Democrat extremism in response to Trump will hurt their red state candidates
Democrats trying to harness voter backlash against President Donald Trump have a new challenge: protecting their most vulnerable members from the headline-grabbing tactics of their most fervent activists.I don't think the Democrats actually had the high ground on the issue of illegal immigration. What they had was a media instigated frenzy of hysteria that was based on grossly misleading reporting and photos. I do think that Manchin and Feinstein are acting responsibly in decrying the uncivil war that extremists like Maxine Waters are trying to instigate.
Red-state Senate Democrats are staking their reelection bids on their ability to work with Trump. But the argument has gotten more complicated as the pushback against his policies becomes more personal. The call by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for liberals to accost Trump Cabinet members in public isn’t the kind of thing the party’s most vulnerable members, or even their leaders, want to answer for.
The Waters flap, after three Trump advisers were turned away or chased out of restaurants amid a nationwide furor over the president’s separation of immigrant families, underscores the risk Democrats face along with the reward of a fired-up base. They want to tap into liberal energy to drive their voters to the polls, but without engaging in the kind of tactics that will rile up Trump’s base and negate their advantage.
“It’s horrible,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said of the public harassment of Trump aides. “Come to West Virginia — we won’t do that to them in West Virginia. That’s bad. That’s not the values of the Democratic Party I know.”
Democrats don’t want to let the GOP reclaim the high ground they’ve held since the crisis over the separation of migrants' families began. They also don’t want to create a distraction that shifts public attention away from the negative consequences of Trump’s policies. Their message to their base amounts to: Control and channel your anger with Trump; don’t mimic his bare-knuckle style while trying to defeat him.
“We are at a real crisis point, and I think that what we do is very important,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is up for reelection but expected to coast, said in an interview Monday.
“I don’t like” the message sent by restaurants denying service to Trump aides, she added.