SYNDICATED COLUMN: Here Comes the Rise of the Anti-Trump Left            Let me get this out of the way first: I’m irritated at all the media people repeating that “nobody” saw Donald Trump’s “upset” win coming. I saw it coming a million miles away. Here, let me touch myself…am I someone? Yep, I still exist. Is it really possible that I’m the only pundit in America who grew up in the Rust Belt and goes home to visit?

Of course the corporate media morons didn’t see this coming. They didn’t see looming disaster in the invasion of Iraq. During the primaries, they ignored the polls that proved Bernie Sanders was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. It certainly never occurred to the corporate media morons that reducing tens of millions of middle-class workers to poverty, in order to line the pockets of globalization-besotted elites, might turn them into tens of millions of angry voters.

The bigger the news outlet where these mainstream political hacks work, the more money they make, the more journalism prizes they win, the less these idiots see anything coming (c.f., Ross Douthat, New York Times, March 8, 2016: “Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee”).

Well, here’s something else they don’t see coming: the rise of a new American Left energized and united by its opposition to Donald Trump and his policies, one whose size and militancy recalls the glory days of the 1960s.

There’s something happening here.

Well, there soon will be.

As I wrote in my 2010 book The Anti-American Manifesto, the United States does not have a Left — an organization or movement dedicated to the radical overthrow of the existing political and economic order. As Chris Hedges has eloquently described, this country has even lost its bourgeois 20th century liberal class.

Leftists and liberals are part of the mainstream political conversation in most developed countries. Here, however, a tacit ongoing conspiracy between media gatekeepers and corporate Democratic and Republican political leaders has marginalized the roughly 35% of Americans who oppose capitalism and militarism. Think about it: when’s the last time you saw someone completely opposed to military action speaking on cable television news? Ever heard of a communist or socialist hired to write for a newspaper or magazine?

The silencing of the American Left, brutal and relentless since the early 1970s, has impoverished our political culture and deprived the poor and oppressed of the help to which they are entitled by birthright. But that’s about to come to an end.

The devastating defeat of Hillary Clinton, the ultimate candidate of the neo-conservative Democratic center-right, has discredited her patrons, the pro-globalization elites. The election of Donald Trump sets the stage for a civil war within the party in which its liberal progressive wing is likely to emerge victorious, dominating electoral politics within the mainstream left for the foreseeable future. The Clintons, Obama, the Democratic Leadership Council types have had it their way for too long. They’ve lost. Now they need to shut up and go away.

Meanwhile, out in the streets where real political change can happen, I expect to see an anti-Trump resistance incorporating anarchists, veterans of the Occupy Wall Street movement, communists and socialists, radicalized left-wing Democrats, old hippies from the 1960s, Black Lives Matter activists, pro-immigrant people, work together and individually to oppose the radical right policies that we are going to see flying out of Washington over the next few years.

Out on the streets, Trump’s repressive tone will prompt brutal police tactics to which nonviolence will no longer be seen as the only acceptable counteraction. The “peace police” of the wimpy protests of the 1990s and 2000s will go extinct. Nonviolence will retake its rightful place as a noble and desirable tactic, but no longer the exclusive approach to taking on repressive government goons.

Donald Trump will be atrocious for the United States, especially with the Republican House and Senate. He’ll attack immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, victims of police brutality, God knows who else.

But he’ll be good for the Left. And, in the long run, the Left will be great for us.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. Support independent political cartooning and writing — support Ted on Patreon.)


  • Geez, Ted – you been up all night? Or did you write/draw all this in advance like the B&W Hillary cartoon below?

    Yeah, *if* Trump galvanizes the lefties, that would be a good outcome from this catastrophe. Possibly the only one – but I’m not holding my breath.

  • “Think about it: when’s the last time you saw someone completely opposed to military action speaking on cable television news?”

    “They were terrified that we were going to become an anti-war kind of platform.” — Fired for questioning the invasion of Iraq.

