Resistance to the incoming administration of Donald Trump has begun with many prominent organizations attacking his policy and personnel proposals. To show their support, sixty Democratic Members of the House of Representatives have refused to attend the inauguration.
Among Trump’s nominees for Cabinet positions, Secretary of Labor nominee Andy Puzder has been the target of such a sustained criticism he has considered withdrawing his name from consideration.
Unions, which face the fight of their lives against an Administration and Cabinet reputed to be the wealthiest in American history, have been especially vocal in their opposition to Puzder. Fight for 15 and other economic groups have been protesting Puzder, citing his company’s poor employment track record.
Puzder, the CEO of Carl’s Jr., has voiced opposition to a new $15 an hour minimum wage, President’s Obama overtime rule, and similar labor protections.
Circumstances for the opposition are bleak as Republicans hold all three branches of the federal government and many statehouses due to the many losses Democrats faced in 2014 which they failed to make up for in 2016.
Leading the Resistance
Various national organization with strong ties to the Democratic Party have started to become self-styled centers of the resistance including the Center for American Progress, a prominent think tank with strong ties to the Clintons, and the Super PACs American Bridge and Priorities USA.
Others, inspired by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, have remained politically involved and many continue to organize including Our Revolution which formed out his campaign. Our Revolution partnered with the Working Families Party, Citizen Action, the SEIU, the CWA, the AFT, the ATU, and other unions and progressive groups to protest the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this past weekend. Similar radical groups are also taking action in major cities.
Having been elevated to a new level, Sanders himself has already taken a lead in Congress leading the opposition from a new position in the Senate Democratic leadership.
Many groups are planning to protest Trump’s inauguration with the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday the 21st. A large coalition of labor, religious, environmental, and community organizations will bring thousands to the National Mall. Concurrent marches are planned across the country as well.
Other immigrant groups and local community organizations have sprung into action to fight Trump’s anticipated actions.
How to Fight
The traditional form of lobbying in which party insiders ask their friends in the same party and old colleagues in the opposition to support their bill is starting to lose its effect on addressing many of the major issues we are confronted with.
Efforts to resist Republican efforts will be also difficult through the popular “Lobby Days” whereby lobbyists bring members of their organization to the offices of elected officials to press their case.
Nor can organizations simply gather a long list of online supporters, get Facebook “likes” and ask for money to affect change. People of all kinds are needed to attend meetings, become involved, bring friends to protests, call and write their Members of Congress, write letters to the editor, and otherwise make their displeasure well known. More activists will be needed to face police brutality and possible arrest if more peaceful means prove unsuccessful.
Judging from past efforts, most Republicans are likely to be indifferent to such efforts unless they feel it will be politically costly. Some moderate Democrats may even feel it politically expedient to try to make a deal with Republicans, which will hurt efforts to present a united opposition.
Civil disobedience by which protesters deliberately refuse to obey the law which may lead to arrest and imprisonment might become necessary for thousands of protesters to stop the destruction of the many gains Progressives and their allies have fought for.
A Glimmer of Light
However, all is not bleak. If Trump’s Cabinet nominees are blocked, it will further damage Trump’s position. His popularity is already low, which severely diminishes the political capital that would allow him to push legislation and otherwise gain support.
He is an outsider to many of the nuances of Washington that even Obama was familiar with by the time he was inaugurated, despite Obama’s inexperience on the federal level. This was in part overcome when he surrounded himself with seasoned advisors as well as Hillary Clinton and her supporters. Trump’s lack of strong relations with the other Republican leaders and poor temper will likely lead many Republicans to turn against him. Combined with allegations of his ties to Russia, there is a chance he’ll be impeached.
While Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is also conservative albeit with a more reasonable temperament, it would be a step in the right direction. Impeachment would turn the country against the Republicans which gives Progressives great opportunities to maneuver to save the Republic.