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#ResistTrump today by learning from the Tea Party how to put politicians on the defensive

The Tea Party: Some of their tactics are worth emulating. Their signs, not so much

The Tea Party movement, which rose up in the early years of the Obama presidency to oppose pretty much everything he stood for, was a reactionary, often-embarrassing political spectacle.

But as reactionary, often-embarrassing political spectacles go, it was a pretty effective one. Tea Partiers may have had trouble spelling their slogans correctly, but they managed to block a lot of Obama’s progressive agenda.

Now a group of former congressional staffers with years of experience fighting against the Tea Party are urging fellow progressives to adopt some of that group’s most effective tactics to thwart the incoming Trump regime. In an already much-discussed document called Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, these activists urge Trump opponents to

stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.

We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.

We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

One of the great strengths of the Tea Party, the Indivisible authors note, is that it offered unified opposition to virtually everything Obama and his allies stood for — and punished those Republicans who wavered in the anti-Obama crusade.

The Tea Party focused on saying NO to Members of Congress (MoCs) on their home turf. While the Tea Party activists were united by a core set of shared beliefs, they actively avoided developing their own policy agenda. Instead, they had an extraordinary clarity of purpose, united in opposition to President Obama. They didn’t accept concessions and treated weak Republicans as traitors.

Local Tea Party groups focused their attention on their local representatives in Congress, and made life uncomfortable for those Republicans who weren’t willing to be “their voice of opposition on Capitol Hill.” In doing so, they garnered political influence out of proportion to their relatively small numbers.

By adopting a similar strategy, Indivisible argues, the anti-Trump movement could

Stall the Trump agenda by forcing [MoCs] to redirect energy away from their priorities. Congressional offices have limited time and limited people. A day that they spend worrying about you is a day that they’re not ending Medicare, privatizing public schools, or preparing a Muslim registry.

Sap Representatives’ will to support or drive reactionary change. If you do this right, you will have an outsized impact. Every time your MoC signs on to a bill, takes a position, or makes a statement, a little part of his or her mind will be thinking: “How am I going to explain this to the angry constituents who keep showing up at my events and demanding answers?”

Reaffirm the illegitimacy of the Trump agenda. The hard truth is that Trump, McConnell, and Ryan will have the votes to cause some damage. But by objecting as loudly and powerfully as possible, and by centering the voices of those who are most affected by their agenda, you can ensure that people understand exactly how bad these laws are from the very start – priming the ground for the 2018 midterms and their repeal when Democrats retake power.

Indivisible runs through these lessons from the Tea Party fairly quickly, and follows them up with a good deal of very practical advice on how to best get the attention of local MoC’s — from organized phone calling to office sit-ins.

The guide is free. I think it will prove invaluable to anti-Trump activists over the next several years.

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Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Pendraeg

And if they give you that $15 dollar minimum wage?

GOP: $12
Dems: no, $15
GOP: $13.50
Dems: no, $15
GOP: $14.25, final offer
Dems: deal

Summat like that

all you’re saying there is that you just view the world as being you and everyone else who is expendable and not to be trusted

That’s an… interesting reading of my words

Which sounds pretty damn right wing to me

And people wonder why I put scare apostrophes around ‘right’ and ‘left’

Michael Brew
Michael Brew
4 years ago
Reply to  Pendraeg

It’s an ethical conundrum to be sure, but it’s worth asking whether it’s the behavior that is actually inethical or the goals. Obviously, we didn’t like the goals of the Tea Party in particular and conservatives generally, and their tactics worked very well toward accomplishing them. Is it possible that we’ve conflated our revulsion with the goals with their tactics? After all, one could argue that even obstructing beneficial legislation that is proposed by the GOP could be more beneficial in the long-term if it hastened a turnover to a much more friendly government to our policies, whereas taking the GOP’s scraps could give them just enough goodwill that they manage to hold onto power as they run us into the ground. It’s a cynical political strategy, true, but maybe there’s some merit in it?

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

@WWTH Again for the sixth time now, yes we should fight, yes we should use the bully pulpit when it’s available. But that doesn’t mean we should try to force our beliefs on others, we should attempt to convince them that we’re right because we are. That’s all I’m saying. A lot of people seem to think I’m saying we should just roll over, and I’m not.

@Policy “If you want to emulate the forgotten and the ignored, feel free, but stop trying to convince everyone else to step along the path of failure with you.”

