In “Patriotic Opposition to Donald Trump” Mr. Blow says you may have been on the losing side of the election, but you are on the right side of history. In “The Tainted Election” Prof. Krugman discusses coming to grips with illegitimacy. Here’s Mr. Blow:
Nothing is safe or sacrosanct in Donald Trump’s developing governance team, and America had better start being alarmed about it and moving to actively oppose it.
The time for voting has elapsed, but the time for being vocal has emerged.
Let’s take the tally:
He has chosen a man hostile to immigrants and with a complicated — to put it mildly — history on race to be attorney general.
He has chosen a man who is anti-abortion, pro-fetal “personhood,” and anti-Obamacare to be secretary of health and human services.
He has chosen a man who has criticized paid sick-leave policies and opposes increasing the federal minimum wage to lead the Department of Labor.
He has chosen a climate change denier and anti-environmental-regulation crusader to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
He has chosen a vocal proponent of school vouchers to run the Department of Education.
In a way, Trump seems to be trying to destroy these agencies from the inside out, the way a worm slowly devours an apple.
Furthermore, he is stacking these jobs with people who have given him cash. According to The Washington Post:
“President-elect Donald Trump has now tapped six big donors and fund-raisers to serve in his administration, lining up an unprecedented concentration of wealthy backers for top posts. Together with their families, Trump’s nominees gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign filings.”
Trump’s defense: “I want people that made a fortune!”
And, just as the C.I.A. was asserting that Russia meddled in our election specifically to provide succor to this sap, reports emerged that Trump’s likely pick for secretary of state is Exxon’s chief executive, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin. Daddy Warbucks is hellbent on appeasing Mother Russia.
Angry yet? Yes. Good!
And understand this: You are not alone; you aren’t even in the minority.
A Pew Research Center report published last week found:
“Trump also receives low marks for his initial cabinet choices and other high level appointments. By 51 percent to 40 percent, more say they disapprove than approve of the cabinet choices and appointments Trump has made so far. In contrast, majorities approved of the choices made” by the past four presidents-elect. “In fact, approval ratings for Trump’s cabinet choices are 18 points lower than for the next lowest-rated president-elect.”
Furthermore, the report found:
“Just 37 percent of the public views Trump as well-qualified; 32 percent of registered voters described Trump as well-qualified in October. Majorities continue to say Trump is reckless (65 percent) and has poor judgment (62 percent), while 68 percent describe him as ‘hard to like.’”
Since the election I have heard from more people than I can count who express fear and anxiety about Trump and the future of the country. There is a stifling sense of discontent and foreboding and apprehension.
I know that it can feel like we are all drowning in a deluge of compounding outrages, with every headline about this impending administration appearing to one-up the last, but take heart.
You may have been on the losing side of this year’s election, but you are on the right side of history. In the final tally, courage will always defeat fear; love will always conquer hate; the beautiful diversity of America, and indeed all of humanity, will always outshine the darkness of racial enmity.
This is the reason I write, to remind people of honor and courage; to tell them that their cause isn’t lost, that their destiny is victory.
Maybe I am confined by my craft, pumping out polemics that, it is my great hope, help to stiffen the spines and lift the spirits of those determined to stare down the threat. Language, in that way, holds the possibility of transcendence and conscription. One of the first and most essential ways to mobilize around a cause is to establish its moral framing.
In a 1780 letter written to a fellow revolutionary considering “retiring into private life,” staunch abolitionist Samuel Adams — a man strongly opposed to slavery and therefore one of my favorite founders — wrote:
“If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing of solid Security.
There is no other time to which this could apply more perfectly than now. This is not the time for the “retiring” of “experiencd patriots.” A “vain and aspiring” man now possesses the highest seat in government and the administration of the government is on the verge of becoming a farce.
America needs you … now. Speak up.
And now here’s Prof. Krugman:
The C.I.A., according to The Washington Post, has now determined that hackers working for the Russian government worked to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump. This has actually been obvious for months, but the agency was reluctant to state that conclusion before the election out of fear that it would be seen as taking a political role.
Meanwhile, the F.B.I. went public 10 days before the election, dominating headlines and TV coverage across the country with a letter strongly implying that it might be about to find damning new evidence against Hillary Clinton — when it turned out, literally, to have found nothing at all.
Did the combination of Russian and F.B.I. intervention swing the election? Yes. Mrs. Clinton lost three states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – by less than a percentage point, and Florida by only slightly more. If she had won any three of those states, she would be president-elect. Is there any reasonable doubt that Putin/Comey made the difference?
And it wouldn’t have been seen as a marginal victory, either. Even as it was, Mrs. Clinton received almost three million more votes than her opponent, giving her a popular margin close to that of George W. Bush in 2004.
So this was a tainted election. It was not, as far as we can tell, stolen in the sense that votes were counted wrong, and the result won’t be overturned. But the result was nonetheless illegitimate in important ways; the victor was rejected by the public, and won the Electoral College only thanks to foreign intervention and grotesquely inappropriate, partisan behavior on the part of domestic law enforcement.
The question now is what to do with that horrifying knowledge in the months and years ahead.
One could, I suppose, appeal to the president-elect to act as a healer, to conduct himself in a way that respects the majority of Americans who voted against him and the fragility of his Electoral College victory. Yeah, right. What we’re actually getting are wild claims that millions of people voted illegally, false assertions of a landslide, and denigration of the intelligence agencies.
Another course of action, which you’ll see many in the news media taking, is to normalize the incoming administration, basically to pretend that everything is O.K. This might — might — be justified if there were any prospect of responsible, restrained behavior on the part of the next president. In reality, however, it’s clear that Mr. Trump — whose personal conflicts of interest are unprecedented, and quite possibly unconstitutional — intends to move U.S. policy radically away from the preferences of most Americans, including a pronounced pro-Russian shift in foreign policy.
In other words, nothing that happened on Election Day or is happening now is normal. Democratic norms have been and continue to be violated, and anyone who refuses to acknowledge this reality is, in effect, complicit in the degradation of our republic. This president will have a lot of legal authority, which must be respected. But beyond that, nothing: he doesn’t deserve deference, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.
And when, as you know will happen, the administration begins treating criticism as unpatriotic, the answer should be: You have to be kidding. Mr. Trump is, by all indications, the Siberian candidate, installed with the help of and remarkably deferential to a hostile foreign power. And his critics are the people who lack patriotism?
Will acknowledging the taint on the incoming administration do any good? Maybe it will stir the consciences of at least a few Republicans. Remember, many, though not all, of the things Mr. Trump will try to do can be blocked by just three Republican senators.
Politics being what it is, moral backbones on Capitol Hill will be stiffened if there are clear signs that the public is outraged by what is happening. And there will be a chance to make that outrage felt directly in two years — not just in congressional elections, but in votes that will determine control of many state governments.
Now, outrage over the tainted election past can’t be the whole of opposition politics. It will also be crucial to maintain the heat over actual policies. Everything we’ve seen so far says that Mr. Trump is going to utterly betray the interests of the white working-class voters who were his most enthusiastic supporters, stripping them of health care and retirement security, and this betrayal should be highlighted.
But we ought to be able to look both forward and back, to criticize both the way Mr. Trump gained power and the way he uses it. Personally, I’m still figuring out how to keep my anger simmering — letting it boil over won’t do any good, but it shouldn’t be allowed to cool. This election was an outrage, and we should never forget it.