Leaders of the Ohio Democrat Party are warning local activists to steer clear of talking about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into supposed Trump collusion with Russia and stick to real issues as the 2018 election season nears.
With the first indictment coming out of Mueller’s team coming down and still no proof that any collusion with Russia occurred, Ohio Democrats are telling party members to stick with the issues. Instead of Russia, Ohio Democrats want to talk about the economy, jobs, and social issues, not pushing conspiracy theories, according to the Washington Post.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democrat Party, told the Post that he and his fellow party officials do not spend time talking about Russian strongman Vladimir Putin or the firing of former FBI chief James Comey. He also noted that if Democrats get caught up in these issues, they will continue to lose elections.
“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,” Pepper said.
“My attitude is let’s fix the things we can fix, and the way we really win is by getting a core message that appeals across all 88 counties,” Pepper added.
Pepper worries that distractions like the hunt for mythic Russia connections will not help Democrats regain a foothold in a state Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by eight points. It is also a state that has increasingly leaned to the GOP over the last few election cycles, so Democrats already have an uphill battle in the Buckeye State.
Additionally, while the Ohio Democrat Party’s presidential candidate disparaged Trump voters as “deplorables,” chairman Pepper and his cohorts have been careful not to attack Trump’s voters because these operatives are sure that many of Trump’s voters could cross over and vote for Democrats.
The Democrats’ warnings to party members come as Robert Mueller’s first indictments came down without any direct ties to Donald Trump. Instead, the charges focused on alleged crimes that occurred before Trump even became a candidate and included no accusations that those indicted perpetrated any collusion with Russia to affect the 2016 election.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.