Issues & Insights

The Resistance Snatches Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

“Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead.” — Miracle Max, “The Princess Bride”

A humbling aspect of commentating is the relentless whizzing of today’s News Cycle that spins this week’s pearls of ageless wisdom into next week’s cheap imitation plastic beads.

Less than 30 days ago, this president was rightly given up for dead. He was hopelessly on the defensive on COVID-19. Had ceded control of the economy to card-carrying KARENs and blue-state teapot-tyrants. And harbored zero prospect of an Obamagate-powered scandal bounce.

He needed a miracle.

You ask for miracles, responds the News Cycle, channeling the antagonist of another popular ‘80s Meisterwerk.

I give you: The Resistance.

Who’da thunk that this far-flung collection, spanning militants to magnates, could have moved so swiftly, so decisively and in such perfect symmetry to snatch self-defeat from the jaws of near-certain victory – and send Middle America scurrying back to Donald Trump’s waiting embrace?

Indeed, every element of the present-day Permanent Revolution is playing its part.

Stealthy, black-clad Antifa plotters and uprising-empresarios. Our new Black Lives Matter masters, adjuring all America to take a knee (or face-plant) as its leaders and their moniker-cum-manifesto become the unimpeachable Measure of All Things.

Urban terrorists and shopping-plaza pillagers, camouflaging behind the language of “anger,” “pain,” and “systemic racism” to sate refined tastes for Rolexes, big-screen TVs, luxury cars and iPhones.

The ever-more unendurable media – last seen front-running the COVID coup – downplaying on-camera devastation and proffering mainstream megaphones for concepts so radical (“destroying property … is not violence”) as to be unthinkable 15 minutes ago.

The same pocket-despots who previously imprisoned parishioners, threatened nonbelligerent protesters and handcuffed parents at playgrounds are now taking a “hands-off” approach to mass, unmasked demonstrations and lawlessness – while rhetorically and administratively throwing their own men-and-women-in-blue under the bus, then driving it back-and-forth over them.

Other poor excuses for “public servants” mindlessly mouthing inanities – “defund the police” – that in saner times would be seen as fundamental derelictions of duty.

Public-health posers who previously commanded solitary confinement and socio-economic calamity discovering that imminent risks of rampant racism outweigh the immediate coronavirus danger.

Clueless celebrities tweeting storms of self-righteousness while bailing out perps of “mostly peaceful” destruction.

Tough-guy athletes sobbing piteously over personal hurt from the once-unobjectionable pro-flag stance of a beloved quarterback-philanthropist.

Fawning, faux soul-searching corpocrats and academics instructing colleagues and defenseless customers on our common biases and blood-guilt – and responsibility to “change.”

Military leaders present and past jettisoning traditional reticence to question their commander in chief.

And a brainwashed, disrespectful younger generation lecturing, hectoring and in some cases hollering that parents “don’t get it” and need to meditate on our “privilege.”

Americans are patient and sympathetic people. They collectively shrank back in horror at the appalling George Floyd video. Empathized with protesters. And reopened minds and hearts to now-familiar stories of African-American experiences of inequitable and unacceptable treatment.

But this just in: For those who missed the 2016 election – or want to wish it away – Middle America doesn’t take kindly to being talked down to and labeled “systemic racists.” Any more than being dismissed as “bitter clingers,” “deplorables” and “not very good people” based on adherence to timeless values.

Not after good-naturedly enduring trillions of their tax dollars being frittered in a failed War on Poverty. Not after five decades of ceding hard-earned spots in business and academia on grounds other than merit. And not when they see chaos reign and fear the snuffing out of nascent recovery – as they’re assured that they are evil while looters and rioters filling TV screens are virtuous and justified.

Middle America gets it, all right. It gets that it’s being played – again. And that through the ritual humiliation and abasement of all it believes in and works for, one leader stands unashamedly and steadfastly – if sometimes outright offensively – on their side.

Donald Trump.

Keep in mind pundit Salena Zito’s admonition that media and elites take the president literally, but not seriously – while his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

The unconscionable attack by retired general and Defense Secretary James Mattis – along with a coded message of defiance from Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley and open dissent from current Defense Secretary Mark Esper – are especially instructive here.

The president’s threat to activate the military if necessary to restore order – likely never intended to be acted upon – is as cringe-worthy as his many misbegotten tweets. But that threat, his stroll to St. John’s Episcopal Church and those tweets are The Donald’s way of signaling solidarity with the “forgotten Americans” who elected him – over elites and their domestic apology tour.

“Mad Dog” may have been a rough, tough soldier. But blaming the president for the current tempests and outrageously comparing him to Nazis – along with the psychobabble emanations of other politicians-in-uniform astride the military-industrial complex – represent virtue-signaling elitism at its purest. And yet more proof that otherwise very smart people still don’t get what 2016 was about.

All of which is why, with each spin of the News Cycle, The Resistance keeps pushing Middle America further into President Donald Trump’s camp – and effecting his rise from the “mostly dead.”

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Bob Maistros

Bob Maistros, a messaging and communications strategist and crisis specialist, is of counsel with Strategic Action Public Affairs, and was chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, three U.S. Senators, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at


  • I hope interpretation of the result of recent events is correct but that is not what the polling says yet. Biden’s lead keeps getting bigger and the Democrats agenda becomes even more insane.

    • Recall polling showed Hillary had 2016 in the bag. Likely one reason is that people may have not liked the fact that being pro-Trump was was being “deplorable” so they kept their true feeling hidden. And now, with violence being opening committed against pro-Trumpers, why would anyone tell even a speck of truth to pollsters. I predict Trump with 47 states.

  • Excellent points, but are there enough citizens left in Middle America to resurrect Trump? And why do you dismiss the use of the military to restore order during periods of rebellion? Washington got the endorsement of his cabinet and the Chief Justice, raised an army, put on his uniform and smashed the Whiskey Rebellion. Grant used Sheridan to enforce the law in the South. Ditto Ike with the 101stvAirborne in Little Rock. Why not?
    Neal G.

    • I’m not dismissing use of the military. I think it’s a last resort and should give people pause. The signal was the most important element.

      Yes, I think there are enough citizens in Middle America to re-elect Trump if he runs the table as in 2016. Americans are going to get sick of being lectured to. There is a large potential Bradley effect of people telling pollsters one thing and then voting the opposite.

      And Trump will once again have a fearsome digital strategy that will micro target voters in critical precincts. That’s the secret to how he won in 2016.

      I don’t think this would have all made a difference in the environment of two weeks ago. But the news cycle is spinning at an ever-more furious rate and the left’s fulminations are getting crazier and crazier.

  • they will try to steal the election anyway, be ready for more chaos regrettably. God help us all.

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