No I won’t. Because I don’t believe that it’s the path of failure, I believe it’s the path that will result in long term change for the better and yours will result in a great deal of sound and fury and ultimately not accomplish anything. Of course I’m not going to demand that you stop trying to convince me or anyone because I actually believe that my ideas are better and will win out over yours.

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

@Michael Brew It is cynical and that’s the problem, you’d be saying to those people that their pain is less important than your political goals. Do you really think that’ll win them to your side and how likely is that turn over if you’ve done that? It might win you a short term victory but long term that seems like losing strategy to me as well as unethical since at that point you’d be putting political goals over people’s well being.

@Policy How about we make sure we don’t come to that bridge in the first place. It’s a bad bridge, why the hell would we take a road that leads to it?

@Axecaliber Then you’re not going obstructing, you’re negotiating, which is pretty fundamentally different stance than the one you were just claiming.

It’s a bit of an extreme on I’ll admit, but do you see how it’s not exactly an impossible or even really very far of a leap?

Put as many scare quotes as you like, but left and right have established meanings in the context of the American political landscape, without those shared definitions discussion is pretty much impossible because you’d have to reestablish basic vocabulary.

sff9
sff9
4 years ago

A well-rounded article advocating the same strategy (and answering a bit to Pendraeg’s view, though I doubt they’ll be convinced): It’s time for Democrats to fight dirty, by David Faris (via Brute Reason).

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

Okay that’s weird my response to Michael is posting above his even though the time stamp is after it.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Lyndon B Johnson was kind of an asshole and he twisted a lot of arms to get the Civil Rights Act passed.

Franklin Roosevelt appointed extra Supreme Court Justices to make sure his agenda for getting us out of the depression passed.

They went to extreme measures to get really necessary progressive changes through and the country is better off for it. We would have had a better health care reform bill if Barrack Obama had been willing to be more of a shady asshole IMO. I’d prefer it if being nice worked. I really would. But it doesn’t. We’re not going to get progressive reforms passed in the near future unfortunately, but we can shut Trump the fuck down. If he and the GOP congress get nothing done, the voters will blame them, not the Democrats. The media will blame Trump. That’s how it works. People claim they want politics to be nicer, but it’s all talk. If the Dems want victory in 2018 and 2020, voters need to see them fight and fight hard.

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

@sff9 It’s an interesting article and again I’m not actually saying that such tactics are ineffective, at least in the short term. What I’m saying is that there’s a better way. Instead of just preventing anything from happening work to help people and work to stop them from being hurt and then scream from the rafters, “This is what we did! This is how we helped you! This is how they hurt you! ” One of my main complaints about Obama is that he didn’t use the bully pulpit to trumpet his victories, but there’s a difference between fighting hard and fighting dirty. And yes I do believe that fighting hard has better and more long term effects than fighting dirty.

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

@WWTH And we’ll never know if those good things could have been accomplished without using fucked up, and unethical tactics.

I don’t care about polite, I care about principled and ethical neither of which are synonyms for polite. People say they want politics not to be nicer but to be more honest and more transparent and more ethical. I don’t think it’s all talk, look at Sanders here’s a virtual unknown who didn’t engage in the usual sleazy tactics and was able to almost defeat one of the most well known figures in American politics. Now imagine if the entire Democratic party behaved like that. Do you really think it would have no effect, do you really think we shouldn’t demand that they act better and not worse?

Pendraeg
Pendraeg
4 years ago

In any case it’s time for me to log off for the night, and I do want to say I’m not trying to infuriate anyone, I’m not trying to insult anyone and I don’t think I’ve been disrespectful. I do enjoy these sorts of discussions and I do think it’s important to hear the opinions of people we don’t agree with is all.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
4 years ago

Look, em… I don’t think using those tactics makes anyone “the same as” the gun-toting open fascists they’re fighting back against.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Pendraeg

Then you’re not going obstructing, you’re negotiating

As did Republicans. 98%, remember? Obstruction is negotiation minus regular concession. If you concede a little bit, only at the end, that’s the Tea Party playbook. Which we call obstruction. Not because it’s fundamentally different than negotiation, but cos it’s annoying. There is 1 other difference tho. An obstructor understands that one can win on the minimum wage by sticking to one’s guns, but lose out on civil rights doing the same. Or vice versa. How willing one is to take that loss, makes or breaks an obstructionist gameplan. Not sure how willing I am at the moment, but I fear I’ll need to be. And it is a fear

do you see how it’s not exactly an impossible or even really very far of a leap?

