Monday, May 22, 2017

Lay Down Your Candles

I had a feeling that the "resistance" against Donald Trump was going to fail when I went to an anti-Trump vigil in New Jersey on Inauguration Day and everyone started singing Melanie's "Lay Down (Candles In the Rain)" after getting lit white candles to hold up in the air.  
Four months later, it seems to me that the resistance lived its life like a candle in the wind.
For all the talk about resisting Trump, dig this:  His administration has already undone several environmental regulations, set Net neutrality on the path to oblivion, and set Jeff Sessions loose on civil liberties.   Not one of his legislative initiatives has been stopped by Democrats in Congress, and the popular outcry against his health care bill repealing Obamacare was a temporary victory, as he got it passed in the House on the second try.   
And get this.  The number of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans, according to a poll taken early this month (May 2017), has increased two points since early November 2016, from 27 percent to 29 percent, while, in that same time frame, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats decreased three points, from 31 percent to 28 percent.
You suppose that has anything to do with the Democrats dropping the ball since Trump's inauguration?  Yes, I think so.  The Washington Democratic establishment has remained tied too closely to corporate interests, and the Democratic National Committee has given no support to special-election nominees that it's deemed too liberal.  The Demorcats haven't flipped a single Republican seat to their column in the special congressional elections held since Trump won the Presidency.  The most popular politician in the country is Bernie Sanders, who ran for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and continues to advocate a strongly liberal, pro-worker, pro-middle-class agenda that Democrats have continued to ignore.  
It makes sense that Bernie Sanders isn't actually a Democrat. 
Trump has managed to hold on to and consolidated his power despite his unpopularity because the Democrats haven't offered an agenda that people who are resisting Trump can rally around.  And let me say that while it is true that the Russians tried to meddle into our presidential election and any possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign or Trump itself should be dealt with, the Democrats can't just hang their hats on that and hope people will merely come out to vote against Trump and for the Democrats in 2020.   
Meanwhile, in what can only be seen as a mockery of the movement, Hillary Clinton has joined the resistance, which is like McDonald's joining the effort to promote healthy eating.  Her plan is to raise money for the Democrats and help Democratic candidates for office through her new organization Onward Together - an ironic name for a group started by someone whose political career is at a standstill while she promotes identity politics.  This goes on while members of the old Democratic guard in Washington refuse to give up their leadership roles or admit to the fact that their own complacency led to Trump's rise.  Don't expect Nancy Pelosi to aid the resistance when she won't even support single-payer health insurance. 
The grass-roots resistance hasn't done a good job either.  It remains to be seen if any of these resisters can take over the Democratic Party and move it to the left or found a new party altogether, but right now things don't look good.  They're too busy protesting against Trump in the most trivial manner.  They'd rather lay down with candles and sing insubstantial folk songs.
Fifty-four percent of the American electorate in 2016 voted for someone other than Trump for President, but if the so-called resistance doesn't get its act together and cohere, it won't be able to muster a majority around a single presidential candidate or a single vision that can oust Trump in 2020. Conclusion: In spite of everything going on with the Russia investigation, it's still Donald Trump's world.  The resistance is simply lighting candles in it.   

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