To Win Red States, Dems Must Move Right — Then Left — Then Apologize

Amy McGrath knows exactly what she’s doing. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath announced Wednesday that she “probably” would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — and then, hours later, clarified that she definitely wouldn’t have.

“I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court. But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no,” McGrath informed her Twitter followers Wednesday afternoon. “I know I disappointed many today with my initial answer on how I would have voted on Brett Kavanaugh. I will make mistakes and always own up to them. The priority is defeating Mitch McConnell.”

McGrath’s rapid-fire flip-flop attracted plenty of derision from coastal elites. But no Democrat can win deep-red Kentucky by campaigning as every Brooklyn hipster’s cup of Kratom tea. And while the socialist socialites of Soho and Silver Lake might disdain displays of abject spinelessness, the blue-collar folk of the Bluegrass State see things differently.

On Thursday, Intelligencer convened a focus group of McConnell-to-McConnell voters at the Problematic Nostalgia Eatery in Hogdenville (where the sarsaparilla is 50 cents a glass and pardoned war criminals drink free). And in this humble corner of “flyover country,” support for McGrath’s handling of the Kavanaugh issue was overwhelming. Among the panel’s responses:

Elijah DeWitt, 43, pipe fitter: “I’m no one’s idea of a liberal. But I’m sick and tired of career politicians who take one position on Monday and stick with it on Tuesday. Saying what you mean might work fine in San Francisco. But where I come from, a man’s word is his Silly Putty.”

Suzie McGrady, 55, schoolteacher: “I don’t need to agree with a candidate on every issue. But I do need them to be able to look me in the face, say what they think I want to hear, and then pull a 180 the moment a Jezebel blogger tweets, ‘This ain’t it chief.’”

Burt Whitehead, 74, retired horseshoe shiner: “It used to be a Democrat would tell your local newspaper that Colin Kaepernick was the real neo-Nazi, then turn right around and post an apology on Medium full of reflections on the importance of listening and learning, and photos from their visit to the Holocaust Museum. You could object to both their stances. But you had to respect their moral vacuousness and pusillanimous need to please. I always say I didn’t ditch the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party ditched rudderless pandering.”

Travis Driscoll, 34, aspiring mall security officer: “I’ve been a Republican all my life. But if Amy McGrath came in here, sat down across from me, and said, ‘So, these illegals …’ then raised her eyebrows suggestively, waiting for me to say something xenophobic that she could cravenly endorse, until she suddenly lost her nerve and broke down in tears, saying, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do this,’ and if then some knot in my chest unwound and I told her I felt the same way about being a father? And if we stayed up all night drinking bourbon as I tried to describe the ineffable despair I’ve felt since the day my Cody caught me in bed with Mrs. McGrady, or the inexpressible pain of searching for love in your son’s eyes and finding only pity, or the impossibility of taking a sip of complimentary sarsaparilla without thinking of those little ghosts that followed me home from Fallujah. And if all the while she vacillated between affirming my sense of victimhood and gently suggesting that I had the power to make better choices, depending on what it seemed like I wanted her to say at the time? Well, I would have to give her candidacy serious consideration, before ultimately voting for Mitch because I don’t believe in open borders.”

To Win Red States, Dems Must Move Right – Then Apologize