“Resistance” — noun: “the refusal to accept or comply with something.” This word has recently become an umbrella-term for every call to protest, obstruct, or otherwise refuse “to accept or comply with” the Trump administration & its new policies. While democrats & the groups who support them, such as MoveOn.org & Democracy for America, appear to be embracing the name, many of Trump’s supporters are critical of the idea, arguing that to resist the outcome of an election is the same as resisting democracy. To be fair, this is a very logical point — democrats, however, can respond by pointing out that more actual people voted for their candidate, which is also a fair point. And around & around it goes — should people resist or should they just shut up?
Should #TheResistance Be a Thing?
Before we go on, there are a few numbers that we should all be aware of —
25.3% = Ballots Cast for Trump ÷ VAP (Voting Age Population)
Number of Humans Who Chose Trump & Clinton as the Candidates:
12.4% = (Clinton’s + Trump’s Primary Totals) ÷ VAPPublic Approval Rating of Trump’s Policies (Source: Gallup)
38% – Ordering Border Wall Construction
36% – Getting Rid of Syrian Refugee Program
42% – Muslim Ban That’s “Not a Muslim Ban”
The idea that resisting Donald Trump’s presidency is equal to resisting democracy is nonsense — out of just 2 “viable” options, about 1/4 of the country voted him into office against the will of a slightly bigger 1/4 who were foiled by the electoral college. Democrats shouldn’t be too pleased, however, because a mere 12.2% chose Obama & McCain in 2008 & just 30.4% elected Obama, which is still less than 1/3 of us. Anyway — since democracy comes from the Greek demos & kratos ( meaning “people” & “control,” or “control by the people ), it would take a bit more than 25% or 30% of us, technically speaking, to declare something un-democratic.
Democrats Cannot Resist
The System Keeping Them in Power
The notion that democrats care about democracy is also nonsense. If they opposed the electoral college, why did they not try to change it during Obama’s first term, when the democrats had majorities in both the house & senate? They certainly had the public’s support — in fact, a majority has wanted to abolish the system since 1948! During the primaries, the party had no interest in democracy for independent voters ( or over 40% of the country ) who democrats allowed to vote in just 23 out of 56 contests. When thousands of disenfranchised voters marched on Philadelphia to resist, democrats built a wall to keep us out — but now they call Trump “illegitimate” because they received 1% more votes?
The democrats & their party need the electoral college, corporate bribery, & the two-party system just as much as the republicans do — which means they need the GOP, too. Neither party could withstand actual democracy — that’s why they were secretly promoting Trump’s candidacy in the republican primaries & why they thought they could screw Bernie Sanders & his supporters over without consequence. These politicians are not resisting Trump to champion a people’s democracy — they are resisting their own failure to foist an equally unpopular candidate on the people.
What Democrats Need to Hear
Exit polling shows that — out of the 25.3% of US adults who voted for Trump — 28% said they chose him because they disliked the other candidate even more than their own! Without the reluctant voters, the number of people who actually wanted a President Trump drops to 18.2% of the voting-age population — fewer than 1-in-5. If Clinton had won, the situation would be basically the same — of the 26.4% who voted for her, 21% gave the same reason, which means just 20.9% actually wanted their candidate to be president. When all is said & done, less than 2/5ths were satisfied with any of the available options & the rest were just cutting their losses.
It makes no sense to resist Trump’s presidency just because 18% wanted it compared to the whopping 21% who wanted his opponent — frankly, the injustice is pretty minimal & advocating for democracy can be tricky when you’re ignoring what 61% of your peers want. So, should the resistance just get over it or…?
Resist the System that Produced Trump!
If we are going to resist Donald Trump, we must resist the system that makes him possible. If we play by the rules of the game, the resistance has already failed because he won that game when he passed 270 electoral votes in November. As long as we agree to play that game, it does not matter how unfair or undemocratic or unthinkable the result is — if we lose the game, then we lost the game. We always lose that game. You can get permits to march down as many streets as you want & carry all the signs in the world but the reality will still be that the winner gets the prize & they still get to laugh all the way to the bank.
Trump — or Bush or Obama or anyone else — is not the problem. They are the results of the problem. Our system consistently produces results that surveys say the majority is unhappy about and, with that in mind, Trump’s election really isn’t shocking. Trump is what we ought to expect out of a system that allows less than 1 in 5 of us to irreversibly decide that a clown is now the president of the United States. Trump is the predictable outcome of a system that says the people must choose between only 2 options, that it does not matter if a majority rejects those options, & that allows publicly-funded but privately-run political parties to exclude a majority of us from deciding what those options will be. Trump’s election was not the result that 81% of us would freely choose and therein lies the problem.
The problem is that this system is not controlled by the people.
The Resistance Will Be Futile
Unless it Establishes Democracy
Even if democrats could somehow take over both houses of congress using magic & tied Trump’s little tiny hands behind his back for the next four years, it would only be a short time before this happens again — or worse. Both parties have proven they are more than willing to ignore ( and, frankly, straight-up sabotage ) any attempt to reform our electoral system so that it includes all of our voices. Let the democrats resist whatever they’d like in the houses of congress — but nothing will change until we have seized democracy for ourselves. As long as our “elected” officials & public policies do not bend beneath our collective will, everyone will have to suffer at the tiny hands of people like Donald Trump.
Marching & protesting are great ways to alert the public to important issues — but it will take more than that to resist a regime that ignores the lawful petitions of its unarmed citizens. We must not only resist — or “refuse to accept & comply” — but we must positively, actively, visibly disobey. If there was ever a time to break rules, that time is now — no regime has ever given up control, except when we demanded it. Effective resistances must refuse to play the rulers’ game — flip the board! Shut down banks, support the general strike, block roads & airports, help the undocumented evade police, radicalize your neighbors & pets, educate people, cover your city with posters, divest, or, if nothing else, support people doing these things & help get the word out — struggles are won by people who become ungovernable.
All of the power is in the people — we just need to use it.
P.S. Right now, courageous indigenous peoples & allies are risking life & limb to resist the illegal pipelines being constructed by oil companies & protected by our militarized police — not only in North Dakota but at resistance camps across the country, like Two Rivers Camp, in Texas. They need as many people willing to disobey as possible & any donations to them are likely to give the Orange-Mussolini a much bigger headache than donations to ActBlue.
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