If other social movements are any guide, the biggest challenge the anti-Trump resistance faces in the weeks and months ahead is bringing some structure and strategy to these fragmented groups. On the flip-side, too much streamlining risks losing the grassroots authenticity that gets the attention of politicians.
The president’s tumultuous first four weeks in the White House — highlighted by the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn and renewed questions about the Trump campaign’s connections to the Russian government — have given Democrats an unexpected lift less than a month into the new White House.
In a blow to President Trump, his nominee for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration amid concerns that he could not garner enough Senate votes to be confirmed. Puzder’s decision to withdraw is yet another setback this week for a White House still grappling with fallout from Monday night’s abrupt resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Declining income brings with it a host of related social problems. As localities are starved for revenues, public safety and the sense of community deteriorate. The social fabric of decent living is imperiled. Extreme inequality fueled both the Sanders and the Trump revolts. While Sanders offered concrete plans to reverse it, Trump and the Republicans are sure to make it worse.
Four Republican senators have not yet said whether they will support labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, raising suspense about whether he will survive an initial confirmation hearing this week. Puzder has faced staunch opposition from Democrats and protests from union-backed groups about policies at CKE’s food chains.
President Donald Trump swore in former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood financier, Steven Mnuchin, as Treasury secretary on Monday, putting him to work on tax reform, financial de-regulation, and economic diplomacy efforts. At a White House swearing-in ceremony, Trump said Mnuchin would be a “great champion” for U.S. citizens.
The race for Democratic National Committee chair is not just about who has the glamour and skills to turn around a party that spent more than $1 billion last year, lost more than 1,000 statewide and congressional seats during Obama’s presidency, and has the least power in 75 years. It’s about how that turnaround will be done.
Jeff Sessions who has served two decades in the Senate from Alabama, was confirmed by a 52-47 vote after strong pushback from Democrats concerned about his record on civil rights. In a rare move for a senator recently confirmed to a Cabinet position, Sessions took to the floor of the chamber and called for members of Congress to have some “latitude” in their relationships with members of the other party.
The fight over the future of the Democratic Party has been decided in the streets. The swelling crowds at women’s marches and the chanting airport cadres protesting President Donald Trump’s new immigration plan have finally pushed the party to the left after years of mincing steps in that direction.
President Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the Senate, but only after Vice President Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her. The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a president’s Cabinet nominee, came after two Republicans joined with 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos.
Democrats have expressed worry that Gorsuch could act as a rubber stamp for the Republican president’s policies on a nine-seat Supreme Court poised to revert to a conservative majority. With four liberals and four conservatives now on the court, Gorsuch’s confirmation would restore the conservative majority that had existed for decades until the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia.
It’s crucial to recognize the all-too-human tendency to put our fingers in our ears when we hear something we don’t like. Only then can we move away from a media and cultural environment in which everyone is entitled to not just their own opinions but also their own facts.
Can Democrats, who are more philosophically invested in showing that government can function, really bring themselves to replicate McConnell’s obstructionist methods? If Chuck Schumer and his Senate Democrats choose a path of obstructing President Trump’s agenda, they will have learned from the best.
Our light, illuminating a separate branch of government, is not yet extinguished. Under the Dome, Congress is scurrying to find its place in the presidential matrix. As disempowered as minority Democrats are, Republicans are wandering the wilderness, too. The establishment lost the election. In politics, which operates on a thousand personal bonds, Donald Trump is an unknown.
The greatest weapon the American public has to fight Trump and his minions is the central institution of our representative democracy: the legislative branch. Progressives must threaten their representatives with removal if they don’t heed the majority that finds Trump repugnant, and they must organize that majority to speak unambiguously in November 2018.
The Trump White House has loosened financial sanctions against Russia’s powerful security agency that the Obama administration had imposed as punishment for Russia’s meddling in November’s presidential election and for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. The administration downplayed the action, but the decision drew fire from Democrats and some Republicans who oppose lifting any sanctions against the Russians.
At the end of last week’s Women’s March, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children wearing knitted pink pussy (cat) hats exited the Mall and poured up 15th street, next to the Treasury Building and just one block from the East Wing of the White House. Only 24 hours after his swearing-in, the 45th president was publicly pilloried in Nixon-era-like protests. As one veteran sixties agitator predicted after spending the day at the march in Washington, “Trump is our new Vietnam.”
Gorsuch, unfortunately, must be sacrificed on the altar of obscene partisanship erected by the Republicans in recent years. Temper tantrums designed to undermine the Constitution for naked political purposes cannot be rewarded. Our government cannot survive the short-term games-playing that has replaced fidelity to the intent of the founders’ work in forming this once-great nation.
The Senate should have seated Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and then turned to Trump’s nominees as vacancies occurred. Never forget that Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have stolen an open seat that would have tilted the court’s balance away from a right-wing majority.
Judge Gorsuch, despite a reportedly mild-mannered temperament, is known for his anti-choice and anti-LGBT stances, pro-employer rulings in labor disputes, anti-regulatory attitudes, dismissal of scientific expertise, and pro-police bias in brutality cases, according to statements from public interest groups issued after the announcement.
Many Democrats hope the massive demonstrations against Donald Trump will evolve into a Democratic tea party. Sloppy rollouts of incoherent policy dressed in malevolence can rile people up. But Democrats must first understand what made the tea party powerful. Its great success came not from the members’ anger, but from the ability to turn that anger into a show of force on Election Day.
Senate Democrats said they were postponing the vote because they wanted more information on Price’s stock trades in an Australian medical company and needed more details on reports that Mnuchin’s former bank, OneWest, used automated “robo-signings” of foreclosure documents, which contradicted statements the nominees had made to senators.
Democrats remain furious over Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal last year to allow the Senate to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nomination of appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat, an action with little precedent in U.S. history.
Given his cartoonish faults, his relentless scapegoating and his petty vindictiveness, it’s easy to not take him seriously. And now we have to take him for at least four years and face the realization that he actually is engaging in a strategy that may offend you, but was convincing to the 75,000 Americans in three key states he needed to secure his minority presidency. And in 2018, Democrats face a Senate map with 10 swing states, nine of which Trump won.