Following up on an earlier post about the Trump resistance, things look clearer.
The overall goals of the resistance are to remove Donald Trump from office as soon as possible and undo as much damage as we can. In more practical terms, that means impeaching him if possible, electing Democrats to fight him, letting people know about his authoritarianism –> reducing his popularity, and certainly defeating him in 2020 (if he is still in office).
Resistance should take every (nonviolent) form that suits a person’s preferences and abilities. Keep the pressure on Trump and the GOP in every way possible. But let’s put them in priority order:
1. Elect people who will oppose him. That means Democrats, showing up to vote FOR DEMOCRATS in every election. Volunteer for and donate to Democratic candidates this year (yes, 2017) and in 2018. This includes all levels: Congress, Governors, state legislators, and other state & local elected representatives. Organize. For those of us in solidly Blue districts, find a nearby swing district to work for.
In terms of upcoming 2017 elections, the nearest is the special election this Spring in Georgia’s Sixth Cong. District, where we have a chance to elect a Democrat to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Price (who will be Trump’s Secretary of HHS). I have already volunteered to phone bank for Jon Ossoff, a Democrat. In November, both Virginia and New Jersey will elect governors. No need to wait until 2018. Visit flippable.org for more.
2. Write & call Congresspersons, encouraging them to oppose Trump, and holding them accountable when they don’t. Organize.
3. Boycott companies that sell Trump products. We have the economic power. Counties accounting for 2/3 of national GDP voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The companies know that. The 2017 Super Bowl commercials showed that they understand which side they should be on. See this list of companies to boycott.
4. Contribute to worthwhile causes: ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Vote Riders, etc. Or volunteer your time with them.
5. March & protest. These are good. They draw media attention; they energize us and keep our morale up (that’s important, too); they let us network.
6. Support & promote these actions on social media. But don’t waste our time engaging trolls.
Some further thoughts kitchen sink approach:
These actions do make a difference. The immediate and huge protests in reaction to the Muslim Ban had an undeniable impact. Senator Murkowski changed her vote on Betsy Devos because of an outpouring of constituent responses. Uber donated $3 million to help the ACLU defend detainees and the CEO quit Trump’s business council. Etc.
Another perspective on “what to do.” Quite simple, watch Fox News and do whatever they complain about. If Lou Dobbs bitches & moans about left-wingers derailing Town Halls, then go to your Congressperson’s town hall. If Sean Hannity whines about George Soros paying protestors, then go to a protest. If Trump & Kellyanne Conway carp about Nordstrom’s, then keep boycotting. Whatever rattles Trump’s state media the most is what they will complain about.
At the same time keep in mind that unnecessarily riling up individual Trump supporters is counter-productive. It just makes them dig in their heels. At this writing, Trump’s Disapproval/Approval (per Gallup) is 53/42. We want to move those numbers. Doing stuff that personally provokes Trumpkins is not in our interest. Of course, never engage in violence; if you see it a rally, try to restrain our side. Do not confront & argue with Trumpkins, not online, and certainly not at public demonstrations. (If you want to argue with your brother-in-law at family events, that’s between you and him.)
For any activity you might undertake, think about the trade-off between benefit for us and the cost of motivating Trumpers against us. Any violence is obviously completely counter-productive. Gives them media fodder & reinforces their sense of persecution. On the other extreme, organizing, voting, donating, etc. are completely beneficial to our side. Zero blowback. In between are marches and protests. Yes, I march & protest. On balance, they are good for us. But, honestly, there’s some cost there, some blowback. Still, on balance, worth doing, but keep in mind that protesting is not as 100% positive as electoral activism.
One final word about the kitchen sink approach, and keeping the pressure on in every conceivable way. We don’t know in advance what will have the greatest impact. What brought Nixon down? “A third-rate burglary.” Why did Bill Clinton get impeached” Because of an investigation started to pursue an old real estate deal. Al Capone? Tax evasion! Pressure Trump from every direction. He’s erratic and undisciplined. For example, some people have been calling his hotels, tying up their lines. Hmmm. Not my style, but who’s to say? Maybe if enough people do that, Trump will be provoked to do something stupid —- such as detailing his Secret Service guards to protect his hotels. And then he might get impeached for that. Who knows? Bring the heat!
A complicating factor here is how to think about “greatest impact.” From a polling perspective, if you ask voters, it would seem that Planned Parenthood defunding and ObamaCare repeal would be the only issues that might move persuadable voters. Okay, but there are other, wonkier matters that could trip up the administration. Two different things to consider in “greatest impact.”
Random Do’s & Don’ts
Never call him “President Trump.” Just don’t. Call him “Trump, the current occupant of the White House, Agent Orange, Minority President, or some other nickname. But not “President …”
When Trump does some outrageous thing, don’t bother to note, “If Obama had done that, conservatives’ heads would have exploded.” Of course they would have. Trump is going to do ten “unpresidented” things before breakfast every day. And the Trumpkins aren’t going to utter a peep. Pointing that hypocrisy out is a total waste of time.
On the other hand, mock Trump and his so-called people mercilessly. Laughter and humiliation are great weapons. When they do something stupid, which they do constantly, laugh at them about it, make up internet memes about it, and generally piss them off. But omit the whiny complaint, “If Obama had done that, …”
Don’t engage with trolls on the internet. (This bears repetition.)
Don’t get baited into denouncing bad actions committed by individuals who oppose Trump. I’m a decent, honest human being. I know that violence is wrong; mocking children (including 11-year-old sons of despicable public figures) is wrong; etc. So anyone who challenges me to denounce these things is just trolling. Refuse the bait. And I don’t troll myself by pre-emptively posting my denunciations of these actions.
Do not fear; do not become despondent nor apathetic. Here’s why. No one can predict the future. For all we know Trump is the beginning of the Fourth Reich and America will be become an actual Fascist state with genocide of minorities. We just don’t know. But whatever the ultimate outcome, we want to look ourselves in the mirror and to let posterity know what we did. And if we give in to despondency, then our spirit will falter and we will not fight on. And that must not happen. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — FDR