Mary Katharine Ham: Shouldn't we be treating it as good news for America that Trump didn't collude with Russia?

Every Resistance fan in America is watching the clip below thinking, “We haven’t seen the collusion evidence yet. All we know is that Mueller couldn’t get to probable cause.”

Right, we’ll see. But the fact that he couldn’t get to probable cause on collusion for anyone — not Trump, not Don Jr, not Mike Flynn, not even a guy like Paul Manafort who’s otherwise dripping with Russian sleaze — suggests this wasn’t a close evidentiary call.

I’ve heard her point made often this week, that Russiagate true believers obviously hoped for the worst from all this even though it would have been ruinous for their country. True enough. If Mueller could prove that Trump had conspired with Putin to influence the 2016 campaign POTUS’s legitimacy would be shattered, America would be humiliated, the right would be in chaos, and the bottom would fall out of public faith in the integrity of presidential elections (to the extent it hasn’t already). It’d be a catastrophe. And yet it wasn’t joy that had Rachel Maddow’s voice cracking on Monday night after Bill Barr assured the country that the worst fortunately hadn’t come to pass. How come?

When you recognize that conspiracy theories are mini-religions, you see it’s a normal reaction. Look at the people who join doomsday cults that believe the world will end on a predetermined date, then somehow have to cope after that date comes and goes. The world isn’t ending! The greatest news of all, right? But they don’t treat it as great. There’s no rejoicing. They cry, and then they get to work on retconning their beliefs such that they were right all along except for the particular date on which they thought doomsday would arrive. Russiagate truthers will do this too, instinctively. It’s a hard thing to ask someone to embrace a religion, build a worldview around it, and then force them to reckon with it being exposed as false in an instant. How would you feel if your chosen faith were somehow debunked today? People hate to be wrong, especially about the things in which they’re most emotionally invested.

Media types are chattering this morning about the prevalence of QAnon fans at Trump’s rally in Grand Rapids last night. If Trump went on TV and told the Q-bots to their faces that it’s all nonsense, there’s no Democratic-run international sex trafficking ring or whatever and he and Robert Mueller most definitely aren’t in cahoots, what would they say? Would they celebrate that their worst fears about America’s opposition party aren’t true?

Or would they get to work immediately on a theory that Trump’s statement is obviously disinformation that somehow confirms all of QAnon’s mythology if you just understand the code he was allegedly using during his remarks?

People don’t care about the country, they care about knowing in their hearts that their political enemies are gutter trash, be they traitors or pedophiles or what have you. Exit question: Can we really fault MSNBC and CNN for treating a pro-Trump ending to Russiagate as bad news? Just look at these numbers.