Panic at the Left-Wing Disco
By: Scott Jennings
Here’s a scenario: your political party has taken an electoral bath over the last three years and lost connectivity with non-urban voters, the people who stood with you for decades before abandoning ship over your unpopular policies and extremely liberal social views.
Your party leaders have two choices: do something constructive to rebuild and reconnect with voters, or devolve into tantrum-throwing children, hurling themselves kicking and screaming onto the floor of American political discourse.
This real-life scenario applies to Kentucky Democrats. They chose the latter, and they chose poorly.
The purpose of a political party is to win elections. In Anderson County, Kentucky, site of a recent liberal meltdown, the Democratic Party has been failing at this task. In 2014, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won 59 percent of the vote. In 2015, Governor Matt Bevin won 55 percent. And in 2016, President Donald Trump won 62 percent while Senator Rand Paul scored 57 percent.
In 2014, Republicans, for the first time in history, elected a majority on the Anderson County fiscal court, a County Judge-Executive, and a County Clerk. The GOP takeover of one of the Commonwealth’s old democratic strongholds is nearly complete.
On February 21, Senator McConnell headed to Lawrenceburg, the county seat, to speak to the monthly meeting of the local chamber of commerce, a collection of Anderson’s most engaged citizens. It is just the type of event that an active and engaged public servant like McConnell frequently attends.
This time was different. Several malcontents—most not from around there—crashed the luncheon to protest and harangue McConnell. The Kentucky Democratic Party organized the fuming interlopers via social media.
This was to be a special day, as several students from the Anderson County school system were slated to attend. But the planned protest prompted school superintendent Sheila Mitchell to cancel the trip.
“I’m not certain what the children would be exposed to; what kind of language or accusations would be made. We wanted our children to have a positive, educational experience, but decided not to have them attend due to uncertainty,” Mitchell told The Anderson News.
Mitchell had good reason to worry, as the Kentucky Democratic Party’s foot soldiers aren’t the sort you want influencing your children. Here’s how the local paper reported it:
Disparaging remarks about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s physical appearance and about his wife, Transportation Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao, can be seen on a Facebook page hosted by the Kentucky Democratic Party calling for people to protest McConnell’s appearance here Tuesday.
The page includes a post from a person who claims his past actions would likely prevent him from getting into the event.
“Would love to attend. However, I’ve done everything short of threatening his life. He is such a vile and loathsome creature. I meditate on his demise by any means daily,” the man wrote.
A person replied, saying, “I’ll settle for him and wifey poo abdicating.”
That drew this response: “Well, I suppose that would be a little bit of satisfaction. I really would prefer him leaving earth altogether.”
The hateful bunch failed to throw the veteran politician off his game, however. McConnell took it all in stride, later remarking that protesting is as “American as apple pie.” Instead of allowing the demonstrators to ruin the children’s day, McConnell stopped at the school and met with the kids privately for an hour.
“It was very good,” superintendent Mitchell told the local paper afterward. “I was very impressed. He did a really good job speaking with the children. They asked him everything from coal and environmental issues … coal vs. natural gas, and if coal is still viable,” Mitchell said. “He responded to every question the children asked…”
McConnell brushes off these protestors because he knows exactly how their ridiculous act plays in the Anderson Counties of the world.
Breathlessly, some in the national political chattering class portray these protests as a liberal awakening that will lead to future electoral success. But which party gained ground in Anderson County the day McConnell visited? The GOP, whose standard bearer went out of his way to talk to the small business community and accommodate local school kids, or the Democrats, whose vulgarity and thinly-veiled death wishes disrupted an otherwise civil event?
If you are considering running for office as a Democrat in Kentucky in 2018, are you more or less likely to do so if it means defending the vulgar, profane, and unhinged? Signing up for that duty means fully owning a group of angry people who, after failing to elect Alison Grimes, Jack Conway, Jim Gray, and Hillary Clinton, have decided the best political strategy is to publicly wish for the death of those that beat them.
It will be hard to run a campaign hateful enough to satisfy this mob.
The disturbed protestors made demands of McConnell like “Do your job!” and “Listen to us!” Maybe the Kentucky Democratic Party should take that advice. One of their protestors, Rose Mudd Perkins of Georgetown, told a reporter: “I may start a new party. The Democrats have failed us. The national party and the state party.”
This is what rock bottom looks like. Ugly.
Scott Jennings served as an advisor to President George W. Bush and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottJenningsKY.