SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Democratic Party’s Last Chance: Fight Trump or Die

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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 January 20th. That, or to send him packing as soon as possible afterward.

Some Dems point to the CIA allegation that the president-elect received an assist, via WikiLeaks, from Russian government hackers. If this could proved, they ask, especially if Trump knowingly colluded with Vladimir Putin’s tech-savvy underlings to deny Hillary Clinton her God-intended victory, wouldn’t that force him to step aside?

Sorry, my liberal friends: that deus won’t ex machina.

explainersmallFirst, the intelligence community hasn’t presented a shred of evidence, much less proof, that the Russians hacked the DNC or John Podesta’s emails. (Even Americans know that “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” doesn’t mean anything.) When Trump scoffed that the wise men of U.S. intelligence were the same geniuses who gave us the Iraq War, he had a point. The spooks are discredited. No proof, no scandal. Even if there were proof, who would force Trump back to his Tower? Not the Republican congressmen and senators wallowing in the surprise win they handed him. No GOP leaders behind it, no impeachment.

Then there’s the mother of all Hail Mary passes: trying to convince roughly 40 members of the Electoral College pledged to Trump to vote for Hillary instead. This, courtesy of Michael Moore et al., is much discussed in liberal circles. It is a Thing. But it is a Dumb Thing, one doomed to failure. Electors are hacks slavishly devoted to their parties. It’s much too much to ask them to turn “faithless” in support of a coup, to undermine democracy in support of a candidate whose approval ratings never climbed above (tied for) “most unpopular ever.”

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 Obama did to Occupy Wall Street, have his Homeland Security department coordinate systematic beatdowns, 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 à 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 January 21st‘s Million Women March is likely to impress for a day, then be forgotten January 22nd. (Example: men are welcome but don’t know it. Because: stupid title. Was the URL for Million Women Plus One March taken? Also: didn’t we learn from the election that Democrats get in trouble when they snub guys?)

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 President 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 Pelosi and 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 HUD, a general (one of several) for the DOD who wants Congress to change a law mandating civilian rule, the CEO of ExxonMobil as Secretary of State.

Democrats should say “you’re fired!” to every last one of these turkeys.

And they can. Thanks to Harry 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 ten 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 is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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23 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Democratic Party’s Last Chance: Fight Trump or Die

  1. «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.» You seem, Ted, to be describing those so-called «Euromaidan» protests, which preceded the Kiev Putsch of 22 February 2014, and which I suspect consumed a fair amount of those five thousand million USD which Victoria Jane Nuland bragged the US had devoted to promoting «democracy» and US interests in the Ukraine which didn’t go to paying off corrupt politicians and funding fascist groups. The only problem is who is going to pay for the party – the Ukraine is broke and can hardly reciprocate the favour and the Russians are unlikely to be interested. Perhaps the Chinese ? After all, Mr Trump seems to be prepared to realign US foreign policy from mainly provoking the Russians to instead mainly provoking the East Asian giant and even with the recent decline of RMB relative to the USD, they should have no problem coming up with the necessary funds, even taking into account higher costs in the US compared to those in the Ukraine….

    Henri

  2. Frankly, I think the Democrats have already passed the point of no return. HRC got lots of votes. So did Trump. She “won” the popular election by a couple million votes. Sounds yuge. But it wasn’t. Not in an election with 120 million+ votes cast.

    Trump will either succeed or he will fail. If he succeeds, the Dems will lose 2020 (and possibly 2018) depending no when the success begins. If he fails, he’ll step aside (run away from the mess) and the Republicans will put in a candidate with a real chance of winning.

    How many former Democrats did the Dems make in this recently concluded election cycle? They won’t win the Bernie Bros. back. They won’t win the white men back. Very few people react well to being treated like they aren’t welcome. And very few people who are treated that way ever make the mistake of coming back.

    The Dems’ only chance would be (starting around Jan. 20, 2017) of firing–and permanently banning from any appointed positions–all the Clinton Cronies. And I mean every single one of them. It has to be a complete amputation. And then the new DNC leadership has to apologize for how things were done. And then the new DNC has to issue a party platform completely devoid of “motivation” and constructed solely of goals.

