Why and how to prepare for a President Trump

The now all-but-guaranteed Republican presidential nominee is Donald Trump.

This is a man running a race like no other, routinely resorting to crude caricatures of his political opponents and calls for violence against protesters. This is a man the liberal media — insofar as an echo chamber run by five multibillion dollar corporations can be “liberal” — has dismissed, disparaged and outright mocked since before his candidacy began. This is a man seemingly unfazed by this treatment, who in fact uses it as fuel to stoke the fire of his campaign.

This is a man who is one recession away from being the next President of the United States.

Some of the more self-assured voices on the left and center-right, content to dismiss Trump voters as a particularly vocal but ultimately insignificant faction of bigots and trolls within the Republican Party, might disagree with this claim. Hillary Clinton’s fluctuating margin of victory over Trump in national polls is cited as often as Bernie Sanders’ thirteen point hypothetical lead goes ignored. If the election were held today, pundits claim, Clinton would soundly defeat Trump.

Of course, they qualify, unless she doesn’t.

The road to November is long and, as Trump’s chaotic campaign has demonstrated, utterly unpredictable. To speak about the future political inclinations of millions of people with any degree of certainty is an exercise in futility made the norm by the rhetorical grandstanding and personal interests inherent to a corporate media environment. Outlined here is not a prediction so much as a possibility — one educated Americans would do well to consider rather than resting on their laurels in wry condemnation of Trump as they have been all too eager to thus far.

A Clinton-Trump matchup in the general election is historic for multiple reasons, foremost among them the unprecedented unlikability of both candidates. But while Trump remains the more unlikable of the two, the numbers are steadily increasing in his favor as the Republican establishment myopically rallies behind his campaign. Clinton’s unfavorable ratings, on the other hand, have remained largely consistent since the beginning of April. Her popularity is largely concentrated among self-identified Democrats while the Trump campaign has relied mostly on support from right-leaning independents (independents of all sorts comprise nearly forty percent of the electorate). So too has the Sanders campaign drawn from this pool of supposedly unaffiliated citizens — who in reality harbor partisan stances but abhor the associated labels — as evidenced by the tremendous success of the senator from Vermont in open primaries. Though the Democratic elite are admonishing Sanders supporters to line up behind Clinton, the brief foray of these independent voters into the political process may very well begin and end with the Sanders campaign, writes Joshua Holland in The Nation, as independent voters are “more likely to just stay home in November” — evidenced by the much-maligned “Bernie or Bust” movement which threatens to rob Clinton of the presidency she has long considered inevitable.

Though the anti-establishment parallels of the two campaigns are striking, Sanders voters and Trump voters differ dramatically in the tenor of their aspirations. The Sanders campaign — and progressive ideology in general — has its allure in the hope of its promised future. Reactionaries throughout history, among whom Trump and his supporters are the most vivid example in recent years, operate on a different emotion: fear. The longing for a nonexistent past embodied in slogans emblazoned on hats and T-shirts — “Make America Great Again” — leaves unspoken the foundational premise of Trump’s appeal, a perceived loss of privilege seen not as the erosion of an oppressive status quo but rather as an abandonment of the way things were in a falsely idealized golden age. In fighting to regain this privilege, a sizable segment of white America has abandoned all pretense of civility and has chosen a crass demagogue as their savior.

Having ignored Sun Tzu’s exhortation to never back one’s enemy into a corner, the left may very well have won its battles for justice only to lose the social war. The same government credited by liberals for recent concessions to racial and LGBT equality is now poised to become a tool for oppression more powerful than ever before and with immense grassroots support for this effort, black and brown and gay and trans Americans stand to wake up the morning after Election Day in a country hostile to their very existence. Having grown content that the government which granted them their rights would never again take them away, these various identity groups now stand to be deprived of their liberty by a demagogue dependent on a white Christian base for his power, a base which sees minority gains as their losses. Utter disregard for the rule of law is regarded not an electoral liability or a step towards fascism but rather as evidence of Trump’s unique capacity to reverse the degradation of their once-great nation.

