The Washington Post's Dan Balz nailed it in his recent analysis of the Democratic Party, which included the summary: "They have no unifying leader and no clear message." He wrote: "The best that congressional Democrats have recently come up with in terms of messaging was their 'A Better Deal' program — a package of old and new ideas that captured the imaginations of few voters."
The Democratic Party isn't even a discernible coalition anymore. It is a cluster of angry subgroups: the Black Lives Matter movement, the tiresome Hollywood hypocrites, and most recently the paid hecklers and the creepy stalkers we saw on Capitol Hill during the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings, whose boasts of their training and effectiveness have turned them into something of a gentrified Antifa. This is what a vacuum of leadership looks like, and the leftist debris being sucked up isn't appealing.
Of course, the Democrats and their media allies are defensive about being called out. They are trying to derail the growing mainstream opinion that the mob tactics everyone has witnessed over the past few weeks could make Democrats vulnerable to being likened to, well, a mob. And worse, they are trying to suggest that the very idea of such a characterization is mere Republican slander. Ahem, if it looks like a mob, shouts like a mob and storms around like a mob, well, it could be a mob. If the shoe fits ...
Anyway, along with their dishonest defensiveness and preemptive strikes against Republicans, the Democrats are also engaged in a pathetic round of post-defeat self-pity. Multiple Democrats have come forward to say their problem is that they are just too good, too nice, too sincere and too righteous to do battle with evil Republicans, as if the Democrats' smears, taunts, untruths and ambushes follow noble rules and rise from their innate goodness. Please. To say the least, the Democrats are not operating from an honest place, and many voters will notice.
Perhaps President Barack Obama started this self-righteous pity party when, according to his former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, Obama asked soon after Donald Trump won the 2016 election: "What if we were wrong? Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe." More pointedly, as Maureen Dowd wrote in The New York Times this year, "the president made it clear that what he meant was: What if we were wrong in being so right? What if we were too good for these people?" She was spot on. Obama and his team in the White House thought they were just too good to be effective. So here we are.
Between the ragged groups, the dishonest defensiveness and the self-pity, the Democrats are painting a compelling picture for why voters should look elsewhere. That's not to say they won't win the House or reap the benefits of a correction in governors' races, but those victories won't be because they are running an appealing campaign or offering any leadership or direction. Democrats haven't learned anything from the Kavanaugh experience, and that doesn't speak well for how they will govern when they share more power with Republicans.
Ed Rogers, a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, is a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns.
The Washington Post