    Example: Introduction of Single Payer Universal Healthcare, not a mish-mash odd-lot assemblage of bits. Decriminalization of drug possession. Demilitarization of the police forces. Universal College for students (just like high school is.)

    See? We can argue about HOW to do these things, but at least we won’t spend eternity arguing about WHAT these things are.

    I strongly suspect the Dems will simply start to fade out. They’ll remain in California, New York, a few other spots, but I think the Libertarians and the Greens will get small increases in their bases, and the number of people who just sit it all out will increase.

  3. After the November election, Mr Rall has said Trump is much worse than Secretary Clinton. Before the election (when Secretary Clinton seemed like the inevitable next president), Mr Rall said that she was so bad, a vote for a mug of beer would be better than a vote for either Secretary Clinton or Trump. The mug of beer only got 1% of the vote, and Trump won. The gocomics commentators think this is all Mr Rall’s fault: if Trump was much worse than Secretary Clinton, why not support her?

    As I see it, Secretary Clinton promised regime change in Russia, a promise I would just as soon not see a US president keep. Trump promised to revive the coal industry. Another promise I would just as soon not see kept.

    Mr Rall was right: a mug of beer would have been far better than either Secretary Clinton or Trump, one of whom would have been an unmitigated disaster, and the other one will be an unmitigated disaster.

    Will the Democrats behave like Republicans and try to block anything and everything Trump tries to do? They never have, but let’s hope that they will. If Trump promised regime change in Russia, the Democrats would strongly support him. But Trump does not seem like the kind of person who will try to enforce regime change in Russia, so maybe his other idiotic ideas will impel the Democrats to do all they can to block them. We can but hope.

  4. “Also: didn’t we learn from the election that Democrats get in trouble when they snub guys?”

    No. And referring to men as “guys” is itself a snub. Nobody gets to call women “girls” without taking heat. If the Left stopped piling on white men, it would become an entirely different entity. Surely you know, Ted, that if you are a man on the Left, you’re supposed to be OK with this. You’re supposed to be one of those “good guys” that mocks male concerns and scoffs at conventional masculinity and dismisses men as “privileged.” Pro tip: nobody who doesn’t feel privileged likes to be called so.

    • If the right quit conflating ‘helping blacks’ with ‘hurting whites’ they’d have a slightly tighter grip on reality. Gays/straights women/men Muslims/Christians- whatever – you are not harmed in the least by granting others the same rights you take for granted. And yes, having more rights and opportunities is called “privileged.”

      Pro tip: whining about women’s rights and other imaginary threats is hardly an example ‘masculinity.’ Real Men [tm] do not feel threatened by strong women.

      • Always amusing to see a Leftist accuse others of whining. Complaining that the world isn’t fair is kind of your guys’ calling card.

        Perhaps you need to visit that kindergarten you’re always bringing up because a kindergartener could explain to you that when some people get special treatment others aren’t treated equally (affirmative action). By the way, wasn’t that supposed to be temporary? Somehow, I don’t think “progressives” will ever determine the revolution to be over.

        Why is it that you seem to think we need feminism to have strong women? I happen to recognize the strength of conventional femininity. Traditional women have true strength. Liberal women tend to have anything but. Sad that feminists confuse selfishness for strength…

      • > when some people get special treatment others aren’t treated equally

        So … your idea of ‘special treatment’ includes poverty, oppression, discrimination and police brutality. Why, then, by all means – you deserve the same ‘special treatment’ as those you look down upon.

        > Complaining that the world isn’t fair …

        … comprises 90% of your posts. Oh boo hoo hoo, women and gays have the same rights I do. weh! weh! weh! I deserve the biggest piece of the pie even though I did nothing to earn it! Oh, woe is me, someone else might have the same opportunity I do! No Fair!

        For once, just *try* to think through your philosophy. If you are superior to all these other people: what the fuck are you complaining about? Why are you afraid of a little competition? Since you’re inherently better in all things, it should be a slam dunk. Yet, for some reason, you spend all this time whining about how it isn’t fair.

