- District 12 Votes This Week
- Zora Neale Hurston and the Problem of Audience
- 2018 US Midterm Elections
- Wokepedia: This is Us, Dudley Randall
- 2018, 2020, 2022: Third Party Strategies
- 2018: Moral / Victory
- Feeling Encouraged
- Encouragement Day
- Strategies VII – Knowing the Stakes (is it all just PC hysteria?)
- Strategies VI: Effective Protests and Marches
I ask, then, has God rejected his own people…?
– ROMANS 11
I’ve now had a week to process the election of Donald Trump, and I’ve come to realize there is no crisis without an opportunity. This election is a huge (yuge?) crisis. It’s also a huge opportunity, a once in a lifetime chance to redefine the character of our nation. America has entered a transitional, liminal state, and while the door was opened by those who wish to take us backwards, they may not end up as the victors. They have sown the wind and most assuredly will reap the whirlwind, therefore it is time for us to cast our bread upon the waters.
STRATEGIES AROUND DONALD TRUMP and his presidency
I’ve come to realize Trump is not the problem, he is the symptom. He is in the control of forces he does not understand, and his purpose is to distract attention away from the real things taking place (he has even reportedly sought to approach the office as a figurehead role, an “empty center” presidency). However, since he is the proverbial 500 pound gorilla in the room, let us address him first.
1. Divide and conquer: If you believe that the Republicans now hold all three branches of government, you are wrong:
FIRST, they do not hold the presidency, because Donald Trump is not a Republican, he was merely the Republican nominee for the presidency. In most years the second condition would entail the first, but this is no ordinary year. Trump has no firm loyalties except to his family, and no solid ideological commitments. He is essentially a free agent, and he can reliably be expected to take on whatever position and partnerships he feels will garner him the most attention, and/or serve his own personal best interests. He is easily flattered, and desperate for respect and affirmation. Once again, Obama is ahead of the curve here. In just 90 minutes of conversation, he began the process of backing Trump away from ending Obamacare, presumably by treating him with the deference due the office (if not the man).
In short, Trump is currently aligned with the Republicans, because they have been willing to idolize him. He is capable of turning on them on a dime. That means he could potentially take on liberal and/or Democratic positions on issues ranging from women’s health to the environment, if he felt there was enough personal upside (if you recall, he’s espoused many such positions in the past). He would also potentially have more success pushing these positions than a Democratic president, because the Republican legislature is not prepared to resist him. There remains two months until Inauguration day. That’s an eternity in Trump terms, more than enough time for discord and enmity to arise between Trump and his Republican pals.
The upshot: If you’re more concerned with specific goals than party identification, Trump could be the perfect Trojan Horse to get those enacted.
SECOND, the Republicans do not yet hold the Supreme Court. Trump has published a list of “severely” conservative justices that he plans to appoint to the Supreme Court, but that list was just a campaign stunt. It’s unlikely Trump even knows who any of the people on the list are. Again, there’s —subjectively speaking —a lot of time between now, and when Trump is in a position to nominate a justice. Don’t believe that list can’t change.
THIRD, while the Republicans do hold the Congress, this campaign exposed some deep fault lines, and sparked unprecedented infighting. In addition, the party as a whole is hampered by being firmly tied to a nominal leader of unparalleled willfulness, and very few positive traits. Whether or not they want to, they will need to wait and take direction from him, or else break ranks. So placing pressure on individual Congresspeople might have an impact that wouldn’t be possible in an era of a more unified party.
It’s unlikely –not impossible but unlikely –that anyone reading this blog is breathing rarified enough air to take direct advantage of any of these strategies. However, the larger point is that politicians follow the wind, they don’t change it, and a populist politician lives and dies by the will of the people. If we can win the fight for America, then it won’t matter that we lost the election. If we lose the fight for America, then it wouldn’t have mattered even if we had won. That brings us to Strategies: Part II, knowing and naming the real enemies.