Day two of Trump’s America has started and we’re ready for change. Protests have spread through cities across America and celebrities are reminding us to fight:
I am scared. I will fight. Trump will not crush my spirit. Hope fuels the fire in my belly to seek the change I want to see in this country
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) November 9, 2016
Do not sit still. Do not weep. MOVE. We are not a nation that will let HATE lead us.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) November 9, 2016
You know what we do now? We finish building what we started and we FIGHT BACK! Lift your heads up brothers and sisters.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 9, 2016
It’s great to be a celebrity. You can be poetic and inspiring without actually having to do anything. You can black out your Twitter page or encourage people to hit the streets, but once you’re done “fighting” for the celebrities of the world, what’re you actually going to do?
Let’s be honest. Starting fires, throwing bricks at the cops, or pretending like #CalExit will ever fucking happen, is not the kind of fight anyone should be waging. You can argue that you want to make sure your voice is heard and I agree. Hell, I’m on your side. But come at me with #CalExit and I’m gonna tune you out.
Everyone’s fears of a Trump presidency are well-founded. He’s emboldened a segment of our country that should never be encouraged and they feel empowered now to say and act in a way that is not welcome in a modern society.
So when you’re ready, let’s talk about a practical way forward.
Presidents Are Never What We Hoped For
I think people have forgotten about one of the greatest American pastimes: shitting on the president.
We love Obama now because we see what’s coming after him. But for every Affordable Care Act and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, there is the institutionalization of the drone program that has killed hundreds of innocent people and his assault on the press through record-setting FOIA request denials and his “Insider Threat Program” that does nothing to protect whistleblowers. But that’s just the start. We say that we fear what Trump will do to the press and freedom of speech, well most likely he’ll continue Obama’s work.
See what I did? I shit on our president and I voted for the guy twice. I voted for Hillary with the full understanding that around February I’d shit on her when she inevitably disappointed me. Every president sucks. We love Abraham Lincoln because of the 13th amendment but we ignore his treatment of Native Americans and the fact that he took over two newspapers after misprinting a letter purported to be from him.
The only president who we can’t be for sure sucked was William Henry Harrison and that’s only because he died a month after taking the oath. But fuck that guy. I guarantee he would’ve sucked too.
Trump won. It’s terrible. It really fucking sucks and while he’s in office, we’re going to hate a lot of things that he does and says. We’re all scared of what Trump will do in four or eight years. But the reality is, we can easily limit his power and impact in two short years.
How, you ask? Well, the motherfucking mid-terms, that’s how.
Mid-Term Elections Can Lead to Change
The president is the sexy job. The one we all turn out to vote for because in our minds the president is the top of the pyramid. He’s the one calling the shots. He’s the one with “the codes.”
Let’s just call bullshit on all that already. The president and the presidency aren’t that powerful. How much was Obama able to accomplish? Some. But not nearly what he wanted, nowhere near what he promised, and not without a lot of compromises. Presidents don’t have the powers we think they do. They make promises in campaigns that they can never fulfill. And you know why they don’t accomplish half the shit they promise? Because they can’t. Not without the help of congress.
You want to know who runs our country? It’s the 538 assholes in the senate and the house of representatives.
When Obama was elected in 2008, he was joined by a Democratic majority in the house and after a series of events, a filibuster-proof majority in the senate for a brief four-month stint in 2009. In that period of time, the Affordable Care Act was passed. It was passed because of the 60 Dems in the senate and the Dem majority in the house. That’s probably the only reason it passed.
Right now, Trump is heading to office with a slim majority in the senate and a slim majority in the house. He has the backing of congress, but it’s not filibuster proof. Some of his crazy ideas are going to get through. That’s the reality.
But in 2018, there is going to be another election. We in the biz call it the mid-terms. The turnout for the mid-terms is always dismal because people only care about the presidency. Because, like I said, we seem to think it’s the only job that matters. Well, it doesn’t! The president is nothing without congress.
The mid-terms are great because every two years we have to re-elect every representative in the house and a third of the senate. You know what we could do in 2018 if we actually got the vote out this time? We could take over both houses of congress. Trump will be neutered in the second half of his term. Then we ride it out for two years and vote for someone else in 2020. Not Kanye. Don’t come at me with fucking Kanye. If you think we’ve hit rock bottom, imagine a debate between Kanye West and Donald Trump. No seriously, stop reading, sit back and imagine it. It’s funny, I’ll give you that, but it’s terrifying and a true indicator that America is done.
Now Let’s Get Practical About Change
We have two years to flip congress. So what are these practical steps?
- Move your protests off the streets. Put away your Mazel Tov Cocktails. Come inside and start the work.
- Look at your representative or senator. Is your senator up for reelection in 2018? If you think your representative is the right person to fight against a Trump presidency, then volunteer for them. Donate to them. Campaign for them over the next two years. Same with your senator.
- If they are part of the problem, then find a new candidate. Some districts have been either red or blue for so long, that Democrats and Republicans don’t even attempt to run one of their candidates against the incumbent because it’s a waste of money. Well, if you find that your representative is never challenged and they are going to be complicit in Trump’s America, then find a new candidate. You may not get any backing from the Democratic party but who cares. Now’s the time for a movement. Run an independent candidate that has a chance of winning. Don’t look to the Green Party or the Libertarian Party. Just look for a person that represents you and the change your community needs.
- Now you have a candidate. So volunteer for them. Donate to them. Talk about them all the time. Work with groups like Vote Riders that help people struggling with voter registration denials. Get out the fucking vote.
- Shut up about the popular vote and the electoral college. It’s an old debate with valid arguments on both sides. You have benefited from it before and been fucked by it before. Changing it is tougher than going out to vote.
- Finally, for the next two years, remember why we failed this time: we’re lazy assholes that didn’t vote. We think a protest vote is something to be proud of. In two years we’re going to be called on again. If you want to see change, if you want Trump out, then you’re going to have to get off your ass and vote. No excuses. The only reason we’ll have to suffer through four years of Trump is if we don’t make a change in the mid-terms.
Just as the world changed with this vote, we can easily change it again by flipping the senate and the house. We could get a filibuster proof senate and a majority in the house. And nothing he will do will ever pass.
Now, who has ideas on how we’re going to keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy alive for four more years.