Since Donald J. Trump’s election as president of the United States by a solid majority of the Electoral College, his opponents and detractors have engaged in a combination of “peaceful” and violent means to delegitimize his victory. Given the unconventional mode of Trump’s campaign for the last 18 months, this is not surprising. His promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. was not an idle one, after all.

At the same time, the left’s “poor loser” reaction plays directly into Trump’s strategy. Who but a multitude of swamp creatures would seek to overturn the electoral vote, including intimidating many electors; charge into the streets of major cities (Democrat strongholds all) to frighten innocent citizens; defy federal authority in the dozen or so “blue states"; and swarm into the nation’s capital to mock the solemnity of the two-century tradition culminating in the peaceful transition of power, topped by Democrat congresspersons boycotting the inaugural ceremony.

Of course, none of these desperate tactics change the constitutionally based election results, but that isn’t the point. These are the efforts of the “loyal” opposition to discredit the Trump administration from day one and as such are best understood not as a way to defeat Trump’s personnel, proposals and policies but to cast them as the odious output of a mean-spirited chief executive.

Doubtless what really rankles Democrats, progressives and assorted radicals and anarchists alike is that Trump beat them at their own game. For several presidential election cycles, the left’s election strategy consisted in “identity politics,” meaning appealing to voters not based so much on their opinions or occupations, but on their (minority) race, (feminine or indeterminate) gender, (non) religion and (young) age. That worked as long as those not in those privileged categories were divided or apathetic.

But Trump turned things around. It was primarily the white working class and religious conservatives whose inclusion in his electoral majority added to the traditional Republican appeal to economic conservatives, business persons, military personnel and their families and, not least, those who wanted to “make America great again.”

That isn’t all. Despite Trump’s off-the-cuff style of communicating, especially via Twitter, his opponents’ desperate attempts fail to make his comments seem like the work of a foe of the American Constitution. Rather, they are the work of an unpolished politician determined to right multiple wrongs against that very Constitution and those who still obey it.

It must be said: Trump’s most ardent followers showed during the primary season and general election campaign (and since he was elected) that none of the “telling” points made against him have any effect on them whatsoever. Not even the clever media campaign to spot “disarray” in the early transition, disagreement with him by his Cabinet picks or his or their alleged conflicts of interests, or the overworked Russian hacking charges, have managed to shake them.

True, recent public opinion surveys reveal some discomfiture with the Trump style, but not regarding the economic, military or moral issues that figured so prominently in his surprising triumph on election night. In short, the more Trump’s opponents paint lurid and overdrawn pictures of him, the more “wiggle room” they give him to push his agenda of fair trade, lower taxes and regulation, stronger foreign and domestic security and reverence for wholesome American traditions.

The mass demonstrations before, during and after Inauguration Day, however impressive the numbers, reveal the shortcomings of the strategy. The people who show up at these gatherings are the very ones who voted for Hillary Clinton (assuming that they actually voted). Thus, when a Women’s March assembled in Washington, D.C., it did not include women who are pro-life or who voted for Trump — over half of them in the latter case.

Let us not mince words about the corruption of identity politics. Voting based on the accident of birth rather than any public principle elevates the self over the public good. Back in the 1960s the New Left coined the slogan, “the personal is the political,” which privileged anti-war, socialistic and sexual passions. The mere fact of “commitment” sanctified this constituency’s prejudices. We may be witnessing their death throes.

Except that there are no permanent victories and defeats in our two-party system. However ineffectual the left’s current campaign against Trump, perception could eventually overtake reality. If Democrats can misrepresent the Reagan economic recovery of the 1980s as nothing more than “trickle-down economics,” then they can cast Trump’s results in equally uncomplimentary terms.

It will take more than Trump’s spirited retorts to attacks on his administration to carry the day. Not only the palpable fact of economic recovery but the clear and intelligent defense of it in spoken and printed word by both politicians and journalists can accomplish that.

Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow Community College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of "Taking Journalism Seriously: 'Objectivity' as a Partisan Cause" (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at rhreeb@verizon.net