Not my President
Donald Trump may not be my President but he is the President of America and I am an American so my disavowal means little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. It does, however, make me feel better so I repeat it like a mantra. As for those of us who find a Trump Presidency unacceptable, perhaps it is because of policy statements that sound more like a roster of awful –isms, which most of us never expected to hear in mainstream American speeches. We knew these ideas still lived but they lived at the fringes of American culture. So we hear arguments in the press about whether the racism is real, or the nativism, or the fascism. We are told that the misogyny has been exaggerated, that freedom of the press is not under attack, that Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists are not getting ready to take their places in the President’s cabinet and in the West Wing of the White House. We are led to believe that we are being too dramatic. Will we have an anomaly like the Secret Service protecting Steve Bannon, the Breitbart guy? Why is the press trying to moderate the unimaginable? What should be in the Democrats new playbook?
Democrats and Progressives, and even apparently Greens, feel that as Americans they should resist this particular Presidential choice and never allow this person to become our actual President. That sounds like a battle worth undertaking to me. But what will our strategies be? Signing petitions and writing small grassroots checks may be good first steps and we should certainly keep sending in those petitions, calling our Congress people and talking loud and often so everyone knows we’re still out here. But we don’t have much of a voice in Congress right now so I’m guessing our petitions just give these cynical legislators something to laugh about. Still many times the court of public opinion has succeeded by drowning the opposition in paper.
I belong to a few pro-Democrat groups on Facebook and these folks are passionate and very much angry and grieving. It is comforting to be among people who agree with my points of view and even to read some of the posts where people vent in language that is way less than socially acceptable. Few trolls get by the sponsors of the sites so mostly you are swimming in friendly company. But is this really activism or just venting?
I get a lot of email from groups that are trying to encourage us to organize and talk to each other and perhaps stage demonstrations and other appropriate activism at the local level. Some are trying to organize busloads of people to go to Washington to demonstrate at the Inauguration. Once DT is inaugurated our choices become more long range in certain ways and more short range in others. Long range, we plan how to win back the American voters. Short range we fight back Congressional action by Congressional action and we do the same against Presidential actions.
How well will such activism be tolerated? Look what is happening to the Dakota Pipeline people and they are only fighting for one essential thing – fresh water. We do not have a history in this country of fighting back if we face possible violence or imprisonment. Lots of implications for quality of daily life if we do stage massive demonstrations, lots of implications if we do not. In the first case the suffering is immediate and perhaps short term, in the second case (if we do not demonstrate) the suffering may be long term and irreversible.) Could it come to Civil War?
The Clash of the Titans
If you look into the plethora of organizations that exist on each end of the political spectrum it is a bit intimidating, especially given the connection of each group with the Koch brothers on the right and, some claim, George Soros on the left. DT did not appear out of nowhere. He may not have been the heir apparent but he is the heir expedient. How do we the people get to make any headway against these American “big men”? Are these opposing kleptocrats already locked in a battle that makes the American people basically irrelevant?
The Koch brothers are the wealthy backers on the right. Here is a diagram of the groups they back or have backed.
By Robert Maguire – http://www.opensecrets.org/news/assets_c/2014/01/flow%20final-11708.html%5Bdead link], CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30598829
If you want to see this information in list form then follow this link:
I have seen lists even longer than this, but you will get the idea.
On the side of the Democrats we have the enemy of the right wing, George Soros who is involved in an astonishingly large number of groups on the left:
(Of course, if you can read this chart you are amazing but it you copy it and zoom it you can see the details.)
(The list of organizations on the left is longer but it also has notes with each entry.)
Is this a situation sort of equivalent to the Greeks and their gods on Mount Olympus? Perhaps we could just tell improbable stories about their doings and get on with our lives pretending that what we believe still matters.
Two Interesting Gambits
We could possibly unseat DT by recounting votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and if this works we will have to thank Jill Stein for it. If the votes prove to be way out of kilter then perhaps the electors will switch their votes to Hillary.
The other, possibly equally unlikely, option could be that enough electors who are allowed to vote their conscience but in modern times usually don’t change their minds on December 19th and cast their votes for Hillary. I personally love both of these options but the press says we are dreaming if we think either of these moves will change the outcome of the election. I’m not real fond of most of the press right now so I don’t mind hoping that they are proven wrong once again in this most strange election.
Taking a Few Pages from the Republican Playbook
I’m thinking that, while it is nice to have a TV channel like Fox News cheering for your party 24/7, Democrats are not really interested in broadcasting fake news, so that page of the playbook is probably out. We do have our own Talk Radio shows but since they do not wish to play on people’s hate or fear or jealousy it is difficult to whip up the drama necessary to get folks to listen to you nonstop and Democrats don’t really go in much for brainwashing. So that very effective Republican tactic is also probably off the table.
What Republicans also did very well was to use their many organizations to hold conventions, forums and meetings where they honed their big picture policies (although they were not as good at filling in the details.) They gave party members ample opportunities to speak in public and feel comfortable with it. They boiled their message down to talking points which everyone could memorize, internalize and use ad nauseum in the media. They taught their members to deflect uncomfortable questions by demonizing their opponent (and they told them how to do that) or by reiterating those omnipresent talking points. If you notice Republicans are all very glib and that’s because they do not express individual ideas and thoughts; they toe the party line.
Democrats have organizations. Instead of taking more small donations from grassroots members it is time to spend some money on those very same loyal followers and future bench deepeners. Give some scholarships to young people who want to study politics at schools where they will learn why the left is more suited to run a Democracy than the right is. Hold conventions, forums, and meetings and invite people interested in becoming active in the Democratic or Progressive movements to attend and participate. Pay their way if they cannot afford to go. Nurture future Democrats and teach them how to get a message to the nation that makes it clear why the Democrats are better for America in the present and in the future.
If you have a plan for what Democrats should do next write about it. Give details, please.