Sally Yates is out of a job in the federal government and these can be tough times for job seekers anywhere. After her recent appearances you might expect her to show up with a gig on MSNBC as a political analyst, but perhaps her time in public service isn’t quite over yet. According to reporting from The Hill, the Democrats were so impressed with her jabs at the Trump administration (she persisted?) that they’re talking about luring her into the governor’s race for next year.
Yates’s testimony Monday about the Justice Department’s investigation into ties between President Trump’s allies and Russia has only intensified the buzz.
Some Democrats in Georgia, Yates’s home state, want her to run in the 2018 gubernatorial race on the grounds that her prominent clashes with Trump positions her as a concrete embodiment of the Democratic “resistance.”
Yates, who spent 27 years working in the Justice Department before Trump fired her, has given no public indication that she’s interested in a bid. Still, some top gubernatorial hopefuls in the state are already considering how Yates could alter the race.
Wouldn’t this be an interesting wrinkle in the entire Yates saga? After all, the table had sort of been set for Yates up front. She already had the White House going on record saying that they considered her a political opponent, even while she was still in her old job at the Justice Department. Prior to that the rumor mill had been flooded with stories of how the Trump team had tried to block her from testifying before Congress (a charge which the White House almost immediately denied). A good campaign manager couldn’t have written a better script for her.
Of course this all dates back to when she first defied orders and tried to refuse to enforce the travel ban without apparently realizing that executing the lawful orders of her superiors was part of her job. That says a lot more about the Obama administration Justice Department than it does the current administration. We’re all supposed to pretend that Justice, much like the State Department, exists in a vacuum, free of any influence from the dirty, nasty world of politics. But under both Holder and Lynch that rarely seemed to be the case. There was always a political element to most of the previous administration’s high profile justice initiatives. And with some Obama holdovers hanging around in the first days of the Trump administration, something like this should have been predictable.
Would the Democrats be worried about putting up a candidate who so clearly politicized what was supposedly a non-political governmental agency? Color me skeptical. She’s wearing the “Resist!” badge proudly now and that no doubt makes her a very appealing recruiting prospect. So will she do it? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was already listing her as a potential pick yesterday without any indication as to whether she was really interested. Nathan Deal is term limited, but he won his last two outings by ten and eight percent respectively. His Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, has already tossed his hat in the ring along with a wide field of other Republicans. Cagle has won his seat by impressive margins before and doesn’t really have any serious baggage. The political landscape would have to have changed considerably for Yates to fare much better than previous Democrats, but hey… it’s the era of Trump. Who the heck knows anymore?