You may think Democrats are down on their luck, running from Obamacare, blaming the Koch Brothers and otherwise looking silly. But they have a secret weapon. It’s called the Republicans. And in North Carolina, they just broke it out.

Frontrunner and state House Speaker Thom Tillis has been embraced by the GOP establishment and touted as a top-tier candidate. But Tillis looks a lot more like an amateur than veteran politician. Like a lot of politicians who look formidable at first (think Rick Perry), he can’t get out of his own way.

The latest scrap for Tillis involves inflating his resume. It fits into the narrative that the speaker is more ego than substance and is more committed to his own future than any real principles. And it gives Republican primary voters who are already suspicious of Tillis even less reason to trust him.

But they lack a viable alternative. Tillis’ main rival is Dr. Greg Brannon who would have been considered a fringe candidate just few years ago and who was just found liable for bilking investors. His other main rival is a fundamentalist preacher who has built a campaign around social issues like opposing gay marriage at a time when the electorate is becoming more accepting, not less. In addition, there five other candidates in the primary, and though none has gained much traction, they provide plenty of choices as protest votes.

So, in North Carolina, Democrats are in better shape than most people think but not because of anything they’re doing. On a national scale, the Democrats’ strategy is to divert attention away from Obamacare by pointing fingers at the Koch Brothers and then linking GOP candidates to the billionaire brothers. It’s a guilt-by-association strategy that would be doomed to failure if not for the ineptness of the Republicans.

Thank goodness they’ve got that secret weapon.