It had been the hot story for two years. Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential election. He had snatched it right out of the jaws of Hillary Clinton.
Trump was called a traitor. The national media insisted, night after night, with billions of dollars of television time, that the conspiracy was all around us. Hyperventilating, breathless reporters on NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN insisted that more and more information was imminent. Trump, they insisted, had committed treason.
So surely, the people in the 2018 midterm election would rise up to take revenge? They would take America back from the Russians.
The issue of Russian Collusion that had dominated media news for two years simply melted like snow on a warm day. Instead, the issues that dominated the midterm elections were healthcare, immigration, the economy, gun policy, and 24 other topics that registered less than 1 percent each in the voters mind. But Russian Collusion was not among them. Russian Collusion was zero. Zip. Nothing.
Apparently, nobody has ever really believed in Russian Collusion, not Don Lemon, Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, or Jack Tapper. Nobody. They just hoped that other people would be stupid enough to do so. They confidently kept pushing it down the track. This was scary stuff. It felt good for the Democrats to be on the side of patriotism for a change.
Nighttime television comics made jokes about Trump and treason and Russia, night after night. And the people who snatched up tickets to be in their live audiences all laughed uproariously. Yes, our president was really working for the Russians. What a riot. Very funny.
Surely the young people on campuses, the ones who now advocate socialism and block free speech, surely they believe that Trump is a Russian puppet?
But apparently not. Nor did any of those people who laughed at the nighttime television comics. They would vote about healthcare, immigration, the economy, they would even vote about Donald Trump, his outrageous tweets. But none of them really believed in Russian Collusion. It was a device to leverage stupid people and it turned out on Election Day that there weren't any stupid people at all. Everybody knew it was a hoax.
Make no mistake. Robert Mueller's report is coming. It will be written by lawyers who worked for Obama and Clinton. Their careers in future Democratic administrations will depend on what they write and what they conclude. It may even be an opportunity for them to show off. If they can make something out of nothing imagine what they could do inside the Justice Department, where no one would ever see and where there are no longer any checks and balances?
And make no mistake, this Mueller report will be hyped by the media big-time. They have too much money and time and pride invested in their phony story. They will declare victory, point to crimes Paul Manafort committed 12 years before he ever met Donald Trump and we will all pretend that it was really something.
But no one can erase what just happened. No one can erase the midterm elections. And why the people voted. And the fact that nobody really believed the months and months of fake news stories that poured out of the mouths of fake journalists, on fake news channels.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. He is the author of "Game of Thorns: Inside the Clinton-Trump Campaign of 2016." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.