WASHINGTON — I have experienced defeat in presidential politics many times. Actually, I expect most Americans have. You win some, and you lose some.
I first experienced defeat in 1964 when then-Sen. Barry Goldwater went down, though I was not even old enough to vote. I experienced it in 1968. I experienced it again in 1976, when my candidate was Ronald Reagan. That year was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, for Reagan was old and — so I was told — never likely to run again. In 1992, after 12 years of Reagan's and George H.W. Bush's presidencies, fortune was against me again when the nicest of the Bushes lost to the hick Bill Clinton who had obviously hoked up his resume and brought his left-wing wife into the White House with him. She had worked for a communist lawyer named Robert Treuhaft in San Francisco, as well as on the Yale Review of Law and Social Action when it published cartoons of pigs dressed as police officers. As for the hick, he had dodged the draft and demonstrated against the Vietnam War.
The election of 2000 brought victory, but after eight years of George W. Bush, 2008 brought defeat once again. At least America would now be free of the incubus of racism. The victor was a pleasant black man, and there was, for me, some consolation in that. At least the issue of American racism had now been put to rest, had it not?
Then came 2016, and a political newcomer made his appearance. Donald Trump was from my generation, the one that came of age in the 1960s, and he had no trace of protest or radicalism in his background. Indeed, he became a businessman, a very successful businessman. He promised to "Make America Great Again." Who, other than a 1960s associate of communists or a supporter of the Black Panthers, would be horrified by that?
Well, Hillary Clinton would be, and come to think of it, she was both an associate of communists and, at least fleetingly, a supporter of Black Panthers. So were many of her like-minded supporters. Their defeat crushed them in a way that no defeat ever crushed me. Now they are adopting the word "resistance" as a response to their defeat in 2016. I never thought of adopting that word when Reagan lost back in 1968 and 1976. But Hillary does. She imagines a vast throng joining with her in resisting the election of President Trump. This should not surprise me — I have watched the left wing of my 1960s generation for years in defeat and in victory. It never grows up.
Hillary and her cadres will leave public life much as they entered public life some 50 years ago. Then they took their first baby steps into politics. It was called campus politics or protests politics. They were wearing diapers, struggling to speak, shaking rattles and menacing the adults overseeing them. Eventually, their rattles became more menacing. Their struggles to speak became shouts. Their infantile whines became full-blown protests.
They practiced "resistance" then. They took over much of the Democratic Party — the party of the Kennedys, of Hubert Humphrey, of Lyndon Johnson. They brought us to the administrative state and "political correctness." Now, Trump seeks to liberate us from all this. He is, contrary to his critics, making commendable headway against the administrative state, and Hillary is wallowing in "resistance."
Allow me to make a prediction. Hillary is less popular today than when she lost to Trump on Nov. 8. She will continue to be unpopular. My guess is she will become even more unpopular. She is not an agreeable presence on the political scene, and the American people know it. Think back to her tenure as first lady. No other first lady was consistently so unpopular as Hillary Rodham Clinton. Moreover, the American people do not admire a sore loser. Hillary will be known as the sorest loser in American history.
Now here is another prediction: If Hillary and her cadres in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media continue to "resist" the 2016 election, Trump will almost certainly be reelected in 2020. Hillary and the Democrats' "resistance" will repulse the American majority. Hillary and her left-wing cohorts will supply me with a gaudy show until the end.
Some laughed at me in 2016 when I was among the few who picked Donald Trump as winner. Some simply ignored me. I wonder what their reaction will be when he wins again.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.