Why are so many Democratic operatives cynical, soulless hacks?

Consider, for example, Rahm Emanuel. Now the mayor of Chicago, he was President Obama’s chief of staff from 2009-10. He’s the guy who cynically suggested ditching ObamaCare when it hit its first political hurdles, who helped lock in a jaw-droppingly horrible deal giving control of Chicago’s parking meters to a consortium of investors for over 70 years, and who suppressed video of a police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald so he could win re-election last year.

Or consider David Brock. A former rabidly anti-Clinton conservative attack dog, Brock has since seen the liberal light and founded Media Matters for America, a political nonprofit, as well as several political action committees. He is probably best known today for building a stable of writers whose slavish hero-worship of Hillary Clinton was matched only by their crazed hostility to Bernie Sanders. Now, much of Media Matters’ output is still worthwhile. But overall, Brock’s various institutions produce unusually cloddish center-left agitprop.

The political style of Democratic operatives like Emanuel and Brock is characterized by a focus on opposition research and propaganda, an obsessive pursuit of political cash at nearly any cost, and occasional sops to the liberal base when it can’t be avoided. Instead of trying to build genuine enthusiasm among the working class with integrity and simple, good policy, they would attack the enemy and essentially dupe people into voting Democratic with psychological tricks, massive ad campaigns, and coordinated use of social media.