The politically inspired social chaos that has taken over the first several weeks of the new presidential administration is a disorganized protest movement spread by the national media and its status driven and undisciplined internet journal and social media junior partners. Self characterized as “resistance”, the movement has been legitimized by the minority political party in the Congress whose presidential and congressional candidates were rejected by voters in a free and fair election. Claims to the contrary, “Comey’s letter”; and “Russian interference”, lack any credible evidence to support any electoral dynamic other than the usual comparison of the two candidates which led to personal choices made by millions of individual voters.
But the cumulative effect of these choices, Republican Party control of the presidency and the Congress, is now being rejected by self styled “activists” and “resisters” who simply don’t agree with the outcomes and the rejection of the liberal policies of the last eight years. The Democrats as a national party and in the Congress are leaderless thus ceding the character of any message to a grab bag of grievance groups who themselves have no leadership abilities or motivations, just shouts about what they are “against”, and useless platitudes about what they are ‘for’.
The assumption of moral and intellectual superiority which was a part of the failed campaign of the liberal party in the elections, is now coupled with petulance and hate, energizing the protest movement across the nation but compromising any broad based political strategy for the Democratic caucus in the Congress.
Taken as a whole, the avowed tactics are to reject every nomination, executive order, and public policy legislative initiative out of hand, no matter what its purpose, content or value, all in an irrational and emotional display intended to falsely empower the losers.
Few in either party would deny that President Trump is an outspoken, brash and often disagreeable new kind of president. He has a steep learning curve with respect to the complexities of the legislative process and the realities and culture of international relations. He has a “nationalist” versus an “internationalist” orientation which is a departure from the preceding administrations and a significant departure from the Obama presidency. He questions the compatibility and national security implications of many of the components of multi-culturalism in relation to the national well being and confronts the blind acceptance of political correctness which allows no such questions.
His recent executive orders imposing immigration suspensions on seven terrorist prone nations may well be impractical and ineffective with regard to the incidence of domestic terrorism but their future will be appropriately decided as a matter of law by federal judges and not in the streets by uninformed protesters.
Thus the common thread for the disparate protests, marches, speeches and editorials seems not to be political “resistance” but the personal vilification of President Trump himself. There is no restraint, no level of exaggeration or common decency that hasn’t been crossed.
“Dictator”, “fascist”, “abomination”, “crazy”, is the new “political discourse” encouraged by the Left. Show biz celebrity Madonna’s widely circulated confession that she wanted to “blow up the White House” was just the precursor for truly “deranged” hate. Quasi-obscure stand-up comedienne Sarah Silverman called for a military coup against President Trump, recently echoed by a former political appointee to the Obama Defense Department, Rosa Brooks who claimed the President is “crazy” and one possibility is a military coup to remove him from office.
There is no shortage of political “experts” in show business. Former sit down comedian John Stewart, apparently missing his platform for spewing viciousness thinly disguised as humor, made a guest appearance on ABC’s Late Night to label President Trump’s first few days in the White House as “purposeful vindictive chaos” and to mock his ties and hair.
In truth, despite bad “stage management”, what Trump has been doing so far has been fulfilling the campaign promises that got him elected. It’s all there on his campaign web sites and in his campaign speeches. Enhancing border security and restrictions on illegal immigration and threats from Islamic extremism; reduction of the regulatory burden imposed on businesses; rebuilding the military; repairing the flawed Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and nominating a constitutional constructionist to the Supreme Court.
While widely disparaged by the Left during the campaign these promises were not the subject of hysteria as they are now since the Democratic Left didn’t take Trump or his platform seriously. He was treated more as a side show than a serious opponent to the entitled and “inevitable” “first woman president”. But when their false reality was blown up on November 9th, the hysteria became overwhelming and the political theater of “resistance” began.
Reality check: Despite his flaws, Trump is the President. Would these ideologically imprisoned “resisters” put the national government on hold for four years while they wait for a second chance to take control? There is no logical thinking underlying this opposition. The nation is witnessing an enormous, immature temper fit.
The Democrats, aided by the aforementioned liberal establishments in the media, academia, and entertainment world, offered their political philosophy, policy preferences, and vision for the nation’s future to the voters and they were rejected under the constitutional system the Congress and the states have accepted since the beginnings of the Republic. Now they and the protesters seem to trying to redo the campaign.
Do the Democrats and their radical supporters in the press and the streets really believe that the winners will now acquiesce in the face of protests and obstructionism and allow the losers to govern by proxy? What the nation is witnessing is an assault on the democratic process. Protest and obstructionism are of course constitutionally protected rights, but devoid of responsibility they are destructive and when carried to the extreme, the result is fringe anarchy from which America loses its standing in the world as a model of representative democracy.
This model is based on a fundamental concept, the “loyal opposition” which has withstood political divisions for centuries both before and after the American Civil War which was its greatest test. It is characterized by the “peaceful transfer of power” and an underlying system of core values including the “rule of law” and acceptance of political outcomes. The next generation of voters, who are children are being used as tools in protests and the next generation of leaders currently in colleges and universities, are being indoctrinated in the anti-democratic politics of rejection.
Democrats in the Congress can’t claim that their Republican colleagues didn’t win the popular vote. Each Republican member of the House won the majority vote in his district and each Republican Senator won the majority vote in his state. Donald Trump won the popular vote in thirty of the fifty states and became President under our constitutional system, in spite of the fact that Hillary was elected “president of California”, giving her the national, and irrelevant, popular vote.
Still, Democrats in Congress have labeled Trump as “illegitimate” and attempted to obstruct all of President Trump’s cabinet nominees, an effort which has mostly failed for lack of Republican defectors. Now they have vowed to reject Trump’s nominee to fill the seat left empty on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch currently sitting on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is extraordinarily qualified with degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford. His colleagues and students at the University of Colorado School of Law attest to his stable demeanor and welcoming personality. Yet the Senate Democrats, petulant over the Republican controlled Senate’s refusal to hold hearings on Obama’s third Supreme Court nominee because he was in the last year of his presidency, vow to deny Judge Gorsuch the seat. Some want to keep the seat empty until the 2020 presidential election, hoping that a Democrat will replace Trump. Others are demanding that Trump nominate a “mainstream” judge which in this case is simply code for another Justice committed to the liberal litmus tests of unfettered abortion rights, pro-organized labor statutes, radical environmental regulations against private businesses, and open borders.
Neither of President Obama’s two appointments, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor fit the description of “mainstream” and both are reliably liberal votes. Neither was filibustered by Republican Senators during their confirmation processes and both won confirmation with Republican votes.
Adding to the hypocrisy of the Senate Democrats rejection attempt of Judge Gorsuch is the fact that he was unanimously approved (by voice vote) by Senate Democrats in 2006 for his seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Included in those Senators expressing their approval were then Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Biden and and current Minority Leader, Charles Schumer.
So now, unless Democrats in the Congress can put aside their anger at having lost the presidential election and control of both the House and Senate, and revisit the historical and stabilizing role of “ loyal opposition”, the political future for the American people looks bleak.
This concept does not require political acquiescence but it does require acceptance of legitimate political outcomes for the legislative and appointive process based on majority rule.
The political culture of the nation as a whole is also destined to be a culture of protest and anger with the prospect of escalating violence as extremist elements are emboldened and penetrate these demonstrations. The need for politically responsible leadership from high visibility Democrats who are now preaching hate and “resistance” to redefine political opposition as having a component of civility and respect for the political process is vital. Anything less portends the transition of the American democracy to the instability and tribal-like conflict so common in the Third World.