Loyal Opposition Versus Resistance to Trump


Perhaps nothing has made modern progressivism look sillier than the often hysterical reaction to the election of Donald Trump. This has spanned everything from street protests, claims of Russian electoral manipulation and even reports of sudden weight gain and loss of sexual interest. Rather than become more introspective in the face of defeat, the bulk of left-leaning media and their intellectual allies have embraced the notion — even before the new president proposes anything — of following what UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. labor secretary Robert Reich calls “the resistance agenda.”

The notion of modern progressives donning berets and fighting the modern-day version of Nazis is absurd. Donald Trump may be wrongheaded, and personally venal, but he is not Adolph Hitler, or even Benito Mussolini. Critically, he is not particularly popular, as were those demagogues. Trump’s election certainly was not a mandate, as many liberals correctly point out.

The election showed a still deeply divided nation. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but the GOP triumphed everywhere else, notably at the congressional level, where they won by 3.5 million votes, and it did even better at the state and local levels. Certainly, the progressives can get back into the game, but first they need to toss out the berets, stop talking civil disobedience and instead embrace the role of loyal opposition, using counter-arguments rather than histrionics.

Progressives still have wind at their backs

Democrats, time is still largely on your side. All the constituencies that backed Hillary Clinton — minorities, millennials, college-educated professionals — are demographically ascendant. Those that backed Trump, such as boomers, seniors and members of the white working class, are destined to fade.

To return to power in the short run, however, the Democrats need to appeal to parts of the largely white, older Trump base, many of them former Democrats. The meme, as seen in Slate’s assertion that the election proved “how racist, sexist and unjust America is,” does not seem the best way to win over these wavering voters. There are opportunities galore to do this.

Read the entire piece at The Orange County Register.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of NewGeography.com. He is the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His newest book, The Human City: Urbanism for the rest of us, was published in April by Agate. He is also author of The New Class ConflictThe City: A Global History, and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. He lives in Orange County, CA.

Trump protest photo by i threw a guitar at him. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/becc/26879649373/) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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History is the master

Unfortunately something has been sillier, and made progressivism comaparatively even more sober: the oppositional behavior of the right during the previous 8 years. Smear tactics to dishonor the president, refusal to move due process forward, and government shutdowns are now great tactics for the loyal opposition to adopt.

Richard T. Reep, AIA, LEED-AP
Adjunct Professor, Rollins College

Yes and No

I am not sure it is fair to dismiss claims of Russian electoral manipulation as hysteria. We know for a fact that Russia tried to influence the election, we just don't know how successful they were.

If anyone on your e-mail list is over 65, though, odds are that someone forwarded you at least one e-mail that originated from a Russian "troll farm". The e-mail "proof" that Hillary had Parkinson's was the most obvious example, but there were several others.

Having said that, though, the odds that hackers (Russian or otherwise) successfully tipped the scales in Wisconsin are pretty remote.

Still, I object to the idea that protesting and resistance are somehow an unworthy response to Trump's agenda. As Americans, we have the right to protest, and the responsibility to resist. So if we choose to wear silly hats and carry signs, then it is our right.

I am not suggesting that petty acts of vandalism are justified, but American history includes at least one example of patriots dressing up in war paint and dumping someone else's property into Boston harbor. Compared to that, blocking an illegal pipeline seems like the least we can do.