Few current observers seem to recall the wrath that greeted Bill Clinton’s ascension. To the left, “Clintonism” implies accommodation and calculation. But to the right in 1992, it meant usurpation. Reaganism held almost religious significance, and its reign was supposed to be transformative and permanent. For the One True Way to be restored, Clintonism had to be delegitimized.
That delegitimization ushered in the politics of party restoration at whatever cost, governance and country be damned. This led first to an attempted legislative coup in 1998 and then to a judicial coup in 2000. And to all the more recent outrages of birtherism, government shutdowns, delayed Supreme Court confirmations and, ultimately, the rise of a would-be autocrat as a party nominee.
Susan Faludi, “How Hillary Clinton Met Satan”, The New York Times (30 October 2016), SR5.