I’d like to discuss strategy. How do we defeat Trump and the Republican Right? Trump and the far right, as of January 20, will control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and with their appointing power, a majority of the Supreme Court. No foreseeable checks and balances. And they gained this power, despite a minority of the voting public, through systematic misinformation and lies, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and character assassination, strategies that with the assist of the electoral college vaulted Mr. Trump to power. Yes, how clever. No point in denying that the manipulations of Trump and Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and Breitbart worked. They did. We are now faced with the most serious threat to the Republic, if not the world, since the World Wars. How do we fight back without debasing ourselves? Or, as one wag noted, the Democrats brought a knife to the fight, the Republicans brought a gun.
Part of the answer lies in our recognizing the nature of the fight. Civil discourse is much to be valued but not at the expense of allowing lies to go unanswered. Mr. Trump, the mocker, should be mocked. His incivility should be challenged at every turn. The Democrats failed at virtually every turn to hold his feet to the fire. Where is his tax return? Did he pay off the stiffed creditors from his bankruptcies? Who does he owe money to now? Yes, Trump effectively controlled the news cycles – driving those issues off the front page, but the prominent Democrats let him do it and failed to angrily contest him and the media that facilitated it.
That has to change. When it does change, I believe there are three factors that strongly favor a swing in the tide: Facts, Votes, and the economic power of consumers. We, as progressives and resistors, need to use all three:
Facts. The facts are on our side. The world is heating up from CO2 emissions – just ask the city planners in Venice now spending billions to avoid inundation. Income inequality continues to rise in the US due to a rigged economy and a regressive tax structure. Health care in the rest of the industrialized world is universal, better, and cheaper than in the US. Facts are stubborn – they don’t go away. In the face of facts, lies and misinformation have a limited half-life. It took years to fight the tobacco industry but no sane person now contests the health effects of cigarettes. The evident bankruptcy of Trump’s world (bankruptcy is one of his specialties) will become apparent. In that vein, I intend to enhance this blog site with links to relevant scientific, fact-based sites on such issues as Global Warming, where the scientific data on the rise in CO2, and methane levels, is more than compelling.
Demographics. Demographics and the future changes in the population favor progressives. The Democrats won this election by almost three million votes – the electoral college gave Trump a tainted victory and should be eliminated. We need to translate that voter plurality into elected representation at all levels, in our states, in Congress, and in the Presidency. That means standing up to gerrymandering, running and supporting qualified candidates for all seats, and holding individual Republicans – notwithstanding that they may be certifiably “nice” – accountable for the actions of their party. Mr. Trump brags about sexual assaults and mocks the disabled? How does that not reflect on them? We need to actively speak up, not always nicely, and demand that the electoral process work for us. I’m adding an events page to my blog site. In the meantime, a good place to start is the Women’s March on Washington on January 21.
Boycott. Trump and the Koch Brothers (see Jane Mayer’s Dark Money for the nitty-gritty of their election buying) have a history of being driven by greed – they want it all. They run global businesses that rely on consumer revenue to exist and prosper. Their business models rely on carefully calculated income streams to pay their employees, to pay off loans, and to fund new projects. As such they are potentially vulnerable to a consumer boycott. A ten percent drop in their revenue would wreak havoc. And much of their money comes from us. Let’s end that now. I’m revising my blog site to include links to boycott sites against Trump and against the Koch Brothers. See Boycotts. I include links to boycotts against North Carolina and Ohio because they don’t deserve our money either. All of these sites have good information on how to make a boycott effective. Let’s start now and see if they yell “Uncle”.