Leap from what? Or to what? Not sure what you’re saying there

Put as many scare quotes as you like

Oh, I shall

discussion is pretty much impossible because you’d have to reestablish basic vocabulary

I beg to differ. I find specificity makes political conversation easier and better

Michael Brew
Michael Brew
4 years ago
Reply to  Pendraeg

The strategy is actually meant to be the opposite of what you suggest. Obstructing even policies that would be beneficial to us is a short term loss for a long term benefit. The argument, as I see it, would be that compromising with the GOP would get us some small benefits, but would also benefit them and ensure that they stay in power longer, while they basically trash the country. Obstructing everything is more likely to result in an upheaval similar to what happened in 2010 and perhaps could break the streak of incumbent presidents always winning reelections. That way, even though we had to delay our own satisfaction on the few scraps sent out way, we stop the worst of the GOP’s excesses and get the power to push through more changes sooner than we would have if we let the GOP look competent enough to not get voted out. So, basically, yes we sacrifice a reasonable health care reform bill this year, but next year we have the power to pass an even better one plus education, etc. where if we had taken the reasonable bill it might have resulted in four more years of running up the debt, ruining the environment, and gutting other public services.

History Nerd
History Nerd
4 years ago

The Tea Party worked well because it didn’t have any particular unifying ideology other than being anti-Obama (even when he supported policies that went in a moderate or conservative direction). It never demanded that members be a particular type of conservative or libertarian as long as they refused to collaborate with Obama’s agenda or Republicans who failed to be sufficiently anti-Obama.

You’d be accepted as long as you went along with the clearly defined goals of blocking Obama’s agenda and making life hell for Republicans who cooperated with Obama. Many people in the Tea Party (at least in my experience) had more liberal views on issues like gay rights, the War on Drugs, and privacy and civil liberties. So the takeaway is to accept everyone willing to work towards a clearly defined goal even if they don’t agree on fundamental issues.

The Mellow Monkey
The Mellow Monkey
4 years ago

We’re all familiar with the adage that the ends don’t justify the means, which seems to be what @Pendraeg is hung up on. But using “good” means won’t necessarily lead to “good” ends (I do hear they’re great at paving roads to hell, OTOH), and the fact that someone used certain tactics for harmful goals doesn’t automatically define their tactics as “bad.”

The “will of the people” can lead to terrible outcomes, because people support awful shit. That doesn’t make democracy bad. However, it also doesn’t mean we have to support any and all democratically derived laws, especially when they’re terrible. Slavery was–and in some places still is–the will of the people. Marital rape was–and in some places still is–the will of the people. Anti-LGBT discrimination remains the will of the people all over the damn place. Lack of medical care, food, and housing for the most vulnerable is the will of the people right now. Shouting from the rooftops and doing everything I can to prevent our democratically elected representatives from causing horrific suffering is part of the democratic process too and I intend to do it until I don’t have a voice any longer, at which point I will resort to angry gestures and memes.

Democracy is the best political system we have for protecting people–their lives and their freedom–but democracy is just a tool. If 51% of the USA felt that murdering a minority was a good idea, I would die fighting that and would not give a good goddamn about how democratically they’d arrived at the decision.

Progressives need to defend people, not the “right” political tactics. We need food and medical care and education and safety and all those other fantastic things. Focus on human rights and you don’t have to fret over whether or not someone naughty used the same tactics, because–hey!–everybody’s human rights are being protected. Which should be our goal.

(I think this is my first comment here? Hi?)

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
4 years ago

Anyone who thinks that the GOP is going to suggest policies that benefit all people (such as universal healthcare) hasn’t been paying attention to the GOP for the last two decades.

LeftWingFox
LeftWingFox
4 years ago

I think the “means vs. ends” question ignores the system in which those means and ends take place.

Right now, Republicans have broken the system of US government. They have made obstructionism, strong arm tactics and the suppression of democracy the fundamental tactics of their rule. Regardless of whether the Democratic party upholds the norms and standards of American democracy, there is no way to force the Republican Party to do so in the current system.

The system must be changed, and that can’t happen if one side clings to a power structure to which they are at a systemic disadvantage. In the end, one of two things will happen: the system will be fixed, or it will be destroyed in favour of something new. Hanging onto the broken system will only delay the inevitable.

So, the Democratic party should resist the same way the Republicans did. Force the issue, instead of pretending everything’s ok. Academics and activists can focus on fixing the systemic issues, and be wary of the Republican attempts to solidify one-party rule in the face of such opposition.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

@Policy How about we make sure we don’t come to that bridge in the first place. It’s a bad bridge, why the hell would we take a road that leads to it?

