Sputnik: What is your take on the legal action taken by the Democrats?
Roslyn Fuller: I think the Democrats are trying to play to their own neoliberal wing in the upcoming congressional elections. They've kind of written off the other wing – the working class wing of their own party quite a long time ago and aren't really playing to them anymore.
But [the case] does read a little bit more as a PR release than an actual court case.
Sputnik: Why has it taken them so long, and what are they trying to achieve generally?
Roslyn Fuller: It's almost become satirical, because we have to remember that there is a deep split in the Democratic Party. A lot of people voted for [Bernie] Sanders as their candidate [during the primaries]. And that represents a different set of values and a different set of interests. So what we've seen is that after the election, instead of deciding to change the direction of the party, instead of saying to themselves 'our message didn't resonate with voters, voters want something else and in order to win an election we're going to have to give them that', they've decided to double down on their policies, and to say 'we're going to continue this neoliberal model of politics'.
Roslyn Fuller: It could. I think politics in the US has become very, very partisan. At the nub of the case is this idea of collusion, because obviously trashing your opponent is 101, in politics in general and particularly American politics, where we even have this concept of the 'October Surprise', which is to try to bring something up right before the election that your opponent doesn't have a chance to discredit…
[The case] could go either way. They've thrown a lot of resources at this. Nothing interesting at all has come out. On the other hand, of course intelligence agencies are going to say 'we have proof,' or 'we have some evidence', or perhaps 'we have evidence that we're going to reveal to the court but we're not going to make public because of security interests'. That's something that's going to be very hard for a court to completely dismiss.
Sputnik: President Trump has said that the legal action could reveal information related to Hillary Clinton's email scandal. What are the chances the case will blow up in the Democrats' faces?
Roslyn Fuller: Yes, it's quite possible that that could happen…Certainly nobody is going to come out of this looking 100% terrific, because things do come out. When the court starts to examine things, it can't just be totally one-sided. So there will probably information coming out that looks bad on everyone in one way or another.
[The Democrats] might just be relying on the fact that if things come out that are prejudicial to their interests, that those things will just kind of slide off the agenda very, very quickly. I mean we've seen that in relation to some of the things that came out during the campaign. For example, that [then-acting Democratic National Committee chair] Donna Brazile had been forwarding questions to the Clinton campaign during the primaries. From the objective facts, that's kind of a bombshell of a news story, but it slid quickly off the agenda. So it may be that they're relying on that, and that they're so invested in just speaking to their own converted that they're counting on that.
Sputnik: The Democratic Party's lawsuit has already been likened to the Watergate scandal from 40 years ago. What's your view on this comparison? Is history repeating itself, or is it not so strong a story as that?
Roslyn Fuller: In Watergate that was essentially the work of two investigative reporters who were following that story for a very long time and eventually got really strong proof of [President] Nixon's involvement in the break-in at the DNC headquarters at the time. What we're seeing now is a case that's kind of the opposite in some ways, in that we've seen a lot of resources being thrown at this investigation and it coming up dry again and again. And the longer that goes on for, the bigger the proof would need to be. Because at this point people are starting to feel like it's just a witch hunt.
Dr. Roslyn Fuller is the director of the Solonian Democracy Institute in Dublin, and author of the book Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose.
The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Fuller are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.