Democrats behaving badly

Unprecedent filibusters of court of appeals nominees; state legislators high-tailing it for the border — the Democrats really do seem to be racing to the bottom, the bottom I suppose being something akin to third-world political party status. Why do they misbehave so? I tried to answer that question in this piece that appeared in FrontPage Magazine last year. As I argued there, I think it comes down to the fact that core constituencies of the Democratic party accept bad behavior because they regard traditional rules of discourse and decorum as instruments of oppression. For these constituencies, such rules exist to be “deconstructed,” a fancy name for ignoring them when they don’t serve their interests. This is far less true among Republicans, whose constituents see themselves as members of a “values” party.
The problem for the Democrats is that their desperate conduct drives “values” voters away. As a result, the party tends to become (a) more of a minority party in need of ever more disagreeable tactics and (b) more of a party of the disaffected and thus more likely to become less decorous. Perhaps the Democrats expect to counter this vicious cycle by registering new voters they hope are not accustomed to holding elected officials to high standards of behavior. But a better way to break the vicious cycle might be to behave virtuously from time to time.

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