If you are a Democrat in 2017, nothing brings you credibility like bashing President Donald Trump.

So, it should not have been a surprise to see the eight candidates for Democratic National Committee chair twist themselves into knots Wednesday to prove they are the most virulent opponents of the president. He’s violating the Constitution! He’s causing children to wet their beds! He’s a computer virus! A fascist! A thief! Oppose him! Impeach him!

“Donald Trump has already done a number of things that legitimately raise the question of impeachment.”

And on and on it went for two hours during CNN’s televised debate. The partisan crowd in Atlanta ate it up. Middle-of-the-road Americans likely found it over the top.

Democrats will choose their next leader Saturday. It is a party adrift, shut out of the White House, in the minority in both houses of Congress and on the outside looking in at state government after state government.

The DNC itself has been rocked by scandal. Emails stolen from the DNC and published by WikiLeaks revealed collusion between top party officials and Hillary Clinton long before she wrapped up the party’s nomination for president last year. That opened a rift between her supporters and those of primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that lingers to this day.

The men and women who want to take the helm of the party obviously have discovered that the elixir to that division is a healthy dose of anti-Trumpism — and they were in no mood for accommodation.

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“We have seen from the get-go that this person wants to turn the clock back,” said former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, voice hoarse from campaigning. “The Democratic Party needs to take the fight to Donald Trump.”

Trump has been in office barely a month, but Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is already open to impeaching him.

“Donald Trump has already done a number of things that legitimately raise the question of impeachment,” he said, referring to arguments that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution because buildings owned by his company collect rent from entities owned by the entities owned by foreign governments.

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‘Marching Us Towards Fascism’
Jehmu Greene, former president of Rock the Vote, agreed.

“Absolutely,” she said. “When he commits an impeachable offense, the Democratic Party has to be that last line of defense for our Constitution and for this country. We don’t have the luxury to take a backseat as this man is arrogantly marching us towards fascism.”

During an exchange about whether the Democratic primary contest was rigged, Greene said the real rigging was engineered by Russia in the general election and that it “was cheer-leaded on by this man in the White House.”

Greene invoked the name of the late Barbara Jordan, a Texas Democrat who was the first black woman from the South to serve in the House of Representatives. But she did not dare mention one of Jordan’s greatest legacies — a commission she chaired that recommended immigration restrictions to help American workers.

Instead, Greene reached further back in history in search of a time when Americans’ liberties were more threatened than now. She was stumped.

“The voters and the people marching on the street understand that we are facing the single biggest threat to our freedoms since we won them in the American Revolutionary War,” she said.

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Peter Peckarsky, a lawyer and Democratic activist, said he would rebuild the party from the local level up.

“The case for the Democrats right now is to re-energize the entire Democratic Party from ground level up and to make the case that Donald Trump is unsuited for the office, that he has done a number of things which are illegal, which we are not about to stand for,” he said. “He’s violated a number of rights and chose every inclination it seems to keep on violating them.”

Ellison cast the next election as a matter of people’s health and welfare.

“When Democrats lose elections, bad things happen to good people,” he said.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, called Trump a “bully” for rescinding a directive from the previous administration ordering schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity.

“Donald Trump’s got to be like a computer virus in the American political system,” he said. “He ties up our minds and these processing power with these equations that don’t even have any solutions until the system overheats and breaks down.”

‘Ripping Children Away’
Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said these are “unprecedented times” because of Trump. He said immigrant children are so frightened, they are wetting their beds.

“It’s about trust and protecting the vulnerable in these communities,” he said. “They need to be able to feel like they can call their police and not be in danger of being separate[d] from their children. You know, the Republicans talk all the time about being the party of family values, but right now, they are ripping children away from their parents.”

Sam Ronan, an Air Force veteran, hit Trump for not serving in the military.

“He is a a draft dodger,” he said. “He is trying to send us into more frivolous wars. He’s trying to increase our foothold and our footprint in the Middle East.”

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Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, also bashed Trump — but found herself defending comments last month that her job was to “shut other white people down” when they want to interrupt minorities.

“It’s really unfortunate that the Alt-Right decides to take people out of context and have conversations about things that weren’t said,” she said. “I was having a specific conversation with the Democratic Party about how we really accomplish the goal of inclusiveness and making sure that we listen to each other.”

Before Wednesday’s debate, Trump gave a shout-out to Ellison on Twitter, noting that the congressman predicted his victory. Ellison was not thrilled by the association with Trump, but he did give him credit for running on a platform of protecting Social Security, repairing and building roads and bridges, and creating jobs.

Ellison said it was political theft.

“That’s our message,” he said. “That’s what we do. That’s why he beat all those other Republicans. Because he stole the Democratic message.”