The problem is not Trump, it’s Trumpism. It’s not one man, but the tens of millions who support him. If you dare not say that for fear of offending them, you also will not address the root causes of this societal disease. That’s where our work must be done.
Those causes begin with alienation, fear, frustration, and anxiety. Those problems are exacerbated both by inherent prejudice and by the license to hate given by Trump, the GOP, Evangelical Ministers and Fox News and the rest of the right wing grievance amplification machine.
What is different in the America of Trump is that hate has not only become more permissible in public, it is that grievance machine has turned it into a bond among the disaffected, a rallying cry. It is no longer left vs. right in America.
It is the changing demographic & economic realities of 21st C. America vs. the far white. Racism has deep roots here but we can only expect it to get worse during the years ahead as we move toward a new reality a quarter century from now of being a minority majority country.
We must prepare for that and indeed, we must recognize these coming changes for what they are–a realization of the promise of America, a strengthening of our country through diversity. But we also need to address as many of those other root cause issues as we can.
Alienation comes from growing inequality in our society and the concentration of hugely disproportionate power in the hands of the few. Fear comes from lying awake at night wondering if a job will be lost to progress or new markets or to the new people in town.
Frustration comes from a Washington that is hugely dysfunctional and profoundly corrupt…from self-dealing leaders whose promises, like Trumps to his “base, are not only never fulfilled, they are actually lies hiding further abuses to come.
Anxiety comes when all these things lead to economic and social fragility as a permanent, worsening state of mind. Most Americans would be bankrupted by a minor illness, a bad toothache. Fewer and fewer believe that the future will be better for their children.
The majority among us are ill-prepared for retirement and actually fear living longer lives because what those lives promise is not joy or hope but deepening poverty. These are big, deep problems. Indeed they have been worsening for 40 years in America.
Democrats and Republicans both have made them worse. But the answers to these problems and others that feed our divide and the rise of Trumpism are clear. We need to provide the education people need at affordable costs.
We need to pay teachers enough that the best and brightest are drawn to help prepare new generations for new challenges. We need to ensure everyone has healthcare as a right and no one fears medical bankruptcy due to an accident or needing costly medications.
We need to rebuild our infrastructure and retool our workforce for the next century. We need to reboot our tax structure so the richest and big companies pay their share and government resources serve the people and not just big government contractors.
We need campaign finance reform that removes the control of the government from the hands of the 1% and special interests like the NRA and the fossil fuel lobbies. We need to protect the environment in which our children will live. None of this is radical. All is doable.
Indeed, all is already support by bi-partisan majorities of our population. Serving that bi-partisan majority, that New American Majority, not only makes sound political sense, but it will help fix what is broken in America…in the way democracy intended it to.
This shift will put many at risk. Not just Trump and his cronies but Mitch McConnell and the massive establishment behind them. They will fight. But this time they may well lose because they have so destroyed their own credibility and so revealed their own vileness.
It can be done. But it cannot be done simply by defeating Trump. That is not enough. He is a symptom not the disease. If he goes and these core problems and the far white establishment remains, we will only get worse in the years to come.
That is why the job of work for Democrats and for the country right now is more sweeping than merely beating the most corrupt, despicable, incompetent, disloyal president in U.S. history. That truly is the easy part. It is not to be minimized. But it cannot be the only goal.
The real job is making 2020 a watershed election when it is not Democrats vs. Trump, but a new majority seeking to set us on a new course for the 21st Century, to address deep seated problems w/common sense solutions and to end up with a future that is even better than our past.