the Special Counsel must clear in order to succeed.
There is, at present, no such consensus emerging, just further political polarization. If America remains polarized, continued efforts to remove Donald Trump will result only in deeper hostilities along partisan lines, hostilities that spill over into violence.
Against a background of intense political polarization, rising social violence, acts of political murder, and widely perceived economic injustice, Democratic efforts to Impeach Trump risk a wider civil insurrection. That is the danger that Mueller was tasked to fix or disarm. Only a political consensus will deactivate the live bomb that is “Russiagate”.
Unless there is some huge surprise contained in the Special Counsel’s report – something that has not to this date been leaked or even hinted at -- it does not look like the fix will work this time for Robert Mueller. Without delivering a consensus that Trump essentially committed treason, and Hillary Clinton (along with the American people) was merely a victim of a treasonous plot, Trump will stay, and Mueller will have failed.
Unlike 9/11 and Iran-Contra, major scandals that Mueller had a key role as prosecutor or FBI Director in fixing (rightly or wrongly), there is no American political consensus that has emerged about Russiagate. Without the key element of agreement on a singular narrative that a specific foreign actor or set of unified actors “caused” an electoral miscarriage, there can be no political consensus in this episode.
Right now, there are two clashing narratives, one Democratic and the other Republican, about Russiagate, and until they are finally resolved one way of the other, Russiagate will remain politically contested.
The familiar Russiagate narrative (D-MSM version) is that figures within the Trump campaign knowingly worked with Russian sources through Wikileaks to sabotage the Clinton campaign by releasing the DNC/Podesta emails. Outrage at the revealed duplicity and dirty-tricks committed by the Clinton campaign to unfairly gain the Democratic nomination alienated enough voters so that they stayed home or voted third party on Election Day, which was the defining reason for Clinton’s failure. That’s one contested narrative.
The dueling R-Conservative media version of Russiagate also involves a conspiracy by a political campaign to employ assets and information obtained by foreign intelligence officers to sabotage a Presidential campaign. In this contesting narrative, however, it was MI-6 and Ukrainian officials who worked with the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and corrupt Justice Department and FBI officials – the Fusion-GPS conspiracy -- to set-up, spy on, and sabotage the opposing Presidential Campaign. That complementary version of the facts - and they have not been refuted as evidence - must be annihilated or it will spoil the consensus.
If one accepts the facts presented by both narratives, campaign laws and ethics rules were broken by both campaigns. If we disbelieve both sets of facts, Trump was elected fairly and should not be removed. In either case, that produces a political Net-Zero. That outcome militates in favor of sustaining the electoral status quo.
In fact, the two narratives can’t be reconciled by Mueller in any way that makes political sense to enough Americans to succeed at producing a political consensus as to the facts. Mueller hasn’t even begun to address the election meddling and dirty-tricks that resulted from Fusion-GPS and the Steele Memo. Without a vastly and improbable expansion of the Mueller probe, there will be a political stalemate. That could quickly become very dangerous under current political, social, and economic conditions in the United States.
Any effort by one side or the other to act can only be viewed as illegitimate by a sizable part of the polity producing pushback and a failure of normal legal mechanisms of government. At this point, under prevailing conditions, serious effort by either side to remove from office or penalize the other could provoke a violent reaction by extremists – under current conditions, that could quickly escalate to political Instability and Civil Conflict, according to the prevailing model that is employed by the CIA to predict regime change. See below. That outcome would present a clear failure on Mueller’s part.
The reason for that is that the country remains divided roughly down the middle along party lines on these questions. Political polarization was cited recently as the number one national security threat by a survey of 588 foreign policy opinion leaders, most viewing it as a greater danger than Russian influence in American elections. https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/415881-political-polarizat....
Furthermore, according to Pew Poll released in September, Mueller's investigation, itself, has become a polarizing force. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/24/views-of-muellers-invest... It is not surprising, therefore, that we now see the probe being wrapped up.
So long as America remains polarized into Democratic-Republican camps, Trump cannot safely be removed or forced to resign. Mueller knows this, surely, as do others at or near the top of the American state security and political apparatus. We are likely back where we were 30 years ago with Bill Clinton, Impeached along party lines in the House, but without the necessary 2/3 Senate Supermajority needed to Convict and remove him from office.
Impeachment, without concensus, will therefore only produce more extreme polarization, and polarization is the single greatest factor shown to lead to breakdown of a particular type of democratic government – partial democracies, a category into which the U.S. has measurably declined – a type of regime which has been shown to be most vulnerable to violent regime change and civil war, according to the prevailing model that is employed by the CIA and State Department to predict conditions indicating political instability and favoring Foreign Imposed Regime Change (FIRC). See, e.g.
A Global Model for Forecasting Political Instability - Harvard DASH, https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/33719894 , by JA Goldstone, TR Gurr, J. Ulfelder, et al. - 2010 - Cited by 686 - “A Global Model for Forecasting Political Instability.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (1) (January): 190-208.
Forecasting Democratic Transitions and Breakdowns, Jay Ulfelder (SAIC Corp.), https://dartthrowingchimp.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/forecasting-democrati...
Forecasting Political Instability: Results from a Tournament of Methods ... https://www.ssrn.com/abstract=2156234,
by J Ulfelder - Oct 5, 2012 - This report describes the design, and summarizes the results of, a forecasting “tournament” undertaken by the CIA-funded Political Instability Task Force at SAIC Corp.
and, see, generally, The Foreign Imposed Regime Change (FIRC) Model
Everyone should know this stuff. The rest is Kabuki Theater.
Unless the Special Counsel’s Report provides clear, convincing, and incontrovertible NEW evidence that Donald Trump, himself, knowingly and willfully took actions in concert with Russia that effectively sabotaged the Clinton Campaign, further efforts to Impeach him will likely fail. Unlike 30 years ago, democratic institutions in the U.S. are visibly weaker than they were during and after the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. They are nearly unrecognizable compared to what they were in 1974. Watergate isn't coming back.
Whatever NEW evidence is put forward by Mueller must be so overwhelming and ironclad in its factual and legal findings that it overcomes, eclipses and effectively suppresses the Republican counter-claim that the Clinton campaign utilized foreign intelligence assets – the Fusion-GPS-MI6 plot with the Ukrainian regime and allied oligarchs -- in its own effort to set-up, spy on, and sabotage the Trump Campaign.
Unless there is a dramatic change in the political balance of those conflicting narratives, continued efforts at Impeachment resulting in failure to Remove Trump as President will likely result in further failure of normal mechanisms of democratic governance in the United States. That would be a failed fix.