At first glance, it's hard to see what might set Mr. Brat apart from other Tea Party favorites who will vie for seats in the 114th Congress, or set him apart from Mr. Cantor, for that matter. Mr. Brat wants to repeal Obamacare, freeze the debt limit, shutter the Department of Education, beef up the Pentagon, prevent immigration reform, coddle the gun nuts, audit the Fed, investigate Benghazi, yadda, yadda, yadda.
However, one very important distinction does distinguish Mr. Brat from Mr. Cantor. Perhaps because he is Jewish, Mr. Cantor has shown little inclination to reshape America into a Christian theocracy, but Mr. Brat has dedicated his life to doing just that.
Dave Brat is a Calvinist Christian warrior who dreams of a nation where laws and society
are based on the Ten Commandments as applied through the interpretations of a religious elite to everyday situations; necessarily, it rejects democracy and any form of secular political philosophy as an ideal foundation for government. Christian Reconstructionism's ideal society would include the elimination of public schools, the denial of full citizenship to non-Christians, and the death penalty for adultery, performing or having an abortion, blasphemy, homosexuality, heresy, and even persistent rebelliousness against ones parents, with the definitions of these terms and offenses being crafted by the religious elite.Oh, yeah, he also really, truly, madly, deeply believes that he won his election yesterday because God specifically wanted him to win. That's what he told ABC in a video you can find here. Mr. Brat believes that government planning results inevitably in serfdom and that greed is good. He has no dreams of improving federal governance or the general welfare, but relishes the opportunity to demolish parts of the national government.
That isn't enough, however, to make Mr. Brat of any significance to Congressional Democrats, as a gift or otherwise. What sets Mr. Brat further apart in that regard, comes from the happy coincidence of two things. First, Mr. Brat is perfectly happy to talk openly and honestly, at any length, to anybody, about the candidate's cockamamie ideas and revolutionary vision. Second, part of Mr. Brat's dream is to make his General Election campaign a bigger deal than just about his Virginia district. He wants this to be a national campaign, according to something he said to ABC before his victory:
The race was once viewed as a long-shot, [but] it’s tightening now,” Brat said. “We’re well over double, triple what we had on the books just a month ago and so now we’re getting the national attention I always hoped. (italics added)Also take note that Mr. Brat's top strategist got the primary campaign going, then "split off in March to start a Brat-backing super PAC." Given Mr. Brat's divinely inspired crusade to remake America to conform with his Christian utopian fantasies, it is unsurprising that Mr. Brat sees himself as a national figure.
Therein lies the gift to Democrats. The peculiar circumstances of Mr. Brat's nomination already propel him to instant celebrity and national attention, given his surprise defeat of so imposing a national figure as House Majority Leader Cantor. This alone guarantees Mr. Brat the chance to begin his General Election campaign in the national limelight. He will say and do what he can and must to stay there because he actually believes that the whole country is thirsting for something that only his particular brand of crazy can deliver.
David Brat as the face of the national Republican Congressional campaign helps directly address the persistent problem of energizing the often moribund Democratic base in off-year elections. Motivation and turn out of base voters feed off of unifying national issues. With the right messaging, Mr. Brat is a smorgasbord of such issues, starting with immigration reform, where his inflammatory condemnations of "illegals" and "amnesty" could poison all Republican wells in Hispanic America for generations to come. And immigration is only one of the issues important to Democratic base voters where Mr. Brat showcases the heart and soul of the modern GOP, in all of its totalitarian intolerance and ideological extremism.
Dave Brat wants to be the national face of Republicans running for Congress in 2014. Democrats should help him get what he wants.