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The Trump Era

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Progressives Vow 'Direct Action' on First Day of Trump Administration

December 21st 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s final victory in the Electoral College, his opponents within and without government are already preparing the ground for opposition over the next four years. Coupled with President Obama’s vow during his final White House press conference that he intends to be vocal after leaving the White House, groups affiliated with him are getting ready for protests on Inauguration Day and political action afterwards.

The Electoral College votes will be formally certified by Congress on January 6. Among those vowing resistance are progressive gadfly Michael Moore, and also Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action. He was quoted by the Common Dreams website,  "This is an uprising—a new resistance starts here today, with the largest 50 state pro-democracy demonstration in American history." He was referring to the protests at state capitals all over the country where protesters greeted members of the Electoral College with shouting and taunts. For weeks, electors endured stalking, death threats, and harassment that neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton sought to deplore.

 Clayton added, “To Mr. Trump, know that every step you take, every move you make, and every civil right you seek to take in the months ahead, our resistance will be the force that protects the freedom of the American people from all threats, foreign and domestic.”

The New York Times wrote that the protests against the electors “offered a preview of a tumultuous inauguration and first 100 days of the new administration," while adding that progressives are planning to obstruct "Trump's cabinet and White House appointments, his pick to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court,” while also addressing the president-elect’s supposed conflicts of interest, and his stated intention of repealing Obamacare.


The plan for the next four years

Anna Galland, MoveOn.org civic action executive director, among others, has sought to delegitimize Trump’s Electoral College victory by pointing out that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. In an interview with Chris Hayes of MSNBC last night, Galland said, the protests in the state capitals are a "marker for what's to come, and what is to come is a mass, moral, accessible, opposition movement," against Donald Trump. "Some are calling us a Resistance movement," Galland she said. She added, "Today's protests are, I think a harbinger, of a mass peaceful movement that we are going to build." Galland described Trump as an “extraordinarily divisive demagogue.”
According to Common Dreams, Galland said today of the demonstrations, "Together, Americans highlighted Trump's loss of the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, the extraordinary interference by a foreign government in this election, his business's foreign entanglements, and his patent unfitness for office."
“These protests and campaigns will also help push Democrats to be bolder and more courageous in their opposition to Trump's and the Republicans' odious policies and nominees—knowing that progressives and MoveOn members will have their backs when they step out to defend our common values and what's best for our nation," said Galland.
Anna Galland
Writing at Project-Syndicate, Prof. Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University opined that "like [former President George W.] Bush, Trump is yet another Republican president who will assume office despite losing the popular vote, only to pretend that he has a mandate to undertake extremist policies."
Progressives and Democrats are calling for action to eliminate the Electoral College, which is entailed in the Constitution, and have been joined by the New York Times. In a piece by the editorial board, the Times wrote: "Many Republicans have endorsed doing away with the Electoral College, including Mr. Trump himself, in 2012," and added, "Maybe that's why he keeps claiming falsely that he won the popular vote, or why more than half of Republicans now seem to believe he did. For most reasonable people, it's hard to understand why the loser of the popular vote should wind up running the country."
Back on December 16, Galland told an interviewer on New York public radio that she will not play “footsie” with Trump. Evan Osnos of The New Yorker Magazine asked Galland what she plans to do. He said that Democrats once said that they “would go high” even if Republican “would go low” while seeking to cooperate with their opponents. “What happened to 'they go low, we go high''?" he asked. She replied rhetorically with a question: “Will we come out of the next four years with our constitutional democracy intact? That’s the level of conversation we’ve been having. We need to not just block Trump’s policy agenda, we need to have a clear movement-grounded strategy to survive the Trump era with our constitutional democracy and our civil liberties intact.”

Taking direct action against Trump

Reject any notion of cooperating with Trump on issues where there is agreement, such as rebuilding America’s infrastructure, Galland said that there is a moral and a practical case against cooperating with him on “anything.” She said that the “moral case is that you can’t play footsie with a white supremacist.” No cooperation is possible, she said, if “millions of Americans are being deported” or to “block an entire world religion from entering the United States.” On the practical side, Galland said that progressives would gain nothing from cooperating with Trump on infrastructure or anything else.
Responding to criticisms that progressives have been ineffective despite petition drives and urging supporters to click on websites, Galland said that MoveOn.org will focus on getting like-minded people in touch with each other so as to promote “peaceful direct action” to advance their goals. When asked what such direct action would look like, she said that the Standing Rock protests over an oil pipeline in South Dakota are an “interesting case of how front-line direct action is going to characterize the protesting ahead. That’s an incredible example of people-power winning. They won!”

MoveOn.org describes itself thus: "MoveOn is the largest independent, progressive, digitally-connected organizing group in the United States. Launched in 1998, MoveOn pioneered online organizing and advocacy techniques that have become standard in politics, nonprofits, and industry in the U.S. and worldwide."

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