In what appears to be an act of desperation, Democratic women have begun using domestic violence and other intense language against Republicans in the final months of the 2014 elections.

The most recent example comes from Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who released an ad on Friday called “Punches,” in which she tells viewers she’s “tough enough to keep taking the punches” from opponents apparently “distorting” her record.

She even used that exact language when promoting the ad in a tweet:

Conservative women activists responded:


Hagan’s language invokes imagery that she is the victim of domestic violence. One could argue that her "punches" remark was typical of a political culture that refers to negative commercials as "attack ads," but following a recent instance where Hagan's campaign used language used by her Republican opponent, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, it appears Hagan is no stranger to claiming victimhood.

During a recent debate Tillis was accused of being sexist because throughout the debate he referred to Hagan as “Kay,” instead of “Sen. Hagan.”

The source of this accusation, according to N.C. news outlet WRAL, was a single Facebook commenter who took exception to Tillis’ informal use of Hagan’s first name.

“I’d vote for Hagan due to Tillis’ obvious disrespect by calling her ‘Kay’ in lieu of the Senator Hagan… I was raised to respect persons in position whether I agreed with them or not,” Joann Samuels Wood wrote on WRAL’s Facebook page.

I read every comment on WRAL’s post about that debate, this was the only one that was offended by Tillis calling Hagan “Kay,” but it was enough for WRAL to craft a story of sexism.

They left out the fact that Tillis said “Kay” and not “Sen. Hagan” because, according to his press secretary Meghan Burris, Tillis calls everyone by their first name.

“Thom is not keen on pomp and formality, and talks to everyone on a first name basis,” Burris told WRAL. “He prefers to have everyone call him Thom, but he will be happy to refer to her as ‘Senator Hagan’ if that is her preference.”

Though spokeswoman Sadie Weiner told WRAL that Hagan wasn't offended, Weiner used the opporunity to add, "We saw some of the reaction on social media, on Twitter, on Facebook, from women voters who didn't quite appreciate the tone he took with the senator."

So on the one hand, Hagan is telling voters she is tough, while at the same time trying to gain sympathy points.

As for Hagan being “respectful” by calling her opponent “Speaker Tillis” throughout the debate, she only did that to tie him to an unpopular legislature, as noted by top N.C. Democratic operative Gary Pearce on his blog.

Hagan’s also not the only Democratic woman this cycle to use intense language to portray victimhood.

Just two weeks ago, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., told women in Wisconsin that Republican Gov. Scott Walker “has given women the back of his hand.” She also said Tea Party Republicans, including Walker, were “grabbing [women] by the hair and pulling us back.”

Wasserman Schultz took so much heat for that comment that, along with other problems, she is now being disowned by her own party.

Both Hagan's and Wasserman Schultz's comments come as the issue of actual domestic abuse is highlighted by recent events involving NFL stars.

Another prominent Democratic woman, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently used equally intense rhetoric, saying that “civilization as we know it would be in jeopardy” if Republicans took control of the Senate.

Polls and forecast models show Democrats to lose seats in the upcoming elections, so one can see why they would intensify their rhetoric. But using rhetoric associating Republicans with domestic violence when there is a national conversation about real victims of abuse does not bode well for a party desperate to hold control of the Senate.