Democrats are questioning if the continued focus on Russian involvement in the presidential election is taking focus away from issues that directly affect people's lives, The Washington Post reported.
"The shiny object which is Russia and the Trump administration is in many ways a smokescreen for Mitch McConnell and the Senate to do things they probably wouldn't be able to get away with if the public and media were paying more attention," House Democratic Caucus chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., told the Post in an interview Wednesday night.
"We're all guilty of that to some degree," he added.
New Republic senior editor Jeet Heer raised the same complaint in an op-ed last week, writing, "the Russia story is high political theater (but) there's very little room in this drama for activists. At best, if the Senate or some other branch of the government is seen as failing to do its duties. . . . The battle over healthcare, by contrast, requires enflaming mass passions."
As far back as March, The Nation writer Robert Borosage called for his fellow progressives to "focus more on jobs, less on Russia."
In his interview, Crowley stressed the investigation into Russian interference and President Donald Trump's firing of James Comey are still important, "but we need to walk and chew gum at the same time, and recognize that the issues that really matter to people are the ones that affect their everyday lives."
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that "The fact that we have spent so much time talking about Russia has been a distraction from what should be the clear contrast between Democrats and the Trump agenda, which is on economics."
When asked about the recent Democratic defeat in Georgia, Murphy said the issue is not whether the party is progressive enough, but what is talked about.
"When I'm back in Connecticut, I often get on a commuter bus and ride it for just an hour to talk to folks that don't normally call my office or write my office," he explained. "They are never talking about issues like Russia. They are not talking, frankly, about what's on cable news at night."
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