With Donald Trump’s administration plagued by unforced errors, weak legislative accomplishment, and historically low popularity one would think the President’s re-election chances are nil. Even so, it would be foolish to bet money on the President’s defeat in 2020 or even on Republicans losing Congress next year.
Despite himself, the President has one significant advantage as comedienne Kathy Griffin recently illustrated. A photo of her holding a bloodied mask of the President by the hair in the style of an ISIS beheading spawned national outrage and traumatized the President’s eleven-year-old son Barron.
Griffin is just the latest egregious example of the leftist self-styled “Resistance” going over the top in their response to Trump and damaging their cause. Ms. Griffin’s stunt distracted the public from our disappointed allies, and the disgruntled staff and the talk of impeachment. Similarly, the leftist push to filibuster the liked and well qualified Neil Gorsuch led Senate Republicans to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court Justices which means a nominee can be too conservative for the Senate’s two most liberal Republicans and still be confirmed with Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote.
While many on the left warn of the dangers of “normalizing Trump,” the extreme tactics of the far left are normalizing his worst behavior. If the left were smart and disciplined, they would act respectfully and calmly. Responding to the President in kind makes the President’s behavior seem reasonable.
Why is the far left blind to how destructive its behavior is? It may come back to the pretentious label they attached to themselves: the Resistance. In pop culture, the Resistance is in opposition to tyrannical regimes. Using the name in fiction evokes the resistance to the Nazis that sprung up in France and other occupied countries during the War. They were guerrilla fighters who killed thousands. However, we rightly praise the actions of the Resistance during World War II because their acts were done against the Nazis to liberate their country. Similarly, we see the “resistance” used in fiction for a similar purpose. For example in the penultimate episode of Supergirl this season titled, “Resist,” one speech calls for a rising resistance to aliens who invaded to “Make Earth Great Again.” (Have to appreciate the subtle writing.)
By calling itself the Resistance, the Left is trying to borrow the moral authority of the resistance in history and fiction. As the Resistance, they seek to stand as the morally righteous opponents of evil. Since they are the Resistance, their opponents are so evil that their every action is justified.
The problem with this is no one invaded Democrats on November 8. They did not face a foreign power bent on enslavement or aliens from outer space. They lost an election. While they may think Trump’s election justifies any behavior against Trump or Republicans, they are only serving to make the President’s often rude behavior seem less and less and aberrant. This attitude creates a dangerous climate where both sides of a political war justify their atrocious behavior by their enemies’ outrageous conduct.
Crazy activists are nothing new to either side, but the Democrats who want to win in 2020 will be out to impress the Resistance. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has a strong record as the pragmatic former mayor of Trenton and is doing everything in his power to erase any position that shows any variance from far left orthodoxy while Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) remains a favorite of the resistance. She recently joked of Republicans, “I hope they leave their bodies to science. I would like to cut them open.” This statement that will be little comfort for voters who seek a return to normalcy in 2020.
For Republicans, the Resistance offers an undeserved boon as it could help them bridge the expected enthusiasm gap with Democrats by stoking fires of outrage among the GOP base. For Democrats, the Resistance offers a challenge: they cannot ignore them, but if they indulge them too much they risk a backlash. For everyone not tied to the two parties, everything remains the same: politics is horrible and will continue to be so as long as the Republicans and Democrats continue to be the dominant political parties.