As we approach the previously unthinkable moment that Donald Trump is sworn in as the next President of the United States, the question for three quarters of the nation, half at least which are still in a state of shocked disbelief, is “where to from here?” While his supporters, and some more moderate voices, call to “give him a chance” or to “support the new president,” with literally every word and deed a harbinger of mind-bending impending disaster, that appears increasingly irresponsible.
It’s become nakedly apparent, if it wasn’t already, that Trump is not a smart or clever person and nor does he have any real agenda or idea what he’s doing. He has never been “a master” at anything beyond being a self-serving narcissist. The problem is that what he is- in all its naked repugnance- resonated so deeply with so many Americans at this time in our history. His crude, nativist bigotry sadly spoke to millions, especially juxtaposed against the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton, and the very vocal and visible “PC/identity politics” wing of the party. The right wing media had a field day spinning that so effectively as a “big government” agenda to turn America into the land of taco trucks, decapitating Sharia Law and LGBT child molestation and it was a very powerful tool.
As we have seen here and elsewhere in the West, there is a massive and very dangerous nativist backlash in progress against the immigration and integration policies stemming from the 1960’s. Americans in the south and mid-west are not the only ones who “want their country back” from immigrants, people of color and government enforcement of what they perceive as the Soviet-style dictates of “political correctness.” This will be a significant issue in the coming decade and it was a major reason for the Trump debacle.
But the blame for this American catastrophe also has to be shared heavily by the Hillary Clinton campaign which was highly overconfident and came off, or at the least was too easily portrayed, as arrogant. Her “deplorables” comment was a watershed moment, and a shocking mistake for the usually graceful and polished Ms. Clinton She probably said it simply because neither she or her people ever seriously thought she could lose to such a thoroughly disgusting opponent. But, as was the case in 2008, she and her team made colossal and even unfathomable mistakes in allocating campaign resources. Not even setting a foot into Wisconsin once was simply an astonishing mistake. They should have been watching Russ Feingold’s numbers slipping and sent a SWAT Team in to try to shore that state up. Same for Pennsylvania, which was also essential. Sending people and money into Texas and Arizona instead was bizarre, and reports of it very likely added to the idea so many had that “she had it in the bag,” and that people who supported her- or were at least fearful of him- didn’t need to come out and vote. And the Comey revelation helped depress her vote too, but by how much is debatable, as is the hyperventilated accusations of “the Russians,” for which there is to date no credible evidence at all. She and her team also counted on women and people of color and they very clearly did not close that sale. People of color were not swayed by her candidacy in sufficient numbers, especially in swing states- or at the least not adequately horrified by him. Her numbers were even soft with Muslim Americans, a head scratcher if ever there was one. How Trump survived the “grab her pussy” tape defies understanding, but millions of women voted for him anyway. All put together it has certainly resulted in the biggest and most devastating disaster in American political history.
All of the above has to be taken into serious consideration as the nation braces itself for what the Trump presidency will rain down upon us all. Should he actually perform as advertised, and as his cabinet is shaping up to do, the affront to the rights of women and people of color and low income would be unprecedented, and certain to spark protest at the least. There’s a chance that rather than wasting time in meaningless placard waving demonstrations, unless the numbers are staggering, people might actually organize for genuine actions such as boycotting offending corporations such as Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, whose CEO, Andrew Puzder, is now poised to be the next Secretary of Labor. Town hall events held by congresspeople are particularly vulnerable targets, far more than the old school phone calls and letters. Confrontations in those venues, especially when the hosts are rendered hapless as they usually are, always make good news and Youtube video fodder. Social media remains powerful, just ask Garth Brooks and many other musicians who backed out of performing for Trump’s inauguration because of its pressure. Lastly, the resistance will need a face or faces. The Democratic Party Establishment Old Guard is not going to be the force of change or resistance, especially those like Corey Booker whose pockets so visibly overflow with corporate cash. It’s time for the party to, as was said once, “pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.”