Your argument is that, because we might come to a bad bridge, we shouldn’t bother to step down any roads at all. Because your ideas are the path of failure. They have failed Democrats over and over, and they failed moderate Republicans who were perfectly happy to compromise with Obama. Nobody thinks those people exist anymore, and in the political realm they don’t, because they were drummed out by the Tea Party and those like them. They lost. Democrats also lose with this method. Your method has a track record of total failure, and your only argument for why we should again take this road to failure is that there MIGHT be a bad bridge along it somewhere.

Fuck me running, dude. Go fail on your own.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

And we’ll never know if those good things could have been accomplished without using fucked up, and unethical tactics.

Sure we do. Nothing that major has gone through without them. I can’t prove there isn’t an invisible dragon in my garage but…

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
4 years ago

there’s a difference between fighting hard and fighting dirty.

Heh.

History Nerd
History Nerd
4 years ago

Though re: the gay rights issue, the GOP took advantage of ignorance to a large degree. A few studies show that most people believe that it’s already illegal federally to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. The reality is that in many red states your boss can fire you simply because you’re gay, even though most people in the country would oppose that.

Handsome (Punkle Stan) Jack

And all you’re saying there is that you just view the world as being you and everyone else who is expendable and not to be trusted. Which sounds pretty damn right wing to me.

Okay…that’s not what Axe implied at all?

Maybe they’d understand better if they knew just how often progressive movements fucked over black people to get their way…And that Axe is black. I think Sir Gawain here is arguing from a place where they (probably) think Axe is white and throwing a hissy fit over weed legalization or something equally as trivial.

This is what happens when you’re arguing anonymously on the internet and think only white people are about. (And I’m pretty sure they’re white themselves with all the Arthurian shit.)

The Civil War, the Suffrage Movement, anti-Vietnam protests–lots of big examples of white people with liberal-leaning agendas using black people and people of color in general as leverage to get their way and then throwing them under the bus when they’ve got it.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Jack
http://gifsec.com/wp-content/uploads/GIF/2014/09/You-got-it-bro-GIF.gif
Thanks, homie. I was gonna say, but then I was like ‘nah, let’s see where this goes. When they gonna figure out I’m the expendable one?’

Handsome (Punkle Stan) Jack

@Axe

I just wonder if they’re ignorant or if they don’t care? Honestly, with the way you phrased it, if they knew anything about what white people with liberal-leaning agendas like to do, they could have probably guess that you were black, latinx, asian, gay, trans, disabled, muslim, jewish…

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

Pendraeg

Nor did I say we’re the “mirror party” all I said was that this specific guide which proposes the use of obstruction and other underhanded tactics is wrong.

You’re completely and utterly wrong. Fascists, Nazis and the rest of them were not defeated on the live or die battlefields of Russia, Europe, Africa and Asia by armies and navies of opposing troops being “better people”. They did it by fighting harder and longer and, eventually winning.

Then, and only then, they had the chance to show the better nature of the politics of non-fascist countries and citizens. Up until then, they were competing as armed forces and countries at war. Tactics – all of them. Sneaky underhanded stuff, gonzo demonstrations of overwhelming force, rationing everything from sugar to shoe leather, jungle fighting tree by tree, clever use of new technologies like radar, nuclear bombs, propaganda both in friendly and enemy territories, ghastly firebombing of civilian populations.

Once the fighting was over and most of the dead were buried, reconstruction, the Marshall Plan, support and relocation of millions of refugees and, after a while, things started to get better. (And everyone had a bit of a shudder and a shiver looking at how badly Stalin behaved. Thinking just how much worse it would have been if Hitler and the rest of the filthy fascists had had their way was enough to bring the nightmares back.)

When you fight, you fight. You don’t hang back for fear of damaging your immaculate appearance. If the battle is on the beaches – say escorts at Planned Parenthood – you do that. If another front opens with plans for CCTV inside mosques, put on your boots, march till you drop, raise your resistance fist. Never, never, ever give up.

With any luck, a decent program of turning over the legislative rocks will, at long last, expose the creepy ALEC agenda to the sunlight and scorn of general public horror in all the states they seem to be taking over. Boycott every single product of every single company that contributes to these creeps. Make sure that everyone knows that Lazy Local Republican Loser did not burn the midnight oil coming up with his personal proposal for anti-gay legislation. He’s just using boilerplate copy and paste from ALEC … again.

