Donald Trump presents a silver lining that may be the panacea for a red state like Texas—and other red states, as well. In an odd kind of way, Trump just may be the catalyst the progressive movement needed.
President Obama emerged at a time when the American political establishment—Republicans and Democrats alike—had given the keys to the plutocracy. Trickle-down economics under Reagan and Bush, along with the repeal of Glass-Steagall and NAFTA under Clinton, made poor and middle-class Americans nothing but widgets and commodities.
President Obama created a coalition and won two elections handily, but the ex-president did not create a movement. He did not nurture the coalition post-election. Instead, he spent most of his time attempting to change the policies he believed in to make them more palatable for Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans. That process emboldened the opposition, a numerical minority that became a political majority. That stance ultimately decimated the Democratic Party throughout the country. Had President Obama nurtured and grown his nascent movement, he would have had a better Affordable Care Act, a better stimulus, and a much more engaged grassroots to mitigate Republican fallacies and sneak attacks.
So far Donald Trump continues to prime his base, who are a small but vocal movement. President Obama rarely did that. Trump is in constant contact with his supporters, and he does almost nothing to undermine even the most petulant of them. In comparison, President Obama sometimes seemed to throw the left under the bus.
But Americans are no longer waiting for a messiah. They have finally taken one of President Obama’s most effective messages to heart: “You are who you have been waiting for.” Case in point: a document purportedly prepared by a few political representatives’ staffers has caught fire. It gave millions of Americans the little guidance necessary to become the catalyst for a real grassroots movement that’s been building organically. The Indivisible Guide is everywhere—and now it’s in the hands of working Americans, homemakers, middle-class people, poor people, activists, and those who have never protested or been activists before in their lives.
The Indivisible movement—the resistance—is real. More importantly, it is attached to no party. It is decidedly progressive, like most of the country. Many fail to acknowledge our country’s progressive proclivity in polls, but when asked about our wants and desires in policy and life, they follow the progressive tenets, regardless of party affiliation.
The fallacy of the overtaxed average American built the tea party. Meanwhile, bread and butter issues that are afflicting most Americans are building an already significant Indivisible movement.
Middle-class and poor Americans never benefit from tax cut windfalls. In fact, it costs them more. That tax cut is a direct transfer of wealth from the middle-class and poor to those with the most means.
When we cut taxes, those with unseemly amounts of undeserved earnings and capital get the largest share of these cuts. The middle-class and poor are asked to pay more for tuition, more on toll roads, increased licensing fees, increased health care costs, and many other increased fees that would otherwise be taken care of by fair taxation. Americans are figuring that out.
Donald Trump convinced many in the right areas that the establishment, Republican and Democratic alike, screwed them. Trump made himself the establishment annihilator. To be clear, Hillary Clinton had policies that were decidedly progressive, even if they had too much of a corporate bias. But those policies would have been orders of magnitude better for Americans than the return of trickle-down economics on steroids under Donald Trump.
The 2016 election did not enthuse most Americans. They were willing to accept Hillary Clinton, but they did not go out in droves to the polls. Trump’s election caught them completely off guard. Trump did not fool most; they just thought he simply could not win. Unfortunately, America is not a democracy because of the Electoral College, an ancient constitutional aberration. It does not matter what every American wants—it’s about who you are and where you vote. But America only comes close to democracy if everyone votes.
Americans realize that they must do something, and the burgeoning Indivisible Movement is their tool. In Houston there are almost daily rallies, letter writings parties, meetings, and other events forcing the hands of local politicians. As a political blogger, I get tons of emails from people reading my posts on recent protests and actions, and they are inspired to make contact about getting involved.
Early this morning I received a pleasant surprise when my phone rang. It woke me up. The woman on the other end of the line told me she has been scanning the internet and ran across my name and number and decided to call because she wanted to get involved. She said she has never been politically active but had to get off of the sidelines. She said while her husband is staunchly Republican, she doesn’t know what she is (read: soft Republican). The woman said she wanted to get involved because she understands that she needs to do her part. The lady told me she does not want to be “too out there” out of respect for her husband, but he knew that she intended to get active. She will be activated.
The Indivisible movement—and a more enabled progressive movement—are real. The resistance is as real in Texas as it is throughout the rest of the country.
Politicians can dismiss it at their peril.