If you thought the end of the election would see the Democrat Establishment shifting their critiques away from superficial things that might sway emotional voters, and toward the policy wonk issues that are more fitting now that Trump is about to start implementing the Trump agenda -- you'd be surprised to see how much their obstructions still boil down 100% to "the people on the other side are evil".
That could be racist, sexist, Islamophobic, or whatever else. The focus is on individuals rather than policies, and these individuals are evil. Most of the accusations are being thrown at the Cabinet picks, but it'll be someone else once they're all set. The hysteria is also directed broadly at Trump voters or sympathizers. The policies are not bad and in need of correction by good policies -- people are evil, and they are in need of moral redemption.
This substance-free sanctimony will guarantee us even greater wins during Trump's re-election, but the liberal crusaders don't care. Their job, as they see it, is to convert the wicked -- and if that's a longer-term project that may have to overcome several electoral setbacks in the meantime, then so be it. They have to be on the side of the angels, fighting the good fight -- not trying to win certain outcomes in certain political domains.
They did not react this way toward the Gingrich Revolution in Congress during the mid-1990s, or to the W. Bush presidency, or even to the Tea Party movement. In all those cases, of course they hurled their obligatory charges of Republicans being racist / sexist / bla bla bla. But that was more of a finishing flourish to policy-oriented charges that the Republicans wanted to gut the social safety net, pursue the Iraq War, give tax cuts only to the rich, overlook police brutality, and so on and so forth.
Now, they're abandoning any mention of Trump's policies and why they don't like them -- why we ought to have open borders, a de-industrialized economy, regime change in the Middle East, Supreme Court Justices who are fine with partial-birth abortions, and everything else he's promised action on. Some are disingenuously trying to criticize the Paul Ryan agenda, but everyone knows he's a non-entity and that President Trump will kick his ass so hard if he tries to privatize Social Security, it'll make ya head spin.
Now, charges of this or that individual being evil are not just a finishing rhetorical touch, they are the main argument -- the Chief Strategist, the Attorney General, whoever, is evil, therefore anything he does will be bad for the country, and we don't even have to know what that would be.
Moralizing the character of individuals rather than arguing for or against certain policies or general approaches sounds a lot like the Republicans from the '90s and the 21st century (before Trump). In both cases, they had won on the issues for so long: for the GOP, free marketeer-ism during the winding down of Soviet Communism, and for the Democrats, values liberalism during the culture wars. They took their superiority for granted, rested on their laurels, and then got a rude awakening when the primary issues shifted to something else (GOP caught unaware of liberal culture war, Democrats caught unaware of populism and nationalism).
If you assume that you'll win forever on the issues, then a yuge upset loss could not have happened due to your failure on the issues, but only because the other side had individuals with powerful dark evil magic that they used to cheat their way to victory. Typical witchcraft hysteria.
If those losses continue time after time, you'll become even more convinced that issues don't matter -- otherwise you would've won all those times! -- and that their powerful evil magic keeps growing stronger and more hopeless to counteract. So you double down on the strategy of waging a moralistic crusade against evil individuals, rather than study what the new set of important issues is, what positions on them are desired by voters, and finding and fielding candidates who best offer that to the electorate.
It's not as though the Democrats are completely blind to issues, only in the context of explaining their losses to Trump and Congressional Republicans. When it comes to the Democrat civil war, they are hyper-sensitive of what the various camps of issues are -- the main ones being identity politics (race, sex, gayness), and class / anti-war / environmentalism.
To explain why their side lost, the two factions are going to accuse each other of having an inferior set of issues that voters don't care that much about. Issues that don't motivate enough of Us to turn out, and that alienate too many of Them to cross over at the ballot box.
They are not accusing specific individuals on the opposing camp of being evil, and of bad politics stemming from being evil. Sure, the ID politics people hurl accusations of racism, gender privilege, etc., but it's more of a flourish than the main critique, which is instead based on the issues. Such as, "Who cares about breaking up Wall Street banks, when that wouldn't end racism, sexism, and homophobia?"
For the next generation, most of their focus on issues will be channeled into the Democrat civil war, and their only attacks against the Republicans will be that they're fundamentally evil. While this will help to re-shape the issues, platform, and coalition that makes up the party, it will take them out of the running in most Presidential elections, where their only arguments will be that if you vote for that other guy, you're evil and need to be redeemed by liberal crusaders before being allowed to vote.
If this reversal of fortunes seems abrupt, welcome back to 1992. The Republicans had occupied the White House from 1968 to 1992, with only Jimmy Carter interrupting. George W. Bush was our Jimmy Carter -- barely squeaked through a close race, unpopular / embarrassing, and galvanized voters to choose Anybody But That-Guy. I think he was also meant to be a single-term interruption (winning in 2004), with the Florida recount from 2000 still making it unclear that he truly won.
Earlier posts in the series documenting the Democrats becoming the party of moral panic crusaders during this election season: one, two, three, four.