Sheila Markin is a former Assistant US Attorney. She helps people to understand in plain English what is going on in US politics today. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!
The Resistance is alive and well and getting mobilized for the midterms. Tens of millions of Americans have taken to the streets and gone to rallies to protest since Trump was elected. We are seeing a new activism ignited by Trump and his policies as well as the disappointing ineffectiveness of Congress to check this president or produce legislation that supports the wishes of a majority of Americans. Overwhelmingly motivated by outrage about Trump, these marches and rallies are not angry but peaceful, unlike the marches during the era of Vietnam protest. (I know. I have been to both!) They are evidence of the mounting blue wave that has already caused a record number of congressional Republicans (31 I think to date) to decide not to run in 2018.
70% of the rally goers disapprove of Trump. Only 30 % approve of him. 44% are 50 years old or older. 36% earn over $100,000. Far more of the marchers are Democrats than Republicans. (40% are Democrat, 36% Independents, 20% Republican). There are an equal number of men and women. A large portion of the marchers live in the suburbs. Many of the new activists are older, white, well-educated and wealthy.
This is consistent with what you would expect when a candidate who stands for the yearnings of the past and thinly veiled white supremacy, ekes his way to the White House with weaponized, targeted Facebook assaults on specific voting blocs to suppress the vote, using dirty tricks like Russian bots and Wikileaks dumps, and a likely deal with the Kremlin to get help to win in exchange for lifted sanctions (I refer you to the Trump Tower meeting with Jr. and the Russian operative promising dirt on Hillary.) What you get is a president who does not represent the will of the majority of the people in the country and never will.
Trump could have pivoted. But he did not. The Republicans could have risen up to put a check on Trump’s baser instincts. But they did not. Instead, we have seen some of our most cherished American institutions and values decimated by cabinet heads like Pruitt at the EPA, obliterating fifty years of environmental protections, and the Republican congress working hard to eviscerate the health care safety net launched by Obama. Then they passed the tax cut for the wealthy and are trying to play it off as if it is great for the little guy. It’s as if Trump put a bunch of monkeys in charge of the country’s institutions and invited them to have a riot, throw everything out the window, fling their excrement around and just have at it. The only order the monkeys got was to make sure there are fewer regulations when they were done rioting. To be sure, Republican donors love this. And donors rule the Republican party like overlords with whips dictating to Republican congressmen who seem to me to be slavishly doing their bidding so as to get money to run for Congress again. Deconstructing our institutions does not represent the will of the majority, however.
When highly educated, well established members of a nation get into the streets to protest they do it peacefully. They made it to the top of their various professions so that they could earn $100,000 by going to school, going to college, going to grad school, playing by the rules and understanding the value of a country that worked for them. They cannot stand to see our country fail their future children and grandchildren. They are protesting to maintain our democracy and keep this country from turning into an oligarchy, a country that caters to the 1% to the detriment of the American dream.
When Trump won the election in 2016, I wondered what would happen. When he failed to pivot and continued to play to his base, I wondered how that would affect our country. When he failed to say anything at all negative about Putin I wondered what that would do to public opinion. When he boomeranged from one tweeted order to another, changing his position based on the last Trump whisperer or the spewings of Fox and Friends or Sean Hannity, I wondered if Americans would realize how dangerous that is. When he fired person after person in his cabinet, the Oval Office, his attorney for the Russia probe, and decided to fly solo, now, unleashed and unburdened by the adults in the room, to do whatever he pleased, I wondered how our electorate would understand what that meant in terms of increased danger. I think I know the answer.
Our country is having a very quiet, very polite Resistance. I know many of the people in my neck of the woods who are part of it. They fit the description of the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll: suburban, white, well educated, relatively wealthy, and absolutely appalled by this president and this presidency. They are not the only ones in the Resistance, however. Women everywhere are rising up. the #MeToo movement is a reaction to Trump. Millennials and Gen X, Y and Z are rising up after the Parkland shooting and the March on Washington. Minorities are part of this movement.
We are having a revolution. But it is a well behaved, well mannered, even cheerful revolt against the meanness, the vileness, the insidious ugliness and profound corruption of this president and this presidency.
Echoes of Vietnam: millions of Americans are taking to the streets.
New poll shows rekindling of political activism in the Trump era.
WASHINGTONPOST.COM|BY MARY JORDAN