Former Attorney General Eric Holder told a cheering crowd this week, "Michelle [Obama] says when they go low, we go high. No, no. When they go low, we kick them. That's what this new Democratic Party is about." His remarks, along with Hillary Clinton's declaration that civility is over until Democrats win, signify a party that has given up competing and wants to instead flip over the chess board in a rage.
The Democratic death of civility wreaks of desperation, but it's also just bad strategy. Calls to abolish ICE, abolish the Supreme Court, abolish the Electoral College, abolish the Second Amendment, and abolish private property are highly off-putting to normal people, even the ones sympathetic to the plight of the poor and fed up with the constant chaos of the Trump White House.
If Democrats actually played by the rules instead of trying to abolish them, they would be more competitive. Look no further than Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.
In 2016, incumbent Republican Rep. Andy Barr won his re-election by over 20 points. The district leans 10 more points Republican than the overall nation and 17 points more Republican than the average American district. First-time Democratic candidate Amy McGrath is currently running neck-and-neck with Barr. Cook Report has moved the race from "Likely Republican" to a toss-up.
McGrath didn't arrive at the cusp of victory by publicizing pink pussy hats or playing identity politics. Instead she did what every Democrat in the country should do: present a deserving personal profile (in McGrath's case, as the first female Marine to fly an F-18 in a combat mission) and an alternative agenda to the Trump administration.
McGrath's debut campaign ad lacked all of the Democratic buzzwords recycled by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon. Its simple explanation of her history as a fighter pilot, dedication to serving her country, and opposition to Republican posturing on healthcare, has earned it almost two million views on YouTube.
While most Democrats are running on vitriol and "resistance," McGrath refuses to run any attack ads despite Barr spending more than $3 million on them. While most Democrats are running on grand propositions of free college but backing them with few details, McGrath has affirmatively proposed workable (if not widely favorable) liberal policies, such as a Medicare buy-in and public option health insurance, as well as expansion of federal investment in broadband and the Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Program.
A 32-page document details the minutiae of her economic program.
In contrast, consider Robert Francis O'Rourke, the white guy who changed his own name to "Beto" and has raised $55 million challenging Ted Cruz's Senate seat. He has all of four bullet points detailing his economic agenda, including high-level proposals such as, "Promote regulations that protect consumers, promote competition and grow the economy."
Even though the average voter might not concern themselves with the particulars of candidate's approach to NATO or teachers' pensions, they know a serious candidate from a phony. And mere rage wears thin. It didn't win Democrats the presidency in 2004 or 2016, and it won't win it for them in 2018.
Anecdotal evidence is just that. McGrath's path may not ultimately lead to victory. But I'd much rather be associated with a campaign like hers than run for office based on pure rage-venting catharsis and empty virtue-signaling.