In a less than an hour, these United States of America will sail off the map into completely unknown territory. Maybe it will just be a slightly different “more of the same” given how paralyzing out political process has become, or maybe…
We can guess about our course by looking at our captain, Trump, the #minorityPresident.
Trump is unfit.
Being elected did not magically imbue Trump with the judgement, knowledge, and temperament to be POTUS. He is still the same vain, greedy, thin-skinned man he’s always been. He is still the “great businessman” that declared bankruptcy a half dozen times and who got his start–and several bailouts–from his rich father. And he’s still the thermonuclear pyromanic who’s obsessed with and ignorant of the most destructive weapons known to man.
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” —Hillary
Trump is unprepared.
Apologists said he’d be surrounded by the best people to make up for his deficiencies. Most of the seats below the cabinet are empty, and in a panic Trumpworld has been asking many of Obama’s people to stay the day before his inauguration. It’s not uncommon for some people to stay on, but it’s completely unprecedented to have so many vacancies and beg for help after screwing the pooch. Maybe it was firing Christie as head of the transition that derailed the selection and vetting process, or maybe they just never did any work at all.
The Obama people should all say no. They are just going to legitimize Trump and give him a bunch of scapegoats for the first dozen or so catastrophes he brings down upon us all.
Trump is corrupt.
Trump just paid $25 million dollars to settle lawsuits from defrauded students of “Trump University”. Instead of draining the swamp, he has surrounded himself with contributors and billionaires as unfit for their offices as he is. He railed against Clinton’s ties to Goldman Sachs and then picked an even half dozen for major posts. He sees being president as a money-making opportunity for him and for his cronies.
Instant Conflict of Interest: Just add Bible. It’s an immediate constitutional crisis when he takes the oath of office.
Trump is compromised.
There’s no other way to explain the Trump-Putin bromance. Either Putin has compromising materials on him or has become the master to Trump’s apprenticeship of being an authoritarian kleptocrat dictator. The big surprise is how many Republicans have abandoned patriotism in the name of Trump. The sign early on was Trump disparaging John McCain’s war record. Now, Putin’s favorability rating among Trump voters are not insignificant. In fact, they may be better than Trump’s given his nose-dive on the way to inauguration–a net -10%.
Trump is a pathological liar.
It’s hard to distinguish lies he tells with intent from lies he tells out of ignorance and hyperbole, but no politician to date has ever lied as publicly, consistently, and obviously as Trump. This country, founded on Age of Enlightenment principles, has wallowed in the much of a post-truth world for years now. The anti-Obama Republicans started it to rationalize their naked obstructionism, but Trump perfected it along with delivering it via Twitter. Now we’re leaving the post-truth period for the Golden Age of Lying.
Trump doesn’t care about you.
He only cares about himself, his family, and his cronies. Trump managed to dupe millions of people because elections are about emotions, not reason. He got people mad and kept them mad by playing on their real-world problems and their unconscious bigotries–except for the outright bigots who flocked to Trump as a beacon of White Power. Frankly, a large part of those people don’t really believe or like Trump; it just feels good to be part of a movement, a part of the winning team. They don’t care if he burns it all down.
Doing Something About It
I don’t list these points to convince former Trump voters of their mistakes. There are no links to back up these assertions. Polls show Trump voters don’t know or “agree with” basic facts like unemployment is lower and the stock market higher after Obama’s eight years. Those arguments are lost before they begin, so don’t bother. You cannot reason with the irrational.
Use this list to get mad and to stay mad. Go over your list of grievances every day, because we need to fight back. It’s time to throw away notions that worked in a country with competent presidents and some agreement on common good. It’s time to use whatever leverage we have, to use whatever strategies work.
The only political power left for Democrats is the filibuster. Our senators must vow to obstruct everything Trump does, even if it appears good on the surface. McConnell proved that obstructionism works as long as it’s total and absolute. Let your senators know that you’re watching. If they won’t take a page from the Republican playbook, then Democrats must. Let them know that we will primary them and, if they still win, not vote in their elections. We can’t apply pressure to Trump and the Republicans, but we can to the remaining Democrats. If they won’t use the one power left to them, they are no better than Trump-supporting Republicans anyway. Read the Indivisible Guide; it’s basically the Elected Official Owner’s Manual.
Democrats need to study the Tea Party Movement, replicate it, and select leaders who are going to use those strategies. Bernie Sanders gets this, and Hillary Clinton did not. Forget about ineffective feel-good tactics like online petitions and peaceful protests; disrupt people’s lives and get in their faces–especially people you elected. I don’t see any signs that the Tea Party strategy is dated, so let’s use what works.
Win back the states.
25 states have Republicans in control of the executive and legislative bodies (compared to 6 true blue states) . Redistricting after the 2010 census assured many House Republicans couldn’t lose in general elections which further reinforces the value of primaries as a noun and primarying as a verb. The last six years have demonstrated the marginal use of winning the presidency but losing the Union. Democrats need to play the long game, and it needs to be a 50-state strategy.