The last time I posted on my blog, the county was shocked, making sense of the election results that proved all pollsters wrong. In a week, the world feels like it has been turned upside down. President Obama, to his credit, has been as gracious as he can be in his transition of power. Hillary Clinton conceded last Wednesday and has since blamed James Comey and the FBI letters for her loss. The Democrats, meanwhile, are gearing up to select a new DNC chair. So far, popular progressive Rep. Keith Ellison has tossed his name into the ring, as well as Howard Dean. So far, a lot of Dems, including Harry Reid and soon-to-be Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have backed Ellison. In the House, meanwhile, the Democrats have delayed their leadership elections, which does not bode well for Nancy Pelosi. The Democrats are licking their wounds and ready to clean house, at least somewhat. If they want to move forward, gear up for 2018, and start winning elections again, that’s probably for the best.
To be blunt, the Democrats have few easy paths forward. In 2018, they have an enormous amount of Senate seats to defend, including some in red states. In the House, they still have a few dozen seats to flip until they win back the majority. The party is poised to be in the minority at least for the next four years. Meanwhile, it may be hard to develop a strong, progressive alternative vision to Trump because it seems likely they are going to have to fight to protect progressive gains made over the last few decades. Paul Ryan is already licking his chops about privatizing medicare and medicaid, which would unravel a large part of LBJ’s domestic legacy. In the “60 Minutes” interview that aired a few days ago, Trump warned that if Roe V. Wade is overturned, abortion rights will go back to the states and women will have to go to another state to get an abortion. The problem is that nearly 2/3 of state legislatures are in GOP control. So yes, I think the Democrats have quite a fight on their hands going forward, but if Trump’s governing is totally mismanaged, it is possible there could be another wave election, on par with 2006, which would give Democrats control of at least one branch of Congress.
Despite this, I have been amazed at how fast the left has organized. Already, there are mass protests planned for January 20 and 21, the weekend of the inauguration. The women’s march on the 21st appears to be gaining the most momentum, to the point where it already earned a story in the NYT. There are buses headed to that rally from all across the country, including in Scranton. I will be there with my partner, and we already know of a few friends joining us. Meanwhile, organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have reported record donations since Tuesday’s results. Even locally, I have been meeting with people about what we can do in this community. This election has rattled enough people that they are wiling to fight over the next few years.
If you want to get involved, here are some easy ways:
- Contact your Senator and Congressman/woman. Tell them to be vigilant and NOT support any attempts by the new Trump administration to roll back women’s rights, LGBT rights, and civil rights. Tell them to NOT support any attempts to privatize the social safety net programs, namely Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
- Contact your local Senator and Congressman/woman and tell them to pressure Trump to rescind the appointment of white nationalist/alt-right leader Steve Bannon as top adviser.
- Make a donation, no matter how small, to organizations that work to protect women’s rights, LGBT rights, civil rights, and immigrants.
- Plan to attend the inauguration protests. Go to rallybus.net. If you can’t be there, and if you can afford it, sponsor a bus seat for someone who wants to attend but can’t afford a bus seat.
- Get involved in your community. Reach out to people that want to mobilize. There are more folks out there wanting to do something than you may imagine.