My 350 on Donald Trump: 12 gifts from Trump to progressives

“Gift 5: For progressives, it means that they can more adamantly and unabashedly demand ‘greater good’ candidates from their parties.”

Ahmed R Teleb
16 November 2016

There is a silver lining from last week’s elections for progressives. How so?

1. People (can) matter more than money. Hillary Clinton raised more money than any candidate in the history of elections: she still lost to Trump’s populist appeal. 

2. The media is not all powerful. The corporate media nearly unanimously united behind Clinton for the last several months of the campaign, but failed. Either Americans reflexively distrust what they see, hear, or read on CNN/Fox, NPR/AM radio, the Washington Post/USA Today, or they make their own judgments on issues. Either one is a small victory for progressives whose causes are often opposed by corporate and mainstream media.

3. The people are now skeptical about polls. Often cited like holy scripture by journalists of many different camps, the fact that the fallibility of polls can no longer be hidden is also a victory for democracy. 

4. Transparency and authenticity matter. Like it or not Trump appeared as the more authentic, unscripted candidate and it mattered. Genuine, credible candidates like Bernie Sanders will be more likely to be on major party tickets.

5. The lesser evil (665) is not good enough. Many progressives feel that the country has been stuck in what might be called “665 politics” as Eyal Weizman once put it, that is, the politics of lesser evils. The very fact that neither candidate won the popular vote by any meaningful margin, shows us that you cannot build a campaign based on this alone. For progressives, it means that they can more adamantly and unabashedly demand “greater good” candidates from their parties.

6. Race resentment and prejudice is now unconcealed. Just as children learn their multiplication tables, they should learn not only about slavery, but Jim Crow, race covenants, redlining, “urban renewal,” and other racist government policy that happened throughout the country. American Civics education needs an overhaul and we have now heard the alarm bell.

7. People want to be heard, not lectured to by elites. This is really a consequence of (2) above. In the future, should the media and elites collude against a strong progressive candidate, who connects with the masses and increases voter turn out, that candidate will probably be immune from elite attacks. 

8. Americans do not like cheaters. Correctly or not, a good part of the public thought that the DNC rigged the primary to favor Clinton. The people spoke, either by not voting, or by voting for Trump, Johnson, or Stein. They do not like those who do not play by the rules.

9. Right now people want change, not the status quo. This is welcome news for progressives who want to make bold moves on inequality, climate change, and peace.

10. Democratic party is now ready to clean house. And it seems they are starting. In the last few days, Bernie Sanders followed by Harry Reid made the bold move of endorsing Rep. Keith Ellison for DNC chair as a full time position. Ellison is a progressive grassroots icon who also happens to be African American, from Detroit, and is the first Muslim member of Congress. He had an impeccable reputation as a “people’s lawyer” before running for office. It has not even been a week yet, and the Democratic grassroots is gaining ground. This surely bodes well for progressives within and without the party. 

11. Trump is already backtracking on many of his campaign promises. Over the past week, we have seen him revise his stance on the Affordable Care Act. He has also backpedalled on gay marriage, saying that the Supreme Court’s ruling is “fine” and “law of the land.” 

12. He may serve as a non-ideological counterweight within the Republican Party itself. One of his campaign promises that he is still sticking with is a “yuuge” infrastructure spending project to put people back to work and to modernize the transportation system. Another surprising silver lining is that Trump want less overseas military involvement, especially in Europe and the Mideast.

For the longer original version see A.R.Teleb's blog, Fila Sophia here.

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