      • You are clearly superior in how you excel in logical contortions. Never could I, nor would I ever wish to match your skill. How you got from what I said to what you said, I will never know. Frankly, I’d be impressed I’m sure if I weren’t busy being frightened of your delusion. Please tell me you’re locked up so that others and yourself remain safe…

      • Fine, Jack – just add it to the long list of things you’re afraid of. Women, gays, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, FEMA and the monster hiding under your bed.

        BTW, I did enjoy your joke. You started out with “the world isn’t fair” and went on to complain about other people getting “special treatment” … isn’t that the same thing as the world not being fair?

        Affirmative Action should be temporary – just until we wipe the scourge of prejudice off the face of the Earth. And yes, I’m talking to you, Jack. Once you start accepting people who are different than you, there will no longer be any need to give them a hand up.

    • Hey, remember when Dubya kept calling everyone “folks,” like we were all frickin’ hicks? And remember when Obama did the same? NEVER look at the party affiliation. Look at how they speak to you. I always saw contempt in Bush’s demeanor, and I saw it in Obama’s as well.

      • One of Ted’s most memorable cartoons had Obama saying, “Some folks tortured some folks.”

  5. The Dems have their list of celebs who are talking about how dangerous Trump is. Quite a few vowed to leave the U.S. if Trump won. Implicitly because he was the next version of Hitler. Hands up, please. If you, genuinely, thought that a new Hitler — or someone comparable — was coming to power, would you remain in the country? I wouldn’t. I would sell everything I could and I would get out. I do not want to end up in a camp waiting to be liquidated.

    Michael Moore is making the circuit talking about himself (not Moore without inserting himself, prominently, into the frame) and how the Trump Terror is coming and what it will mean. Am I the only person reading the goddamned news anymore? Trump isn’t going to register the Muslims after the next 9/11. The registration has already been done. Dubya and Obama/Clinton have been following all of us for years and years now, be we Muslim, Jew, Protestant, trade unionist. Snowden told us that.

    The next 9/11? Trump reading or not reading those warnings will be irrelevant. Yes, it will be. Because the next 9/11 will almost certainly be immune to the sort of tactics our side currently uses. Terrorists evolve in their strategies. Hijacking some planes? Okay. Move to the next tactic. Look at the attack in Nice, France. A guy drove a truck into a crowd of people. Do we outlaw trucks? Maybe outlaw crowds? Get rid of sidewalks?

    I suspect Trump is counting on another 9/11 (or something that can be made into another 9/11 — and with the way Trump handles the media, some kid dropping his lime Jell-O at lunch time can be turned into 9/11). He’ll get to talk tough. People will eat it up. Defense will get a big budget increase. A lot of businesses will make a big fat profit. Trump’s a businessman. He’ll take care of his own. Just like all the politicians do.

    • I remember how Mr. Trump leapt upon Jeb’s (and his ilk’s) common assertion that Dubya “kept us safe.” Candidate Trump said in fact that no, he did not. “9/11 happened on his watch.” My eyes about popped out of my skull when I saw him say that. It was early in the primary before we saw all his risk taking that was to come.

  6. Massive multi-city protests against the Iraq war did not stop it. The Occupy Wall Street movement did not achieve its goals. I don’t see that protests have any chance.

    I don’t see that Democratic intransigence in Congress has much chance either; the Republicans have the votes to push on past.

    Do you think McCain, Graham, and Cruz could be persuaded to caucus with the Democrats in exchange for the leadership positions? It is not necessarily anyone’s ideal, but perhaps it qualifies as the least of evils?

    • Lee,

      The bus boycott in Montgomery succeeded because the black passengers used violence — controlled, economic violence. They stopped riding the bus and the bus owners lost money. The only choice that remained was to settle to all the demands because the protesters looked carefully at the problem and very cleverly figured out how to force the change they wanted.

      Marching in streets has never changed the other side’s mind. Malcolm X speaks about it in his autobiography. He talks a lot about the economics of protest. Sure, protesting can be used to motivate the like-minded, but OWS was a failure because it had no plan of action. If sitting on our asses got things done, the world would be perfect. It failed because it couldn’t succeed.

