IF HE DOESN’T KILL US, HE’LL MAKE US STRONGER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

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.

ABC News

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.

14 thoughts on “IF HE DOESN’T KILL US, HE’LL MAKE US STRONGER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. I agree. Hillary Clinton needs to GO AWAY, the Dems need to re-imagine (key word, “image”) themselves in the next 4 years and, meantime, then need to fan the flames of the “Resistance” and get behind grass-roots candidates like Quist in Montana. I honestly (and I don’t think I’m alone) disliked and mistrusted Hillary Clinton as do/did many other people who voted for her. Her campaign showed her intrinsic cynicism and unscrupulousness as well as her lack of interest in people that the Progressives had managed to reach (and Trump reached). I live in the back-of-beyond and so do a lot of other people. It was to her peril (and that of the US) she ignored actual, real-live voting people who happen to need the kind of programs Progressives support.

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    • I didn’t love Hillary. But she was so far preferable to any Republican, let alone Trump, that I set my reservations aside as minor in the big picture. The problem was that Bernie actually captured the imagination and heart of the Democrats/Progressives. I think he could have won the election. The movement and the enthusiasm he created is what will get us ahead in 2018 and 2020.

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      • I think he could have won, too. And I think voter turnout would have been a lot higher. Where I live, he also captured the hearts/minds of people who ended up voting for Trump. He was so clear in the expression of his beliefs and they really do cross party lines.

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  2. I liked Hillary, but that’s entirely besides the point. The Democratic Party in its own way is as desperately in need of an overhaul as the Republicans. There are lots of ways to lose touch with “your people” and they have lost touch with most of us. They are floundering and seem unwilling to pull themselves out of it. They better get it done … and soon!

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    • I think that the Democratic platform – their actual policy ideas, are totally in sync with what the people want. The Democrats just don’t have credible spokespeople, other than Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, to get the message across. If you look at what the Democrats advocated in the election, you would see that they had all of our backs, forgotten, Trump people as well. I think it’s unfair and shortsighted to say that because Hillary lost, the entire party has lost touch with the needs of the “people”.

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      • I don’t think her losing means they’ve lost touch in the sense that they have “bad” policies, but the people they’ve selected to ‘carry on’ are very far from what voters (including me) want. I would vote for them anyway, but a lot of people won’t. If they can’t get elected, they ARE out of touch. However much they may have good policies, they have to pay attention to voters. They have, over the years, run any number of candidates who were good people with good policies and had zero chance of winning. It’s a Democratic specialty.

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        • I agree. People in places like where I live see the Dems as “coastal, city people” and don’t get that means MOST PEOPLE. They see themselves as being very different from people living in NYC or Seattle or SFO. They’re NOT but they see themselves that way. They don’t get the idea that a plan that provides medical care to poor people in San Diego is also going to provide care to poor people here in the back-of-beyond. In the south they still carry that “states rights” banner from the old slave days and other places (like here) buy into that thinking that means “rugged individualism.” It’s, IMO, a very intricate lace of illusion, misinformation, fear of change and the fact that people have been played by politicians (I wonder who, recently??? Hmmmm) Bernie was effective because he could say, “In New Hampshire, people hunt for their meat” and people here totally get that. He also didn’t play on anyone’s anger — or any negative feelings, actually — he ran a very positive campaign. I see candidates in special elections picking up that flag and running with it. Trump won partly on the, “I am like you” (lie) line, but that’s information. A candidate who really IS like us might be the ticket.

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          • I don’t know what Democrats can do to make people believe that they have “ordinary” people’s interests at heart, not just the coastal elites. If people actually listened to what Democrats are proposing and endorsing, they would understand that the entire Democratic platform is designed to equalize the playing field. They want to take away some of the advantages and money from the coastal elites and give it to programs that benefit the ‘rest’ of the country. Getting rid of cripling student debt, increasing the number of people with good health insurance, increasing programs that help people who are struggling or who are disabled, handcuffing Wall Street and the big banks so they can’t screw regular people or tank the economy again, etc., etc. These are all programs that should appeal to compassionate and thinking people everywhere in every part of the country.

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            • I agree. It’s a mystery to me. Obama was very popular except among those who hated him for some unspeakable reasons. I just keep going back to the fact that 75% of the people in this country did NOT vote for Trump. I think the challenge is getting the NON-voting people engaged. I think that might be happening now. My part of the world (rural, red) did not go all-out for Trump. There is a guy with silos out on the highway who has written Romney/Ryan, Bush/Cheney, even McCain/Palin on those big towers. He did not add Trump/Pence. Someone needs to get out there and say, “How many of you get help from Medicaid?” you know maybe get people to claim their own real lives. I was thinking today that some of Trump’s popularity is simply star power. He’s the Kim Kardasshian of Presidents.

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