NEW YORK – Democrats need to stop grasping at straws. Shocked by Trump’s win and dismayed at his half billionaire, half military junta Cabinet, liberals are thrashing about in the stinking waters of dying American democracy, hoping against hope for something — anything — to stop Trump from becoming president on Jan. 20. That, or to send him packing as soon as possible afterward.
There are only two realistic ways to get rid of President Trump: street protests and Democratic intransigence.
A sustained campaign of national street protests might make it so impossible for him to govern that he might lose support among influential Republican leaders, especially those from blue states. Pro tip: “sustained” means 24-7, 365 days a year. Not 20 or 200 people here and there, but thousands and tens of thousands, in every city — a great constellation of Tahrir Squares that brings traffic, consumerism, news, the economy, to a grinding halt.
Of course, Trump might order his cops and soldiers to shoot the protesters. That’s what China did to the students at Tiananmen Square, a crackdown of which Trump approved: “Then (the Chinese authorities) were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
Or, like President Barack Obama did to Occupy Wall Street, have his Homeland Security department coordinate systematic beat downs, or “sweeps” as corporate media dutifully calls such things. Resistance is not a tea party.
Things may and probably will change. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a mass uprising a la Paris May 1968. There’s no party or group capable of mass organizing in the United States, much less a radical leftist front — which is what such a militant mobilization would require.
Protests are boring. It rains and snows. Cops are scary.
This is why the anti-Trump protests following Election Day petered out in less than a week, and why Jan. 21’s Million Women March is likely to impress for a day, then be forgotten Jan. 22.
Our best chance to stop or slow down Trump lies with Democratic legislators in the House and Senate.
Recent history doesn’t give reason to believe that Congressional Democrats will turn into a left-wing “party of no,” working as hard as tea party Republicans did to block Obama’s judicial appointments and legislative initiatives. These are the same Democrats whose votes gave George W. Bush the fascist USA-Patriot Act and two aggressive wars of choice with no end in sight. But what if the party of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were to grow a pair? There’s a lot they could do to take the wind out of The Donald’s authoritarian sails.
To a man, Trump’s Cabinet picks are morally objectionable, ideologically unacceptable and objectively unqualified: a climate denialist to run the EPA, an idiot at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a general (one of several) for the Department of Defense who wants Congress to change a law mandating civilian rule, the CEO of Exxon-Mobil as secretary of state. Democrats should say “you’re fired!” to every last one of these turkeys.
And they can. Thanks to Reid, the filibuster rule is no more, so Republicans can approve these guys with a simple majority. But any Democratic senator — just one — may put a secret personal hold on a presidential appointee. That’s exactly what Democrats should do. And that’s what we ought to demand. Let Trump go back to LinkedIn to find better-qualified nominees.
Democrats should demand special prosecutors to look into Trump’s tax returns and the brazen conflicts of interest between his real estate business and his duties as president. Tie the bastard up with endless hearings, just like the GOP did with the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Benghazi.
Since payback is a bitch and Trumpism presents a grave and present danger to the republic, no Democratic legislator ought to negotiate with Republicans or vote for any Republican-sponsored bills. Yes, that counts the stuff Democrats might actually like, such as building new infrastructure. If the GOP wants it, the answer is no. Always. No matter what.
You don’t “find common ground with” or “cooperate with” or “reach out to” a tyrant-in-waiting. Which, after the next terrorist attack or other security threat, is exactly what Trump will expose himself as. Faced with incipient evil you stand firm, united in your conviction that everything that tyrant-in-waiting stands for is evil and un-American.
You block everything they want. You become the biggest Party of No parliamentary democracy has ever known. Because, even if you’re not sure it’s the right thing to do, it’s smart.
Disgusted and now dominant, the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is 10 seconds from bolting. Democrats have one last chance to act like Democrats — something they haven’t done in 50 years — or watch their party come apart at the seams.
Nonresistance is futile.
Ted Rall’s latest book is “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the president-elect. © 2016, Ted Rall
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