Resistance Takes Stock as 100 Days of Trump Approaches

RESISTANCE WATCH

RESISTANCE WATCH--As President Donald Trump is set to mark his first 100 days in office on Saturday, the resistance movement that sprang up alongside his rise to power is also celebrating its accomplishments and taking stock of where it stands—and where it is going. (Photo above: Women’s March 2017, Los Angeles.)

Much has been said about the failure of Trump to live up to the promises of his campaign, which Democratic lawmakers are highlighting this week. 

But, as many have noted, the swell of popular opposition has not only stymied the administration's plans to ban Muslim visitors or dismantle healthcare for 30 million Americans. It has also prompted a reckoning within the Democratic Party, forcing establishment leaders to move left and bringing popular progressive ideas such as a single payer healthcare system into mainstream conversation.

Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, said Sunday that despite the many "low points" over the past few months, she is "hopeful."

"The disorganization of our political landscape offers abundant opportunities for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for one another," Garza wrote at the Guardian. "We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be."

Tallying up some of the greatest successes and moments of the anti-Trump resistance, The Nation's John Nichols wrote Monday:

The epic Women's March on Washington restored the faith that many of us had lost on Election Day. Trump's Muslim ban was thwarted not just by judges, but by immediate and massive opposition across the country. His attempt to overturn the [Affordable Care Act] was tripped up, at least in part, by overwhelming opposition from an "Indivisible" movement that packed town halls with Americans who proudly declared that they wanted not just Obamacare, but health care as a right. Trump's initial pick for labor secretary, Andy Puzder, withdrew because, as Puzder admitted, "the left and the Democrats really didn't want [me]."

To that list, one could add the #GrabYourWallet boycott campaign, which has driven major retailers to drop Trump family products, and other massive mobilizations including Saturday's global March for Science and last week's Tax March, as well as the upcoming Peoples Climate March.

Trump's presidency has clearly fueled a new wave of political engagement, particularly among women. Notably, more than 12,000 women have contacted Emily's List seeking information and assistance in running for political office, which the organization notes is a 1000 times more than last year.

Going forward, Nichols said that to continue to derail the Trump train, "Americans must stay in the streets."

"Democrats," he continued, "must answer the call of their base and run hard in red states like Kansas, Georgia, Nebraska, and Montana—putting in place a full-scale 50-state strategy for the 2018 midterms."

Similarly, George Goehl, co-executive director of People's Action, declared Sunday evening that "now, more than ever, we need strategy."

Speaking at the start of the People's Action founding convention in Washington, D.C., Goehl outlined the steps to transform a resistance movement into lasting political power. 

"First, we have to build a resistance that turns Defense into Offense. That means being exactly where they don't want us to be, exactly when they don't want us to be there," he said. "We have done it on healthcare, and we can do it on immigration, we can do it on policing, we can do it on the budget, and more." 

"Number two, Being the resistance is not enough. We need a visionary resistance," he continued. "Let me ask you this: Is now the time to retreat on our big ideas? Is it time to soften our demands?  No. Now is a moment that calls for a radical imagination of what's possible. Every time we protest their agenda, we must demand and articulate and push for our agenda."

"Finally," Goehl added, "let's turn protest power into political power."

To that end, Our Revolution, the organization that sprang from Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, hosted a livestream Sunday evening to assess the "State of the Revolution" and kick off the next phase of its national organizing plan, which aims to build change by winning local elections.

"It's not just about fighting Trump," said the organization's chair, Larry Cohen. "It's also about fighting for what we want." The progressive platform laid out by the speakers included a $15 minimum wage, policing reform, immigrant rights, and Medicare-for-All, among other issues.

"From the school house to the White House," added former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, "local elections matter." 

Looking to the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, Nichols added, "Now is the time to turn resistance into something more: a coherent opposition that is capable of saying 'no' to Trump and holding him to account while at the same time organizing, marching, campaigning, and voting for a whole new politics that will consign crony capitalism, militarism, fear mongering, and the cruel chimera of the 'CEO president' to the dustbin of history."

(Lauren McCauley writes for Common Dreams … where this perspective was first posted.)

-cw