Democrats are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.
That’s the sentiment former Attorney General Eric Holder was expressing solidarity with when he revised Michelle Obama’s motto, “When they go low, we go high.”
“No. When they go low, we kick them." Holder said. "That’s what this new Democratic Party is about." He later told critics of the remarks to “stop the fake outrage.”
Stormy-Daniels-lawyer-turned-possible-2020-presidential-contender Michael Avenatti challenged Donald Trump Jr. to a mixed martial arts fight for charity. His tweets at the president’s son were less charitable.
“Bif: If I were you, the last thing I would be doing is referencing other people getting out of federal prison. Because after you are indicted, you will likely be passing them on your way in,” Avenatti wrote. “BTW, they don’t have silver spoons or gold toilets in the joint. Buckle up Buttercup.”
Always scurrying to follow the crowd, Hillary Clinton joined the fray. “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she said, later adding that if the Democrats win, “that’s when civility can start again.”
These comments all come in the context of left-wingers shrieking in the halls of Congress and chasing Republicans out of D.C. restaurants. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have described these activists as the “mob.”
It’s a cliche to point to some development and say, “This is how we got Trump.” But the perception that Republican leaders were too nice, that they played by rules Democrats were routinely willing to break, that they were too eager to be seen as good losers rather than win at any cost is a major factor in why the GOP primary electorate turned from candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney to Trump.
Romney was too polite to stop President Barack Obama and a moderator from ganging up on him at a debate. In his farewell statement, McCain called it a “privilege” to concede to Obama — which in a historic sense, it surely was, but to some disaffected conservatives that only underscored the point.
Many Republican voters think their leaders are weak, blaming the elected officials’ fear of liberals for their policy and cultural defeats.
Supporters told the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito that only Trump would have stood by Brett Kavanaugh all the way through to his confirmation. Trump ultimately agreed.
Democrats have adopted a similar view of their own party. They think their elected officials stand by idly while Republicans shred political norms, ram through a conservative Supreme Court majority at any cost, and let Trump go unchecked.
Largely shut out of power in Washington, liberals are very angry. And they are taking out at least some of their anger on timorous Democrats, not just Republicans or the Trump administration. They are convinced it is a righteous anger against an unusual, even evil, president.
Republican voters found a counter-puncher in Trump, if nothing else. Will Democrats seek a candidate with the same traits? All signs are pointing to yes.
Leaving aside whether that is good for the country, is it good politics for the Democrats? Getting down to Trump’s level, much less going lower, has seldom worked (ask Marco Rubio). It may not be any more effective married to a socialist platform, even if that would be more ideologically coherent than Trump.
Turning out the base could be good enough for the midterm elections, but it risks misreading the bigger moment.
A large swathe of the country craves a return to normal, a situation where political debates and feelings about the president are less intense. They want it to be less emotionally draining to watch the news, read Facebook, or talk about current events with friends and relatives.
Playing to an angry base won’t restore that sense of normalcy. It also keeps the anger and chaos from being confined to Trump, turning the din into the ambient noise of American politics and making his removal a less obvious cure for the ensuing headache.
A winning Democratic message in 2020 could be, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” By angrily politicizing all facets of life, some in the Resistance are instead saying, “Oh yes it does.”
They are Trumping up the Democratic Party.