We didn’t tune into President Trump’s first State of the Union address expecting congressional Democrats to jump out of their seats every time the president mentioned tax reform or the building of a great wall across the southern border. In fact, to be honest, we expected exactly what we got: A sullen, defeated party of losers, pouting and sulking their way through a triumphant, victorious, hopeful speech. But sometimes, even when you “expect” something, it’s still shocking to see it unfold. The Democrats, ensconced in their liberal bubble, don’t realize how much political damage they did to themselves on Tuesday night.
Their reaction to Trump’s insistence that Americans stand for the national anthem? They sat and sulked. Their reaction to record African-American unemployment? Same. Their reaction to a round of applause for America’s veterans and police? Well, they did finally get up and clap for that one, but you could see the reluctance written in each and every one of their faces. It was a sad display, worthy of a kindergarten class that just had their field trip canceled.
Many wise Democrats have noted the need for the party to change. They cannot simply cater to coastal elites and minorities if they ever want to regain national power. These Democrats have implored the party’s leaders to open up their arms and their eyes, embrace the economic issues that trouble working class families from Iowa to South Dakota, and get the hell out of their Washington D.C. bubble every now and then. It was apparent on Tuesday night that very few elected Democrats have taken that advice to heart. They played the State of the Union speech as though deeply concerned about what Vox and Slate might have to say about it the next day. Ooh, can’t stand up and applaud the flag, what will the racists over at The Root say about it tomorrow?
Well, if the Democrats want to play that game, that is the game they will win. They will dominate in November’s midterms as long as the only people who come out to vote are people who spend all their time social justice warrioring on Twitter, people who come out and march when elections don’t go their way, and people who need their welfare checks to keep coming in on time. Granted, they can always count on that last group, but we’re not so sure about the rest of their constituency.
We didn’t expect the Democrats to cheer Trump’s every word anymore than we expected Paul Ryan to go nuts about “family leave,” but we have the right to expect a minimal amount of patriotism and decorum from our elected representatives. The Democrats are going to pay a political price for their insolent sulking – just wait and see if they don’t.