You know I wasn’t happy with the election of Donald Trump and the fact that the Republicans now control the House, Senate, and White House. I didn’t vote for any of them and I know none of them will have my concerns in mind when they start their agenda. However I won’t be telling people Trump ‘is not my President’. I don’t think it’s helpful to copy the Tea Party playbook lock stock and barrel. We need a more rational way to resist Trump and fight hard for our progressive agenda in which a majority of people agree.
The fact is a majority of total voters voted for Clinton but Trump won the electoral college votes. Of course there is some debate how ethical that win really was, but barring some last minute super-duper legal maneuver or a ‘smoking gun’, Trump will be taking the oath of office on January 20th. I will still have fun telling my conservative friends that Hillary won the election by almost 3 million votes.
Some people were so upset with the Trump election they have formed groups to resist the new administration.
The intensity of the language of opposition is reflective of Trump’s deep unpopularity on the left. Just 10 percent of Democrats said they had a favorable view of Trump in a November Gallup poll — far fewer than the 31 percent of Democrats who said they liked George W. Bush right after he was elected. Overall, just 42 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of Trump — a figure that’s more than 15 points lower than the previous three presidents before their inaugurations, and one that makes him the least popular incoming president in at least 25 years.
The call to “resist” also embodies some liberals’ refusal to accept Trump’s win as legitimate. Many argue his win was only possible thanks to Russian meddling before Election Day and the last-minute intervention of FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s incoming White House staffers and even some Democrats have chided this refusal to acknowledge Trump’s win. “It’s over,” Vice President Joe Biden told some House Democrats who attempted to stop Trump’s Electoral College vote tally last week.
Some on the left even wrote a guide that gives an overview of how the Tea Party people got their way during the Obama administration and suggest the left copy it.
I think progressives and others on the left should go back to local grassroots effort to correct our soon to be bad political situation. ‘Resisting’, where you gladly use a hashtag like #notmypresident or keep saying that Trump is not the legitimate President, is just a waste of time.
We shouldn’t be copying the Tea Party whole. They were deplorable people and progressives aren’t like that and can’t be like that.
The Tea Party also had very little difficulty making the case that President Obama was evil because racist and evil-Democrat ideas and memes were already well entrenched in heartland white America, the result of years of propaganda from Fox, talk radio, and online right-wing media sources. Tea Party activism broadcast to America what right-wingers were already saying to one another in Free Republic threads and on radio call-in shows, as well as what Fox News blasted into living rooms on a daily basis.
This points up a huge advantage the right has over the left. Right-wing propagandists keep their target audience angry all the time. Fox, Breitbart, and talk radio depict Black Lives Matter as a Klan-like hate group even when there’s no obvious news peg. So the audience for the right-wing media (which is much larger than the audience for, say, MSNBC prime time) has outrage as its baseline. That’s not true for most liberals and progressives.
So they were easy for the Tea Party or the Trump campaign to rile up. They already had a well-established narrative of their alleged enemies’ perfidy — all the teabaggers or Trump had to do was allude to what they already believed.
We have far fewer people on the left who start out angry. And we don’t have any megaphones as large as Fox’s or talk radio’s, nor do we have funders as generous as the Kochs. So we have a much, much harder climb.
That doesn’t mean we just roll over and bury our head in the sand for four years. As Vjack at Atheist Revolution writes:
The good news, of course, is that recognizing the reality that Trump will be your president after January 20 in no way prevents you from criticizing him or working against whichever of his policies you do not like. The even better news is that you can criticize him, work to oppose his policies, and even be part of the anti-Trump resistance movement without necessarily trying to delegitimize his presidency. Opposing Trump’s agenda through strategic resistance is not the same thing as seeking to delegitimize him or the office he is about to take.
My advice here is simple: let your passion energize your activism, but let reason guide the approaches you take. If you really want to resist Trump, do so effectively. Keep the focus on the issues that matter. Direct your energy toward criticizing Trump’s many bad ideas and the policies he will seek to implement with which you disagree. Let us know why you think his ideas are bad. Let us know how you think his policies will be harmful. And if possible, suggest some alternatives and let us know how we can help. Connect with your elected representatives and let them know that you expect them to oppose Trump’s worst policies. When they do so, express your appreciation. When they fail to do so, make it clear that this will negatively impact their chances at re-election.
I agree with the point to use your anger in a rational way to try and take back the House and Senate for a start then there will be a chance to take back the White House.
(I disagree with Vjack about not shaming political conservatives and libertarians who voted for Trump and who will dislike his coming policies. I will freely point out that “I told you so…” and laugh at their complaints.)
A majority of people agree with Progressives on many issues and our job is to communicate our views.
It will be hard work. The cheap cop out is to sit behind your computer and shout ‘You Lie!‘ at images of Trump and tell your friends he isn’t your President.
I think there is a better way.
Also published on Medium.