Rachel Maddow and others in the corporate media love the story of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia to fix the 2016 elections. In fact, due mostly to her consistent pressing of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, Maddow and MSNBC are enjoying their best ratings in years. The public is dying to hear more about this illicit tale of two world powers working together against a political enemy.

It really is a fantastical story when you think about it: a crazed billionaire buys his way to the most powerful office in the world plotting with our biggest international rival to rig an election while Russian interests secretly dominate the White House. The problem is that there is no evidence that it happened.

The headlines go viral so easily; clicks, views, ratings, and retweets all rain down upon anti-Trump pundits so that they have no choice but to continue to propagate the conspiracy theory. There is little to distinguish it from the theories coming from conservative talk radio regarding President Obama.

The right-wing blowhards gained tremendous attention from those who wanted so badly to believe that Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim set out to destroy American from its highest post. It was such a euphoric high, they could never turn back from it. No matter what evidence came out, conspiracy theorists would have been at tremendous risk of losing their audience if they accepted fact over their concocted story. Their masses of fringe believers just KNEW that the day would come when Barack Obama would be proven a fraud and escorted out of the Oval Office. But just like those who are waiting for that “gotcha” moment in the Trump administration, that day never came.

Now, as investigations continue, the theory that Trump or his associates worked with the Russians to disrupt the American democratic process is continually getting shot down. Earlier this month, Obama’s National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that he had found no evidence of collusion. Just this week, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell told an intelligence community forum:

“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Despite the lack of evidence, government officials are being driven by their constituents to come up with some way of pinning the conspiracy to Trump. Buzzfeed reached out to several key Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee on the matter. In a March 9th article on the investigation, Ali Watkins reported:

“[T]here’s a tangible frustration over what one official called “wildly inflated” expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation.

Now, several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.

‘I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations,’ a second official said.”

Sure, there are a lot of suspicious things surrounding Donald Trump. Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions lying about their conversations with a Russian diplomat have opened the door just enough to let anyone that daydreams of a Trump ouster experience a momentary hope. They see each and every interaction between Russia and the United States as a hint of a sinister plot. Stories about computer servers pinging suspiciously and international banks covering Trump’s tracks are spread around the internet and held as just more evidence that Trump is guilty. But the possibility of finding that piece of evidence that shows President Trump actively working with Putin during the campaign is shrinking by the moment.

The real problem with this ‘Russiagate’ fervor is that it has dominated the airwaves so completely that it has stopped efforts to fix real issues on the left. Currently, the Democratic Party has not shown any signs of recovery after their incompetent performance in November. The DNC should be rallying around commonly held ideals and working on concrete alternatives to Trump’s lunacy in the White House. Instead, they are passing around memes and political cartoons of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, just like the GOP-faithful did with pictures of Obama in traditional Islamic garb or photoshopped copies of birth certificates. President Trump is indeed a terrible President, he doesn’t need any help from the mainstream media to distract from that.

Josh Gay is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. He is passionate about civil liberties and defending the Constitution. Josh looks forward to lively discussions via Twitter @ROF_Josh.