It’s true that there are rules of conduct for warfare, seemingly more well recognised in the breach than the observance. Perhaps progressives should have tighter limits and firmer boundaries than the wannabe-fascists. That does not mean that they should always recoil in horror at the merest suggestion of using unfamiliar or unpleasant tactics.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
4 years ago

For me I’ve been saying that honestly I vehemently disagreed with enough of Clinton’s policies that for me the outcome of this was going to be largely similar regardless of who won.

How nice for you.

I don’t think it’s all talk, look at Sanders here’s a virtual unknown who didn’t engage in the usual sleazy tactics and was able to almost defeat one of the most well known figures in American politics.

And just look at his legislative accomplishments!

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

For me I’ve been saying that honestly I vehemently disagreed with enough of Clinton’s policies that for me the outcome of this was going to be largely similar regardless of who won.

And all you’re saying there is that you just view the world as being you and everyone else who is expendable and not to be trusted.

Is there a word that means “Both hypocrisy and projection”?

I don’t care about polite, I care about principled and ethical neither of which are synonyms for polite. People say they want politics not to be nicer but to be more honest and more transparent and more ethical.

Actually, it’s about

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@SFHC
Projection seems good enough to me.
@Pendraeg

Sanders

Once again I have to defend a person again from sleazy fuckers who use him like a baseball bat while also being against what he stands for. Bernie wants x, y and z which in sum are for benefits for the working class, minorities, and restrictions on big money and their influence on the political process. You who wishes to say that we shouldn’t fight dirty because that isn’t what Sanders stands for is probably one of the sleaziest things you can ever say to my face. Funny enough you’re saying don’t play dirty because the person you are using as a scapegoat actually does quite often through open protest.

Seriously you could not offend me more if you posted a clip of Trump using Bernie while also being literally against everyone Bernie stands for.
@Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Any bets that he’ll try to make some sort of “we can’t help everyone” stance? I can’t wait to hear how despite being the wealthiest and one of the most populated nations we are simply incapable of multitasking. Or maybe he’ll implicate that the people in reality are naturally racist and us trying to make the world a better place in our own ways is like forcing a police baton on a poor sod.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Jack
I mean, I did single out brogressives. Context clues, yo

Re: Clinton/Sanders
I actively chose to ignore that stuff. It’s a touchy subject for some people, myself included, and I’d rather not have that fight here. However, since it has been addressed, I will say that anyone who thinks the Sanders camp was above politicking dirty during the primaries wasn’t paying the closest attention. And he lost besides. That is all

ETA
@Oogly

we can’t help everyone

I wonder who might be left out of ‘everyone’? Hmmm…

baroncognito
4 years ago

I don’t know. It’d be nice if the answer was that clear, but I’m not sure it is.

I mean, part of the reason the Tea Party people don’t care about obstructionism is because they don’t really want the federal government doing anything. That’s why they were so happy to shout “Shut it down.”

The Democratic party believes that government can be a force for good and that it’s vital to the functioning of our country. We believe that if the government isn’t operating properly. people die.

On the other hand, a government being run by Trump doesn’t seem like it’s going to be running properly. And certainly, a government that’s doing more harm than good needs to be shut down.

Falconer
Falconer
4 years ago

I think this obstructionist stand is principled. It says, we will brook no fascism, especially not from a self-obsessed blowhard who lost the popular vote by a larger margin than any other presidential candidate, who abuses Twitter to manipulate stock markets, and who has already destabilized international relations.

The Tea Party refused to cooperate with Obama because he was black. They said it was because there was controversy, that we didn’t know for sure that he was an American citizen, that there was voter fraud, but the real reason is that he was black. We have legitimate concerns about The Don.

We’re opposing The Don because he’s going to use the Presidency to line his own pockets and those of his cronies, enact draconian legislation, and actively encourage and legitimize neo-Nazis.

Those things are dealbreakers. If we negotiate and shake hands with the Trumpers over a deal, we’re saying that we countenance hate.

Personally, I don’t think they will have any proposals that do anything but give money to the 1% or further marginalize groups, so they won’t be worth shaking hands on. For instance, I won’t be surprised if that big infrastructure spending plan turns out to be block grants. (I saw something somewhere, but of course I can’t find it now, about a proposal to use a federal panel to determine what qualifies as infrastructure.)

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Mellow Monkey
Hiya, I’m Axe! Welcome to the Mammoth. Welcome package on the right, and don’t be a stranger!