      You want a revolution? It won’t be won by college students standing around clutching their iPhones and venti lattes complaining about how hard they have it.

      • OWS was a failure exactly because there was no vanguard, no plan, no nothing. Protest can succeed Lee, but it has to be organized, and it has to mean something. Ted was right, it has to be Paris ’68, but for that you need a real vanguard, and a real organizational principle. Which we don’t have now. You need what unions are left organizing general strikes. And Ted is also right that the Democrats won’t do shit.

      • The failure of Occupy Wall Street was the failure of 99% of the 99% of the American People, these who so easily succumb to the election season flattery of ruling elites while being stripped by them of their wealth.

        Occupy Wall Street’s “failure” was the result of the People, these who were not immediately impacted by the bank fraud of the formerly and soon to be wealthy again Wall Street insiders, and these same People’s failure to join in common cause with the then presently disadvantaged victims of the rampantly corrupt institutional beneficiaries of Obama’s socialism for the insider fraudsters of Wall Street.

        The people most impacted by the bank fraud were never punished for their crimes while millions of people, both “latte sipping liberals” and the so-called “basket of deplorables”, lost homes and much of their wealth.

        The Democrats, in favoring their wealthy donors, as opposed to those held by them to be a “basket of deplorables”, and the mutual antipathy between “latte sipping liberals” and the “basket of deplorables” created the fertile ground for both the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump electoral insurrections.

        It is so easy to demonize, divide and conquer the People against the People, leaving the ruling elite untouched and laughing all the way to the bank.

        The American People see every diagnosis of a problem as the marketing of a solution to be sold to them, and they anxiously awaited the sales pitch to be delivered to them by the victims, the Wall Street Occupiers, the “basket of deplorables” and the “latte sipping liberals”, while American consumer degenerates impatiently and petulantly waited to be sold and served by the victims, and disappointed in them when they weren’t.

      • edit:

        “The people most responsible for the bank fraud were never punished for their crimes while millions of people, both “latte sipping liberals” and the so-called “basket of deplorables”, lost homes and much of their wealth.”

  7. > wouldn’t that force him to step aside?

    Reagan colluded with the Iranians, and he didn’t step aside. Instead, the entire country just looked away and pretended they didn’t see anything.

    > When Trump scoffed that the wise men of U.S. intelligence were the same geniuses who gave us the Iraq War, he had a point.

    Not really. The Bush Junta made sure the CIA reports said what they wanted. The CIA warned about 9/11 which the Bushies ignored, and they were skeptical about the WMDs in Iraq. Not that I really want to defend the CIA – they’re rat bastards – but occasionally they do get things right.

    > 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.

    Two words: President and Cheney.

    • George Tenet Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) for the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

      According to a report by veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward in his book Plan of Attack, Tenet privately lent his personal authority to the intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq.[38] At a meeting on December 12, 2002, he assured Bush that the evidence that Iraq had WMDs amounted to a “slam dunk case.” After several months of refusing to confirm this statement, Tenet stated that it was taken out of context. He indicated that it was made pursuant to a discussion about how to convince the American people to support invading Iraq.[39] The search following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US, British and international forces yielded no significant WMDs.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Tenet#Iraq_WMD_controversy

      • Perhaps my point has been misconstrued – I was not trying to imply that the CIA is infallible or even incorruptible. However, many have come forth to say that the books were cooked to produce the outcome the Bushies wanted.

        But if the CIA was going to throw their weight behind any one particular candidate – wouldn’t it be the same fascist that the FIB did?

      • You mean Stovepipe and Team B.

        “The most succinct statement of his misdeeds comes from “The People Vs. Dick Cheney,” a 2007 article by Wil S. Hylton. The piece recounts how Cheney undercut the CIA by instructing subordinates in that agency to stovepipe raw intelligence directly to his office. He also worked with Donald Rumsfeld to establish an alternative intelligence agency within the Pentagon. Both of these actions directly contributed to the faulty information that informed the decision to go to war.”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/remembering-why-americans-loathe-dick-cheney/244306/

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