We’ve seen strong signs of a successful liberal coalition in the past couple of weeks, with multiple and varied protests against Trump’s Muslim ban. Efforts like this have to be narrowly focused, in order to bring in the largest number of supporters. It worked very well this time.
(Note: If you aren’t a regular follower of this blog, please read this post to understand how I’m using the word “liberal.” I’m using it in its original sense, from before it became associated with massive government power.)
The puzzle to me has been why the protests haven’t been even broader, to the point of making Trump a laughing stock even among the people who reluctantly voted for him. From my observation, most of the votes for him were very reluctant, yet there are still Trump signs up around where I live. Charles Sykes’ article, “Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying,” provides a lot of insight, as well as guidance on how to further build the opposition.
Sykes tells us, “All administrations lie, but what we are seeing here is an attack on credibility itself.” It’s explicit subjectivism, and “in that world, the leader becomes the only reliable source of truth.” The leader’s obvious lies don’t matter, when truth is just a matter of preference.
How should people who care about truth respond? “If we want to restore respect for facts and break through the intellectual ghettos on both the right and left, the mainstream media will have to be aggressive without being hysterical and adversarial without being unduly oppositional.”
That’s very important, and not just for big publishers. Some people, interested only in getting Democrats back into power, use denunciation as their main tactic. They claim everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. They declare that Republican Christians are fake Christians. They aren’t promoting respect for facts by doing that.
The liberal coalition has to pull people in, not drive them away. The huge majority of Americans should be opposing the power-mad buffoon in the White House, but they won’t if they see the opposition as their enemy. We can go back to fighting over other issues later. Right now the important thing is to prevent a major power grab from succeeding. Each individual can make a difference for worse or for better.