Also, uhm… *looks at nym, looks at profile pic, ponders to self about life*

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
4 years ago

@Pendraeg

“Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny” is no way to go through life politics, son.

I don’t care about polite, I care about principled and ethical neither of which are synonyms for polite. People say they want politics not to be nicer but to be more honest and more transparent and more ethical.

No, they don’t. If people really wanted that, then Trump wouldn’t have been able to win an election for dogcatcher, much less president. If people really wanted that, then the lies and bullshit that got Trump elected would never have worked.

For me I’ve been saying that honestly I vehemently disagreed with enough of Clinton’s policies that for me the outcome of this was going to be largely similar regardless of who won.

If you genuinely believe that, then you can take your concern-trolly advice and shove it. I have friends who are already suffering because of Trump, and if you want to keep your “clean hands” while the rest of us get down to the business of transforming our political landscape even if we have to (politically) bloody our knuckles to do so, then so be it. We’ve seen what tactics WORK, and telling us to not do it for “principles” is just the right combination of arrogant and ignorant.

So in short: Your concerns are noted, Troll.

Dalillama: Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama: Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
4 years ago

@Mellow Monkey
Welcome in, nice to see you again.

@ Pendraeg
Stop digging.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

As someone who is very likely to be thrown under the bus* by Mango Mussolini and his Screeching Menagerie of Yes Men, Leeches in Business Suits and Russian Sympathizers, allow me this point:

I will not allow this man to hurt me and those I care about.

I have lived on this earth going on 27 years now, and I haven’t survived all the shit that’s been thrown at me to be left to die by some asshole who wants to turn my country into the fucking Fascist Hunger Games.

I do not doubt that this man will throw most Americans under the bus to allow his cronies to fucking live it up on our dimes. This man has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn’t give a flying fuck about anyone who isn’t a rich cishet white dude, nor does he give a fuck about doing right by the people. He’s a con artist who would sell his own mother down the river if he thought he could make a buck or get some press for it, as far as I’m concerned.

I am not willing, nor able, to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s suddenly going to have a change of heart and will do what’s good for the people, i.e. me. There’s a reason the phrase is “He’s gone mad with power!” (apologies for the slight ableism) and not “He’s gone rational/kind/reasonable with power!”

Power is a magnifying lens. It shows you who a person really is. Trump has said and done some horrible things to get the power he now holds, and I don’t fucking doubt he’s going to use it like a sledgehammer against those who he doesn’t like.

He’s already threatened publications who don’t kiss his ass. He’s threatened journalists with his twitter followers. He’s proposed things that will put other people in danger without a damn care in the world for their safety.

Trump is not a person who has even the slightest thought about what’s best for the people because he doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t deserve my compromise, and neither do the bigots and assorted awful people who threw in with him on the promise that he’d do their bidding or on the grounds that he “wasn’t Clinton”.

And if I have to go Lawful Evil to ensure that this festering carrot and his little maggoty minions don’t get anything done, then so mote it fucking be.

Because I don’t care if other people see me as “unethical” at this point. Because it’s either I do an “unethical” thing, or risk being left to die, or worse.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone’s that fucking expendable.

*Pagan, genderflux, pansexual, poor, mentally ill and suffering from chronic pain, but hey, at least I’m white and cishet passing, so I have that going for me.

Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
4 years ago

@ Michael Brew

Considering what we’ve seen so far of the GOP agenda, any possible beneficial “Nixon in China” moment still seems like a pipe dream…but I’d honestly join the side arguing at this point against any cooperation at all, regardless of the circumstances. It does sound like the the cynical platitudes of “the ends justify the means” and “there are no bad tactics, only bad targets,” but it makes a little more sense when thought of in harm-based terms.

The ideal tactic causes the least possible harm for the greatest possible benefit. The great thing is that “least possible harm” means practically nonexistent harm in some positive instances (see: marriage equality); the bad thing is that “least possible harm” regarding Republican government is to not back down an inch, because everything they’re planning to do (defund Planned Parenthood, repeal the ACA, etc.) and have shown themselves inclined to do (“fix” problems in ways lining their own pockets with lip service paid to their other constituents) causes real, great harm.

Yes, if the Republicans somehow came up with something that caused long-term benefit*, we should fight. Probably by insisting that whatever is being offered be pumped up far more (ACA+? Try single-payer. Universal background checks for guns? Try for ammo, too. Beef up Title IX anti-discrimination protections and expand them to all GSMs as well? Try constitutional amendment. Etc.), but we should fight. Yes, vulnerable people could be harmed by inaction…but not as sacrifices. We’ve already seen the political business of small concessions do greater harm in the long run. It’s worked out that way time and again.

