Here is the Answer.
Hate is on the rise thanks to Trump and Trumpism. The MAGABomber and the Synagogue Shooter and the shooter in Jeffersontown, Kentucky outside of Louisville who shot two African-Americans in cold blood are just the most recent manifestations of a meteoric rise in hate speech and hate crime that has been juiced by Trump. Trump’s approach to governing and staying in power relies on divisiveness, lies, and fear-mongering. He has taken a page out of Hitler’s playbook. What does it get him? A riled-up group of low information voters and rally goers who he hopes will keep him in power out of fear of the “other”.
How do we combat this kind of toxic hate?
First, tell the truth about its source.
Todd Essig did that. He wrote an excellent commentary that appeared in Forbes. “How Trump’s Psychology of Hate Unleashed the MAGABomber”. In that commentary he explains that Trump pushes a trifecta of hate that foments terrorism. Not all populists incite terrorism. Trump does.
Here is what Trump is doing that ignites terrorist activity.
1) He identifies his opponents as hostile enemies.
2) He openly encourages people to feel good about hating the identified “other”.
3) He sanctions violence.
For example. he supported a physical response to protesters at his rallies, saying he said he would pay for his medical expenses if his supporter got into a fight with the protester. He also gave a shout out to Gianforte for body slamming a reporter. And much more. He condones violent actions. Even if he says it is just a joke, it is not.
Essig writes that hopeful signs from the Women’s March saying “Love Trumps Hate” are not realistic. “To unify the country,” Essig says, “President Trump has got to take responsibility, has got to grab hold of the hate he has unleashed and bring it under control.”
I was all in with Todd Essig up to that sentence. But his solution will not work. Because that solution is a pipe dream. Ain’t ever gonna happen.
For Trump to stay in power, Trump needs to continue his current torrent of hate speech and fear mongering because he is leading a group of low information people (consistently clocking in at about 35% of the electorate) for the benefit of himself and others in the Republican Party (the 1% and corporate interests) against the interests of the majority of Americans (about 55-60% disapprove of him).
The Republican Party has been in power now for two years and done next to nothing to help the common man. They passed the tax cut for the 1%, tried over and over again to kill the Affordable Care Act, allowed rampant corruption throughout the administration, have been cutting regulations that protect the safety of Americans and the environment and they are doing much more that helps big business and hurts most Americans.
There is only one way for Trump and his cabal to maintain control and power given their dismal record, and that is by cheating, lying, suppressing the vote, and fomenting hate which Trump does with the help of Fox News, Breitbart, Hannity, Ingraham, Limbaugh, and others as well as a totally supine Republican Congress. Trump will not change his evil ways.
It is also not in his DNA to change. Trump’s default position is always aggressive and angry rhetoric salted with grievance, self-pity and conspiracy theories. This is what you get when you elect a soulless, corrupt, power hungry, illiberal, undemocratic, unempathetic human being to be your president. Full stop.
So that leaves us with this question- what is the answer to the worsening hate we are experiencing in this country with Trump in power? If love doesn’t trump hate, what does?
The answer is our passion both AGAINST what Trump stands for and FOR a country we envision. It is our willingness to work together and fight for a progressive, democratic nation we believe in against the forces that are destroying the country we love and want for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. The answer is energetic idealistic passion. That mission is more powerful than hate.
The world has seen many tyrants beaten back. We beat the Nazis. We can beat back Trumpism. Star Wars and many other epic stories, fables, and video games are about just that kind of heroic fight where good wins in the end.
Every day I engage with, talk with, interact with decent people who are shocked and distressed by Trump’s rhetoric. They are enraged and upset about what is going on in our country. We have to take that outrage, that shock, that sense of gut punching distress and turn it into action to reclaim our country.
How is that done?
By regaining leadership. By regaining our Voice. Barack Obama is out there on the campaign trail doing a great job. Listen to what he just said in Wisconsin at his rally: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/27/politics/obama-detroit-milwaukee-rally/index.html
We have other leaders in the pipeline. Beto O’Rourke. Stacey Abrams. Andrew Gillum. Adam Schiff. Cory Booker. Kamala Harris. We have influential journalists and former prosecutors: Steve Schmidt. Max Boot. Rachel Maddow and others at MSNBC. Jill Wine-Banks. Norm Eisen. Richard Painter. There are many more people who are out there saying what needs to be said in this world turned upside down. We need to support them by re-tweeting what they are saying and by supporting their campaigns if they are running for office.
