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The Democrats and the entire, united ruling class threw the kitchen sink at Trump to try overturning the verdict of 2016, and failed spectacularly. The Republicans can thank the Democrats for the horror show they put on at the Kavanaugh hearings because that, with the rest of their threatening behavior, neutralized the enormous human and financial effort they had put into “the resistance.” The Republican campaign, with the exception of Trump’s last minute blitz, was pathetic, aiming as it did strictly at economic concerns. This neglected that they had done next to nothing to alleviate what had been the #1 economic concern, the ravages of Obamacare. But most of all, the Republicans failed to continue the line of attack that had paid off so handsomely in 2016: “who the hell do they think they are?” For a quarter century, Americans have lived increasingly under the shadow of political correctness. People watch what they say in front of whom, lest a stray remark be used to fire or otherwise place them beyond somebody’s pale. The arbitrary rule of “the authorities” — corporate, educational, governmental — is what had ignited rebellion. They ran an establishment campaign, which failed to motivate their establishment constituency. Trump then stepped in, and deployed the Deplorables.

Whoever expects the Democrats to drop or moderate the Resistance does not realize that they have been acting less out of choice than as an expression of their evolving identity. They are at war. That is not a question. The question is, what happens on the Republican side? Two things to watch: how Trump revamps his cabinet — especially who his Attorney General will be — and whether Jim Jordan or Kevin McCarthy will head the House Republicans. The big question, today and as it has been since 2017, is how the conservative side deals with “the resistance.”

is a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute and professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University.

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