So yeah, there are bad tactics. But this isn’t one of them.

*Unless it’s the kind of long-term benefit that literally loses them support from their rich and white evangelical backers. Then it’s probably a keeper, because there’s a reverse “canary in the mine” situation if ever there was any.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

Falconer

I won’t be surprised if that big infrastructure spending plan turns out to be block grants.

Would you be even less surprised to find that the “program”, for want of a better word, consists more or less entirely of tax write-offs for business? (And bills for citizens.)

… However, when the purpose of the money is to build up infrastructure through the private sector (financed almost entirely through tax breaks), then it is another story.

The Trump stimulus marks a pivot from bureaucracies toward transactions. Private companies will not only independently pay for and build the internal improvements, but also own them. The personal ownership and equity stake of these institutions will ensure that they are always well-maintained and profitable.*

The first comments I read on this a while ago were that the vague outline indicated that this was just a tax benefit for companies and nothing more. There was no indication that any additional jobs would be created, nor that any infrastructure would be built, nor funds invested, that wouldn’t have happened anyway.

I’ve never heard of Edward Woodson* before but I’ll make a note of the name. Baby granddaughter loves being read to and fairy wonderland/ Peter Pan Never-Never-land stories would be just the ticket as her tastes develop beyond The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Peppa Pig.

*http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/311960-trumps-infrastructure-plan-does-not-equate-to-liberal

QuantumInc
QuantumInc
4 years ago

A big thing to point out is that defeating Trump and the Republicans is technically also just a means to an end. The actual end is a federal government that passes good laws, enacts policy that benefits everyone. Clearly the consensus here is that removing Trump and the Republicans from Washington is a necessary step.

It feels like a choice with two impractical and terrible options. Can you reach across the aisle, work with republicans, but also create the sort of policy we need to see? Probably not. Can you somehow throw republicans out of congress and squash all the Trump supporters? Probably not.

Seeing people #ResistTrump feels like a continuation of the trend that allowed Trump to get elected in the first place. I hope I am wrong, but that is what I think right now. Simply pushing against our new president at every turn doesn’t seem like it would accomplish anything, it is heavy handed at best, and it will undermine democracy at worst. It can get worse than president Trump. If you dissolved the federal government tomorrow the thing that replaces it would be worse than president Trump.

On the other hand, giving Republicans the benefit of the doubt is starting to sound like “We can’t bomb the Nazis! We’ll hurt the germans!”

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

Simply pushing against our new president at every turn doesn’t seem like it would accomplish anything, it is heavy handed at best, and it will undermine democracy at worst.

Exercising your rights of free assembly, free speech and freedom of the press is extremely important. But no one should hold back at that point.

All you need do to be convinced is to watch the movie, Cabaret. Those artists, comedians and commentators mocked Hitler, Mussolini, Franco relentlessly for years and years and years. Got them nowhere and nothing but grief and aggro. Without equivalent strong political action following through, rather than simple social support and stirring the pot, they lost their living and sometimes their lives and made little if any impact on the course of politics or the military.

I realise you’re not looking to slip straight into nihilism or anarchy or other cynicism-based politics, but it is very easy to do so unless you keep yourself and your friends firmly grounded and focused on achievable political objectives. (Most we know are achievable because, as in many individual states, we already had them and lost them. Take them back.)

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
4 years ago

Gave Pendraeg’s first comment the side-eye when they posted it but I decided to wait and see, but now I feel pretty comfortable calling it concern trolling.

Look I really, really don’t get why this is supposedly about “principles and ethics”.

Is “systematically refusing to collaborate with Trump” lacking in either department ? Because to me it sounds pretty fucking ethical to stay as far away from that man as possible, and it’s a pretty strong and effective principle.

’cause in case you haven’t realized, Trump is a fucking danger to a lot of us, end of story. So please move out of the way.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

Seeing people #ResistTrump feels like a continuation of the trend that allowed Trump to get elected in the first place.

The trend of a post-truth Fair And Balanced™ media that buried everything Trump’s done or been accused of doing, up to and including child rape, in favour of 24/7 coverage of Hillary’s emails? Of hate groups and mass murderers being cultivated and coddled by Reddit, 4Chan and Twitter? Of voter suppression, electoral fraud and impenetrable gerrymandering? Of Putin committing cyber-warfare against the US? Help me out here.

