Guest column by Matthew Q. Joy, freshman undeclared major
The overarching theme of post-election discourse seems to be that everyone should calm down, accept the results and see how things turn out once Donald Trump takes office. In his victory speech, the president-elect announced that he would like to see the country “come together” now that the campaign is over. President Barack Obama, who once called Trump “unfit” for the presidency, echoed this sentiment the morning following the election. One by one, each of Trump’s critics fell in line and expressed congratulations, some even going so far as to say that they are rooting for his success. I appreciate optimism, but don’t kid yourself.
Trump will be a small, dark stain in history textbooks, and the deep red government he will lead is going to do everything it can to prolong that stain. Whether it’s appointing a science-denier to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, adding a torture proponent to the CIA or persecuting journalists who criticize him, there is nothing Trump can do that he didn’t warn you about, and the entire federal government will back him up on nearly everything. Still want to give him a chance? Wait until Secretary of Education Ben Carson forces creationism into the science classroom.
Don’t accept Trump. Don’t accept a Republican government. Start working against them.
The No. 1 reason no one should accept Trump is because he didn’t win the popular vote. More people voted for Hillary Clinton because most people in the country don’t agree with Trump or Republican policies. That is not to imply that people whole-heartedly agree with Clinton. She wasn’t progressive enough. A more progressive candidate running against Trump likely would have walked away with the presidency early in the night. One of Clinton’s greatest flaws was her reluctance to embrace policies such as raising the minimum wage, creating a Medicare-for-all health-care system, and, most devastatingly, getting money out of politics. Polls and the results of countless ballot initiatives across the country demonstrate that people want to see progressive policies implemented. As if that weren’t enough, young people are the most progressive group of voters, and they will soon be extremely influential, even impossible to ignore.
Right now, the best way to combat Trump and the Republicans’ disastrous policies is to reform the Democratic Party. If the Democratic National Committee is lead by strong progressives, there will be no more behind-the-scenes manipulation of the primaries as we saw this cycle; progressives will be allowed to run and, inevitably, win. We need a DNC that understands that the days of Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Cory Booker, and Nancy Pelosi are over, and the days of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Nina Turner have begun. Rep. Keith Ellison fits this description, and is gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures on online petitions in support of his bid for DNC chair.
Progressives like Keith Ellison can lead a successful charge in the 2018 midterms by running vigorous grassroots campaigns that stress issues like global warming and gun control, about which most people simply disagree with the Republican platform on. If progressive Democrats do in 2018 what Republicans did in 2010, Trump’s damage can be contained. Then, it’s time to let the people decide which fierce progressive will unseat Trump in 2020.
This all depends on your involvement. Don’t be apathetic. Republican policies will negatively impact you on a personal level. Raise your fists, bare your teeth, and start fighting back.