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How we fight Trumpism (and win!)

Mentally, I've been spending most of my week since the election trying to figure out what went wrong. Not as in "point fingers." That's not helpful. More like trying to figure out how the combination of system flaws, apathy, fear and anger gave us President Trump. Though, if you dig a little deeper, the problem turns out to be less "Trump" himself and has everything to do with the fact that a couple of states with extra-motivated whites (and less motivated Democrats) could tip the balance away from the popular winner. And, even more, that unfair and undemocratic system also gives us a Congress that doesn't reflect the majority either. (In the case of the House, Republicans won 50.25% of the raw vote which is a very slim majority indeed.) This is a day when the Founding Fathers aren't looking so brilliant and a parliament with seats in proportion to the raw vote totals looks much better. Being a Democrat in deep red Texas or a Republican in very blue New York is politically weak...unless you convince throngs of your friends to move to join you and change the population of the district. Our current form of government is creating a situation where we're a liberal nation ruled by unrepresentative, conservative lawmakers. (Please carefully note what I'm saying...our system of gerrymandering districts and the Electoral College has always been unfair. But the fact that 2 out of the last 7 elections have resulted in the wrong winner is probably due to something other than random chance. It's baked in and time to fix it.)

The more I think about how we're going to fight back, the more I've been thinking about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., women's suffrage, Vietnam draft resisters, etc. Our resistance must be nonviolent. If you believe we in the majority are on the right side of history, we must show that both our means and ends are peaceful to achieve justice.

There are really two issues here. The first is the growing bigotry and incidents of discrimination in the wake of Trump's election. Most of us who were online during this campaign--especially Twitter--saw the rise of white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. Some of this has moved into the real world with burned cars and pride flags, racist graffitti, etc.. Solidarity and standing up with our fellow human beings will become key here.

The second issue is that a Republican Congress seems likely to have a high output of laws that the nation does not like versus the ones that are truly dangerous. The question is going to be whether the laws that Republicans pass with Trump's support are fair to minorities versus simply things we don't like politically as progressives. From my point of view, we should take our general cooperation from the Trump administration anyway so it is a slightly moot point. But people may wish to decide their participation or non-participation based on the direct impact a given law will have.

I like what I see the first few days after the election. People in the streets using their First Amendment rights to declare that they will oppose Trumpism if it manifests itself in ugly ways. But I also think we should save our true civil disobedience and nonviolent resistence for when truly needed down the road.

In a general way, I'd like to think that the anti-Trump movement takes on the role of loyal opposition. He may sit on the throne, so to speak, but it is not with the full consent of the governed and our goal is to save Presidency for all time by preventing anyone like him from ever being able to grasp the power again.

Even as we withdraw our support from our government's proposed policy and the attitudes of its supporters, we must still dedicate ourselves to participate in the democratic process. Vote. Campaign for victory for those who oppose Trumpism. (Note that I make room here for cooperation with those Republicans and conservatives who renounce biogtry and wish to make our great United States more democratic and representative.) Speak out. Run for office. Give public testimony on new rule proposals that would adversely hit you or your friends. Make our majority heard even if we're not directly in power.

But this next part is going to be difficult for some...we who are to the left must be Democrats. Sorry. I don't care if you hate the two-party system, you think Bernie got screwed, it's too conservative or progressive for your tastes. If you oppose what you've seen happen this election, we must hang together or we will hang separately. Our strength is our numbers--our majority. Do not sit out. Do not think your protest vote for a supposedly purer third party alternative is going to help us. We must unite behind the tools we already have in place to organize and communicate. We are only the American majority if we stay together. Which is not to say dissent isn't welcome. In fact, it will prove just as important for all of us against Trump to disagree amongst ourselves without weakening our overall cause.

I will note, however, that I'm agnostic on who our leadership becomes. I can see our new Resistance Movement going several ways. I really have no clue who will emerge as the natural head of our values. For the moment, I certainly think there are a few people who have our attention--Bernie Sanders especially. But the battle for control of the party is going on behind the scenes and time will tell. Remember that in the wake of Kerry's defeat in 2004 most of us had not yet heard of our next President. I first heard the name Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio (I was working for the Kerry campaign in Columbus) when a Chicagoan pointed out he was a rising star. He would end up giving the speech later in the summer at the DNC that put him on the national stage for the first time. Pay attention.

Lastly, and this may be the hardest because it is the least sexy, we need to tirelessly argue for changes to allow more people to easily vote. We must make political districts at the state/national level less gerrymandered and more representative of the American population. Diversity should not just be for the urban areas. We must fight for equality on small town committees. On our PTOs. I've spoken before about my unease with my 7 member transportation commission that currently has seated all white, middle-aged men. That's not right. How do we encourage other voices to participate?

And, lastly and most obviously, we need to work to undo the Electoral College. It's not democratic and must--one way or another--give way to the popular will of the nation. It probably will not happen by Constitutional Amendment from a Republican Congress. We should invest in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.