PPreuxFox
PPreuxFox
4 years ago

I think where Pendraeg seems to be coming from is the assumption that most people want basically the same thing as far as the future (of America, the world, etc.) is concerned, and disagreements come from misunderstandings or ignorance as to how that can be accomplished. I used to assume the same thing, and I think a lot of moderates feel that way as well.

Unfortunately I don’t think that’s true in the case of Trump and many of his supporters. They are not racist out of ignorance. Their bigotry comes from hatred – they want a world in which they can live their lives only encountering other white people; where women are happy to be in their ‘proper place’; and gay people aren’t around or are afraid to show their faces in public. Any beliefs they have about the inherent supremacy of their race or sexuality comes from a desire to justify their vision for the country. So calmly debating with them and illuminating the truth will not help. They are human beings like us, but they do not believe they will be happy in a diverse world, which is why they feel attacked. That’s not something any of us can fix by talking to them.

sillybill
sillybill
4 years ago

@WWTH,
The last good thing a Repub president did? I think it was Nixon and the Clean Water act, but I could be wrong.

@all, I think that every non violent tactic we can think of to bring the Trump/Republican agenda to a screaming halt is completely justified and will be necessary. Unrelenting, non-stop monkey warfare. Get in the way, be loud and obnoxious, make messes. Don’t worry to much about the high ground.

Attack, Attack, Attaaaaaaaaack!

But remember to get the facts straight and spell your signs correctly. 😉

PPreuxFox
PPreuxFox
4 years ago

Although I will say that I don’t like the idea of treating people who are not oppositional enough as traitors or weak. Sometimes it may not always be obvious when someone is more vulnerable; I’ve been put in awkward positions, for example, by trans allies who do not realize that I myself am transgender, and demand of me to stand up in support of trans people in ways that might put me in a lot more danger than it would put them. I think that particular tactic might be too divisive and actively harmful towards those who are most affected by Trump’s policies. It also alienates people who have dependants and families to support – the only wage-earner in a household cannot take the same risks as some with more support, and being politically outspoken can be a huge risk to employment.

Falconer
Falconer
4 years ago

@mildlymagnificent:

The Trump stimulus marks a pivot from bureaucracies toward transactions. Private companies will not only independently pay for and build the internal improvements, but also own them. The personal ownership and equity stake of these institutions will ensure that they are always well-maintained and profitable.*

Oh my god.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Just ask Bolivia how well privatization of infrastructure works. Yikes.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

Welp, Teen Vogue* has reported that Trump’s National Security Advisor pick has met with the head of a far-right Austrian political party that was originally established as a haven for Nazis and their sympathizers after WWII ended. These are not people we can cooperate with.

* A teen fashion magazine that has more journalistic backbone than the ‘serious’ media.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Hi all, been away a few days. Still out of the house, working while visiting friends and helping with a newborn. So my comments may be spotty or full, depending on diaper duties.

Holy noodle, infrastructure is being sold off to private concerns in the US as part of the ‘investment,’ and he isn’t even in office yet? Oh, wow. Brace yourselves guys, it’s gonna be a long four years.

@Pendraeg, you’re arguing something that will never actually happen. You’re saying that progressives should support the Republicans if they give us universal health care or a minimum wage increase or whatever. This didn’t happen, with a Democratic president and (at first) a Democratic-majority House of Congress. The path was clear to get that sort of shit done, and it still didn’t happen, why in heaven’s name would it happen now?

You’re arguing that we shouldn’t be mean because it might prevent leprechauns from granting us wishes. It’s a situation that is so unlikely, it might as well be impossible.

@Axe, you ain’t expendable to me <3

#MyOpinion,

Call these assholes every god-damned day. Let their ears ring with the echo of your voices when they put their heads down to sleep, and speak so loud that their ears are still ringing when they wake up in the morning. Make them dread the thought of coming into work, just because those phones are there.

Do the same to the mainstream media. Call CNN, call MSNBC, call Fuckin’ FOX. Ask them why they’re covering the shit they cover when real things are happening. Ask them why they failed their duty to the people so thoroughly that the fascists took control. Ask them when they went from being the safeguard of democracy to its executioner. Ask them what they’re doing to fix the situation.

When Dr King said “Let Freedom Ring,” he must’ve meant the ring of a telephone. Choke’m with fear of their phones, people. Make them dread the sound of its ringing. It’s your best weapon.

Pol
Pol
4 years ago

“you will have an outsized impact”

Oh really now, can we get anymore American?