Democrats may finally be realizing that they have a chicken little problem. As US News Dave Catanese notes:
In the frenzied opening days of the rebellious Trump era, top leaders in the Democratic Party have taken a posture of relentless, immovable, caustic opposition – assailing the commander in chief at every turn and often employing extreme rhetoric to punctuate its impact. It is a cold-blooded approach that’s required for this precarious moment, they say, given the severe changes Trump is attempting on everything from how the U.S. should deliver health care to who should be allowed to become an American citizen.
But there’s a risk in outright, perpetual obstruction as well and it’s simmering below the surface in conversations between Democratic lawmakers, leaders and strategists as the party debates the most effective path forward: If Democrats protest everything with hair-on-fire outrage, will anything end up sticking with the American public beyond their infinite indignity? If they cry wolf every 12 hours, will the effect of their urgency wane over time? Instead of presenting an alternative vision, will they end up looking simply like a party of outrage?
“We need to be guided by a positive message about economic growth for everybody and a country that includes everybody,” says Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has expressed concern about the party’s focus in reacting to Trump. “We can’t respond to everything. You have to decide what to respond to based on what your vision for the country is.”
This is all well and good, but Democrats shouldn’t pretend that their problems with civic engagement start and end with Donald Trump. As the National Review’s Charles Cooke has pointed out, Democratic warnings about Trump’s “fascist agenda” fell flat this cycle because, for the last decade, Democrats have screamed loudly that any candidate with a different point of view is not only wrong, but dangerous, racist, or sexist. The Obama campaign suggested that Romney killed a woman with cancer. Vice President Joe Biden suggested that Romney would put African Americans “back in chains.” Democratic icon John Lewis compared moderate Republican John McCain to segregationist George Wallace.
The party’s relentless claims that Republicans support for limited government and sensible regulation is merely a cover for some sort of nefarious agenda has mainstreamed the belief that conservative positions are not worthy of consideration. It has perhaps provided cover for radical left-wing extremists to condone violence and property destruction as a legitimate tool to fight against “creeping fascism.” It’s no wonder that this decade of shouting down opponents has resulted in Republican majorities at every level of government, from the White House to the to the town hall.
We applaud Democrats decision to address this problem, but we hope they realize how serious the problem really is.