At least a very tiny bit. Damon Linker correctly sums up the Republican style of argument for the midterms, if not well before (boldface mine):
This is an almost comically tendentious and radioactively nativist message. But that’s where President Trump has taken the GOP: away from acting like a small-d democratic party and instead embracing the tactics of a Leninist vanguard party.
A genuinely democratic political party responds to public opinion with policy proposals designed to advance the common good as the party and its voters construe it. A vanguard party, by contrast, seeks to yank public opinion to a radically new position, first by leaping out ahead of current views, and then by using flagrantly demagogic appeals rooted in fear-mongering to get voters to rally around the revision…
On the contrary, they are willing and eager to prevail by deploying highly inflammatory rhetoric, brazen lies and exaggeration, racist fear-mongering and manipulation of facts, highly unorthodox legal arguments, and the giddy encouragement of outright hysteria.
That’s exactly what we see in Trump’s absurd and obsessive focus on the migrant caravan a few thousand strong that’s slowly making its way through Mexico on foot to the U.S. border, including his assertion that 15,000 American troops will be sent to defend the world’s lone superpower against this mighty invasion of the unarmed and impoverished. We also see it on Fox News, the Republican Party’s unofficial propaganda network, which echoes and amplifies Trump’s xenophobic message every evening in precise lock step with the White House. And we see it in the GOP’s closing message, which portrays the entire Democratic Party as more loyal to would-be cop killers from abroad than it is to the country and its people.
I’m not sure this is entirely new, though the wall-to-wall aspect probably is. Moving on… In a very good example of ‘if Democrats did this…”, Linker posits the following scenario:
If you wonder what the Democratic Party would sound like if it adopted a similarly Leninist approach to politics, imagine a future Democratic president announcing eight days before an election that he will soon be abolishing by fiat the individual right to bear arms (which, incidentally, was established by the Supreme Court just 10 years ago) and then making numerous speeches, promoting ads, and setting a media agenda asserting that every American faces an imminent threat of dying in a mass shooting — all capped off by the implication that Republicans actually want such atrocities to happen.
STOP ME WHEN YOU GET TO THE BAD PART. I kid. Sorta. At least the abolish by fiat part. I don’t want the Democratic Party to emulate the Republican Party, in that the GOP is best thought of as a mass communicable psychotic break (Got Comet Ping Pong?). But there is a performative aspect to politics. We don’t want to lie, but the thing about what passes for Republican policy is that it’s so dreadful that describing it with invective isn’t inaccurate–sometimes, anger is the appropriate emotion.
Unlike many, I don’t think Democrats have a ‘hack gap.’ They do, however, have an invective gap, and they need to start hurling some the GOP’s way.