February 6, 2017 Leave a comment
Yglesias makes the case that it’s working. Maybe a little optimistic, but I think he’s basically right:
It’s easy to miss amid Donald Trump’s frenetic pace of activity and nonstop media coverage, but the most important story in American politics right now isn’t about what Trump is doing: It’s that the opposition is working.
The millions of people who marched in Washington and other cities around the world on inauguration weekend and then demonstrated again at airports the following weekend are making a concrete difference in the world. So are the tens of thousands who’ve called members of Congress or showed up in person at their events.
Trump is getting things done, but all presidents do that. Look at what he’s not getting done. A Republican-controlled Congress bowed to public outrage over an attempt to water down an ethics office. Trump dramatically downscaled his own executive order barring entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. He’s having unprecedented difficulty getting his Cabinet nominees confirmed, even though the Senate’s rules have changed to make confirmations easier than ever. Conservatives in Congress have put their big plans to privatize Medicare and public lands on hold. And the drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act is running into very big trouble.
None of this is based on the discipline and self-restraint on the part of the White House. It’s thanks to bold acts of resistance. The result is lives have been saved, many more lives have been demonstrably improved, and the proven template for future success has been created.
Not only have the resisters already markedly altered the trajectory of public policy, they have also begun to make a difference in each other’s lives and their own conceptions of themselves. And this is the greatest threat to the Trump movement.
For the moment, Trumpism holds the vast preponderance of political power despite its thin electoral base. That means Trumpism will make progress, even in the face of effective resistance. But for the positioning to hold, Trump needs to convince his opponents that they are failing, so the prophecy will become self-fulfilling.
That is why it’s crucial for Trump’s opponents to be aware that protesters’ efforts are not futile. We know they can succeed, because they are already succeeding. What’s needed is for Trump’s critics to continue to resist the siren song of sectarianism and keep at it. If they do, Trumpism will be buried.