How do we beat back hate? By deleting the conspiracy theories created by right wing outlets. We need to immediately demand of our lawmakers that they force Facebook and Twitter to take down violent and conspiracy laced sites that are marinating easily influenced people in conspiracy thinking that prompts them to do terrible acts. Support lawmakers who insist on that. We also need to support Media Matters, the progressive watch dog group that ferrets out the origins of fake news and tells journalists and influencers that it is false which helps to stop the spread.
What are the steps we need to take?
STEP ONE: 2018
Take back the House and take back as many state legislatures, Attorneys Generals positions, governorships and local governments as possible.
STEP TWO: After the Midterm election.
Assuming Democrats have the House and many AGs across the country- step up the heat on Trump and the forces of hate. We can do that by supporting progressive, democratic and legal groups like the ACLU that will be working hard to maintain our democracy by pushing back against the corruption, illegality, Russian bots, and hateful rhetoric.
During this phase, leaders are going to arise on the Democratic side because many people seeking the presidency will be positioning themselves for that run. Leaders will also arise from the fight that will take place in Congress as the House investigates Trump and his corrupt family and cronies. Watch who Trump and his Russian bots attack. Those will be the people he fears the most. We need to keep supporting those voices we want in the forefront of this fight.
Mueller is going to come out with a partial report. I hope it will be specific and contain clear factual information about the power Putin has over Trump. Trump and his Russian bots plus Fox and the rest of the cabal will fight back hard against this information using dirty tricks and an aggressive disinformation campaign. I believe a number of Trump family members will be indicted and Trump will be identified as an un-indicted co-conspirator. Much will depend on how outraged people are by what Trump is going to do (pardon everyone and ignite fears of a left wing conspiracy hell bent on removing him from office) and by what we learn about him. This is going to be a big fight but well worth the effort if Trump loses more market share with the electorate- namely reasonable people, not his cult base because they are beyond hope.
I predict the stock market will not do as well as it has been doing as Trump continues as president. The illogical trade war he started that is hurting the farmer, small business owner and consumer, and concerns about Trump’s ability to think straight (realistically, logically) will finally disrupt the sugar high that Trump created by giving money to millionaires and billionaires to buy back their company stock and invest in the stock market. That would affect Trump’s ratings with the wealthy electorate. A failing stock market would probably be the single most important development that could get us closer to shutting him down along with his toxic hateful followers because right now he is buoyed by greedy mega donors.
STEP THREE: 2020
Win back the Senate and the Presidency.
How do we overcome Trump and Trumpism, the rise of toxic hate and conspiracy theories pushed by Republicans and by Trump?
Here is the short answer: Step by step. Regaining power across the country.
For the next few days until November 6th we need to be the ground troops doing what probably most of you reading this blog are already doing.
1) Make calls from phone banks for Democrats who are inspirational candidates.
2) Fund candidates at whatever level you can using Act Blue or other sources of funding.
3) Write post cards reminding people to vote especially if they are in districts with razor close House races where a few votes could make all the difference.
4) Knock on doors.
When I interviewed Stacey Abrams, she said that it gets out 12% more of the vote when people interact with each other face to face. Get active with your local Indivisible: https://act.indivisible.org/signup/gotv-volunteer/ind Or find other groups in your area that are looking for people to knock on doors. They teach you how to do it and help you get rides to the neighborhood where the canvassing is going on. If you cannot get out to do that, Move On has a new way to text people to remind them to vote that is very effective:
5) Above all do not lose hope. Do not fall prey to cynicism. These emotions can destroy your motivation and your will.
We did not have a perfect country before Trump and we will not have a perfect country after Trump, but we must do better than this. We have at our foundation, an aspirational country with a moral core and a vision of fairness for every person “with liberty and justice for all”. Our country has been hijacked by Trump and his brown shirts. We are facing an assault from the inside. We have to rise up against this assault on all of us. Peacefully.
We can win this fight for the soul of our nation. We all can help. No matter what happens in this election, when you look back you want to know in your heart you did what you could. No regrets. You were part of the Resistance that fought back against hate in the most important election of our lives.