If he doesn’t kill American democracy, Trump could actually make our country stronger. Not because of any of his actions, but because of the sweeping and strong REaction he has created in a large segment of the population. He may end up strengthening the Progressive Movement in the U.S as well as redefining and empowering the Democratic Party.
The Tea Party and Donald Trump were both catapulted into power by a small but very active and vocal right-wing minority. Though Democrats have technically been the majority party for a long time, the left never had the grass-roots organization or the passion that the far right Republicans did.
Trump’s election may have awoken the sleeping, liberal giant. Progressives haven’t been this mobilized and energized since the anti-Vietnam War Movement. And this time, a wider cross-section of the country is involved in the ‘Resistance.’ Large numbers of people who have never been politically active, suddenly feel an urgent need to speak out and act out.
Grass roots progressives are organizing themselves on a scale never seen before, with little direction from the top. They are marching and going to Town Hall Meetings with Congressmen in record numbers. They are overwhelming Congressional offices with letters, emails and phone calls.
They have donated millions of dollars to Progressive organizations, like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU; organizations that have taken on the Trump administration legally as well as politically. This has already helped derail some major Trump policies, from the travel ban to the repeal of Obamacare.
Democrats have not been known for voting en mass in mid-term elections. They get complacent. Now liberals are flooding the voting booths for special elections all over the country. So far, their activism is being translated into votes, the true test of political power. If this momentum can be sustained into the 2018 elections, there’s a chance that the Democrats could regain control of at least one of the Houses of Congress. That would be a game changer. If Democrats continue to vote in higher numbers than they have historically, it could mean that they could also retake the White House in 2020. That is the ultimate goal.
Another positive side effect of our national Trump trauma PTSD, is that the Democratic Party itself is also undergoing a major change for the better. The outraged populous, led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is demanding a more economically populist platform going forward. The activists want the Democrats to emphasize positions that will win back the struggling and angry segment of the country. The people who are hurting economically and who feel left behind by a government by and for the top 1%.
Polls show that Democrats are perceived to be out of touch with the needs of the people. In reality, their policy positions in the 2016 campaign were well designed to actually meet those needs. But somehow Hillary Clinton did not get the message across, even though she adopted most of Bernie’s left of center positions. Sanders was seen as voice for the common man and she was not.
It’s important that Bernie’s ‘image’ somehow gets transferred to the Democratic Party as a whole. His ‘voice’ has to become the ‘voice’ of the party. That seems to be the direction the Democrats are moving. Younger people and more women are preparing to run for office as Democrats. They are also getting more involved in state and local politics. This will help reshape the Democratic Party into a more openly liberal and hopefully more popular party, at all levels of government.
Maybe we should thank Trump for helping the formerly silent Democratic majority find their political legs. He may be responsible for a new and better Progressive movement that is clarifying its goals and consolidating its political clout. Hopefully this means that Trump has sown the seeds of his own destruction.