Don Beyer: What Can You Do About Trump?

It’s a good question because in almost every meeting that I’m part of, people are crying out saying, "What can I do?" I was at a little dinner last night with a bunch of guys my age — my history book club — and even these guys were asking, "What can we do?"

It’s been very difficult to come up with concrete answers. I try to answer at least three ways . . .

How to lose a constitutional democracy

Democratic backsliding is far less rare than political scientists used to believe. In a recent academic paper, we identified 37 instances in 25 different countries in the postwar period in which democratic quality declined significantly (though a fully authoritarian regime didn’t emerge). That is, roughly one out of eight countries experienced measurable decay in the quality of their democratic institutions. 

Scholars used to argue that democracy, once attained in a fairly wealthy state, would become a permanent fixture. As the late Juan Linz put it, democracy would become “the only game in town.” That belief turned out to be merely hopeful, not a reality.

Read the full Vox article here.

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained

Conway’s talent for surviving tough interviews is hard to deny. But it’s that same talent that should raise questions about whether interviewing her is a worthwhile journalistic practice at all. 

“Once she has decided not to give meaningful answers to questions, there is no way to have successful interview by traditional measures. There’s only gradations of failure, only gradations of non-answers.”

View the full Vox video here.


To find out who are the key Democrat leaders in the 115th U.S. Congress and the positions they hold, please download this organization chart that was distributed at our Political Wine.

What We’re Fighting For

From our founding we have made these kinds of moral demands of our soldiers. It starts with the oath they swear to support and defend the Constitution, an oath made not to a flag, or to a piece of ground, or to an ethnically distinct people, but to a set of principles established in our founding documents. An oath that demands a commitment to democracy, to liberty, to the rule of law and to the self-evident equality of all men. The Marines I knew fought, and some of them died, for these principles.

That’s why those Marines were trained to care for their enemy. That’s why another Marine gave his own blood to an insurgent. Because America is an idea as much as a country, and so those acts defend America as surely as any act of violence, because they embody that idea. That nurse, in the quiet, alone with that insurgent, with no one looking as he cared for his patient. That was an act of war.

Read the full NY Times article here.

This veterans’ group just debuted a show-stopping ad directly addressing Donald Trump

Look, you lost the popular vote. You’re having trouble drawing a crowd. And your approval rating keeps sinking. But kicking thousands of my fellow veterans off their health insurance by killing the Affordable Care Act and banning Muslims won’t help. That’s not the America I sacrificed for.

View the full VoteVets video ad here.

Avoiding the Perils of Resistance Fatigue

Not every protest or action will garner positive or immediate results—and that’s fine.  It’s the way things work.  Never let any perceived failures impact future engagement negatively, use them as motivation.   Remember the precipitating factors behind your actions, those are what matters.  Civic action is more of a marathon than a sprint; it’s about setting things in motion and making noise.  You are on hold listening to mind-numbing Muzak waiting to speak with a representative’s staffer for a reason.  You are spending your weekend on the streets chanting, jello-armed with a sign above your head for a reason.  And that reason should supersede everything. You may be lucky enough to not be directly impacted by the laws and practices you’re fighting, but many people are.  Think about the people you’re fighting for and stay angry.

Read the full Huffington Post article here.

Face à Trump, les démocrates de France entre thérapie collective et optimisme forcené

Check out how DAF (Jonathon HOLLER, Constance BORDE, & Curtis YOUNG) represented our voice in the French media:

La voix empreinte d’une invariable sincérité, le militant conclut : « Je suis optimiste mais pas aveugle. Une forme de coup d’Etat est en cours, l’entourage de Trump comme les Stephen Bannon et Kellyanne Conway incitent à l’inquiétude. Mais une fois que l’on dit cela, que fait-on ? Nous devons relever la tête, nous devons retrouver une stratégie, renouer avec les jeunes, nous organiser avec les femmes. La partie n’est pas finie, le proverbe ne dit-il pas que l’heure la plus sombre est celle qui précède le lever du soleil ? » Effectivement.

Executive Actions Versus Executive Orders

Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But many executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.

The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.

Read the full About News article here.

Lest We Forget

Donald Trump did us a favor, because he shows us how active and significant white supremacy is in this country. I mean, we needed to know it. We needed to see it. We needed to punch a hole in the mythology of post-racialism, because we need to deal with it. I mean, we think about an oncologist — we don’t want our oncologist telling us a little lie that we don’t really have cancer.

Video the full Moyers & Company video here.