None can deny the overtly racist components of Trump’s platform, as the candidate has explicitly called for a ban on all Muslim immigration and the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. As many from across the political spectrum have acknowledged, the logistical demands of this latter policy would require a full-fledged police state to efficiently arrest, detain, and deport over eleven million undesirable citizens. Working hand-in-hand with the armed agents of the state enforcing this racial purge would be the more vehement of Trump’s supporters — anyone who doubts this need only examine the spontaneous aggression Trump has encouraged at his rallies. Just as Israeli violence towards Palestinians routinely goes unpunished by a right-wing Zionist administration, so too would crimes against Muslims and Mexicans be ignored by a Trump government. To presume such a program of state and civilian violence against racial and religious minorities could not happen in America is to maintain a naive view of the power of fear and hatred when coupled with the massive security apparatus of the United States government.

Protest, via Wikimedia Commons

Protest, via Wikimedia Commons

Let it not be written that we watched with folded arms as our fellow human beings were stripped of their liberty. Let it not be said that Americans stood slack-jawed as their nation descended into totalitarianism. The duty of every citizen motivated by liberty and justice when confronted by a fascist threat is twofold. First, we must openly protest the actions of the regime. Given the would-be despot’s thin-skinned nature and tendency towards machismo, protesters who today take to the streets for largely neutered rallies would tomorrow find themselves at a scene more resembling the frontline of a battlefield. Protesters must be ready to face harassment, detention, arrest and police violence in response to their agitation. Those unmotivated by mass protest or afraid of the violence that is likely to ensue can make their voices heard by disrupting — in Black Lives Matter fashion — the day-to-day activities of a society content to allow such tyranny. By blocking highways, by shutting down malls, by interrupting campaign speeches and legislative assemblies, protesters can throw a wrench in the business-as-usual mentality of the masses and use their inevitable incarceration as a wake-up call for their families and communities: Knowing full well what happens when you raise your voice in Trump’s America, still we must resist.

The second, more sacred duty of those who resist is to defend the oppressed. This will have to be done in clandestine fashion, adapting tactics not seen in America since the days of the Underground Railroad. Surveilling immigration agents and other law enforcement officials to preempt the arrest of undocumented citizens and fellow dissidents, hatching schemes to free those imprisoned in mass detention facilities, providing shelter and passage to safety from looming danger — these tasks would blatantly violate the laws that govern humanity in service of the higher law which defines humanity. In bringing themselves into conflict with both the state and its populist Redhat paramilitary, the perpetrators of these crimes will require the means to protect themselves and others. This demands the utmost discretion — encryption of online communication, thorough vetting of all associates, non-hierarchical organizations and the careful division of tasks — as well as the right to bear arms enshrined by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. When physical security can be arbitrarily granted and denied by the state, it falls on the people to defend collective liberty by any means necessary.

This is obviously a nightmare scenario. In all likelihood, Trump may never set foot in the Oval Office. But the story of the Trump candidacy has been a series of improbabilities made manifest despite universal derision and disbelief. Simply put, few alive have seen anything like this before, and the writers and talking heads and politicians are among the least qualified to consider possibilities outside the bounds of the liberal democratic system they represent. It is abundantly clear that, in its role as arbiter of informed democracy, our media has failed us. In its self-assigned responsibility for a just and equitable peace, our government has failed us. And we have failed ourselves in our readiness to cede this responsibility, in the complacency with which we have put the burden of our freedom into the hands of uncaring bureaucracies and corporations interested only in preserving their own power.

We must prepare today if we are to avoid a tomorrow we cannot abide. Let it not be written that we walked self-assured and smiling into the jaws of defeat. Let it not be said that we were caught unaware as an impossible nightmare became an inescapable reality.

Raghav Sharma
Raghav Sharma is a writer, filmmaker, and political activist studying at the University of Pittsburgh. He writes on electoral and campaign finance issues, foreign policy, and economic affairs.