  • Ted,

    Fingers crossed. But the issue is there isn’t anyone to teach the young on the left really, there’s no vanguard. The last time there was something resembling a real left in this country was long long ago. Really, if you’re definition is a desire to overthrow the ruling order, you have to go back to the 60’s, when I was a kid. And even then, in this country, the left wasn’t mostly the left. Not like Paris ’68, they really did want to overthrow it all. Kids like my son, who’s 18, are mostly going to have to learn it all from scratch. Which I’m working on…

  • I am looking forward to art, in all of its forms, getting its bite back. Under regressive Republican presidencies, the amount of outstanding art blossoms. The birth of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism only makes sense under the paranoid administration of Nixon. When Reagan was going on and on about “Morning in America”, the best punk rock music was being churned out by Minor Threat, the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Operation Ivy, Reagan Youth and many others. This iconoclastic, anti-authoritarian music could only percolate under an arch conservative regime. Even during “W”‘s reign, the arts got a kick. Comedy and satire was back with Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert putting out their best stuff. When Obama took office, their raison d’être was muddied and they revealed themselves as establishment bootlickers, but the early 00’s were a funny time.

    With Trump being the biggest buffoon of the bunch, I have hope that we could see really great stuff soon. Trump’s buffoonery reminds me of a Joe Rogan bit where a Republican operative is amazed at the success of their dumb candidate. His retort is “Hold on…..I think we can do even dumber!” But I digress. Trump may just be the guy to bring back good music. Or create the golden age of political cartoons. Or jumpstart a new 21st century art form not even conceived yet. Glass half full, folks.

  • “Hillary Clinton, the ultimate candidate of the neo-conservative Democratic center-right,”

    Hillary, like Blair, is usually called neo-liberal. The neo-conservatives are on the right, meaning that they know that it’s Right that the powerful have the Right to everything on the planet.

    The neo-liberals are on the left, meaning they know that the powerful must be Left to take everything, and the rest of us get what is Left.


    Scott Adams says he’s had the best year of his life. He predicted Trump would win the election early in ’15, when I (along with all the pundits) said Trump could not win the nomination, since he only had a small plurality of the votes in the primaries, and he needed a majority to be nominated. Wrong. Republican rules are like the Democratic rules in ’72, the first year the leadership let the Democratic primary voters have a real say in choosing the nominee, who lost almost every state, since he only had a plurality of the Democrat votes, and almost none of the Republican votes.

    A friend in Michigan said he was attending Trump rallies, and the Trump supporters were far more enthusiastic than the Clinton supporters. But so were the Sanders supporters, so many (myself included) said that the polls showed Sanders lacked the voters, and he lost. Not ‘fair and square’ exactly, but Hillary did get a majority of the primary votes and a majority of the delegates to the Convention. So I figured the election polls were right. They’ve been spot on every US presidential election since ’48. Until this year, when the New York Times said a Clinton victory was 99% certain. I’m surprised we didn’t have Trump holding up a newspaper with a ‘Clinton Wins in Landslide’ headline.

    But my friend was right: a plurality of the voters in Michigan (as well as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) voted for Trump, though the polls said they were solid for Clinton.

    Friedman of the New York Times, always wrong, said he could not understand how a majority of the voters could have voted for Trump. Actually, Clinton won the vote but lost the Electoral College, kind of like Gore did (but without a challenge in Florida). Neither Clinton nor Trump had a majority, and Clinton had the plurality, much good did it do her.

    Friedman is right about one thing: there is no way to know just how Trump won. Clinton voters divided between the Clintonbots, sure that Bill was our best president, but Billary will be even better, and those who figured Hillary was flawed, but Trump was worse. And Trump voters divided between those sure he’ll make America Great Again, and those who hate Trump, but hated Hillary more.

    I read that Hillary blames Comey for her loss, but when I clicked the link, it didn’t connect, and even if it did, I’m not sure how reliable the reporter is. And there is no way we’ll ever be certain just why Trump managed to squeak a small majority in the Electoral College.

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