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  • Mesocyclones

    Trump is going to be the next President and I hope all you snarky, pseudo-intellectual leftists choke on it to.

  • Mesocyclones

    You need help moving, faggot?

  • Blogvader

    I dunno.

    After reading about the DNC’s decision to let Bernie have a role in crafting the party’s platform, it seems like they’re beginning to realize (at least behind closed doors) that they need that other 42% of voters too.

    I personally don’t think they have any plans to address economic inequality in a significant way, but a nice symbolic gesture is a start.

  • Bill_Perdue

    It’s not an impossible scenario because there are no major differences between the DP and the RP. They pretend to have differences on gun control but neither call for the only form of gun control that would cut down on murders – disarming the cops.

    And it’s going to be very hard to call because both major candidates (assuming that Tzar Trump and HRH HRC. This election will be the clearest example of a fight between twin and equally lesser evils since the battle between the pig LBJ and the right wing lunatic Goldwater. HRH Trump and HRH HRC aren’t just disliked, they’re despised.

    WAPO ”The coming presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump begins in a virtual dead heat, a competition between two candidates viewed unfavorably by a majority of the current electorate and with voters motivated as much by whom they don’t like as by whom they do, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. … Never in the history of the Post-ABC poll have the two major party nominees been viewed as harshly as Clinton and Trump.

    Nearly 6 in 10 registered voters say they have negative impressions of both major candidates. Overall, Clinton’s net negative rating among registered voters is minus-16, while Trump’s is minus-17, though Trump’s numbers have improved since March. Among all adults, Trump’s net negatives are significantly higher than those of Clinton.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-election-2016-shapes-up-as-a-contest-of-negatives/2016/05/21/8d4ccfd6-1ed3-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

    five thrity eight “The Democratic primary will technically march on, but Hillary Clinton is almost certainly going to be her party’s nominee. Same with Donald Trump. And voters don’t appear thrilled at the prospect: Clinton and Trump are both more strongly disliked than any nominee at this point in the past 10 presidential cycles. … These are people who don’t just like or dislike the candidates, they really like or dislike them. No past candidate comes close to Clinton, and especially Trump, in terms of engendering strong dislike a little more than six months before the election.” http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-distaste-for-both-trump-and-clinton-is-record-breaking/ via Goddards Political wire

    WSJ ” April 17, 2016 – Both parties’ presidential front-runners are growing increasingly unpopular, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with Hillary Clinton showing an especially steep decline over the past month. Among voters in both parties, 56% hold a negative view of Hillary Clinton and 32% hold a positive view. That 24-point gap is almost twice as wide as in a Journal/NBC poll last month, when 51% viewed her negatively and 38% positively, a 13-point gap.

    Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to be the candidate in either party viewed most negatively, with 65% of registered voters viewing him unfavorably and 24% favorably, a 41-point difference. Unlike with Mrs. Clinton, those numbers haven’t changed much over the past month.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/both-parties-presidential-front-runners-increasingly-unpopular-1460898001?mod=djemalertNEWS (my underlining)

  • Hue-Man

    wiki says the Underground Railroad moved 30,000 Americans to Canada, although the figure may be as low as 6,000. This is a far cry from 30 million African-Americans plus 12 million undocumented residents plus 10 million LGBT (round numbers). Especially, since the current population of Canada is only 36 million. Worse, Canada looks as vulnerable as Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland once someone tells Drumpf about Lebensraum.

  • Phil in FLL

    The demographics of younger vs older voters and Hispanic vs white evangelical voters has changed since 2000. On a note of optimism, just remember that in 2003 the U.S. federal government abolished all the sodomy laws. That shows how similar the U.S. and Mexico are in many ways because the Mexican federal government did the same thing. Oh, wait… the Mexican federal government did that in 1871.

    That was supposed to be funny. ;)

  • UncleBucky

    There it goes, there it goes…. Now we are preparing for a President Trump…

    Or preparing for another 2000. I can’t bear it anymore. Can’t. :(

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