The election of Donald Trump is the worst disaster America has experienced in my lifetime. This blog is my attempt to come to grips with what has happened, and to chart a way forward. Our actions should be guided by steady strategy rather than knee-jerk reaction to the chaos that Trump generates and thrives on. My main strategic goal is to defeat Trump in 2020, unless it is possible to remove him from office (by lawful means) before then. I break this overarching goal into two key elements:
- First and foremost, we need a fair and free election in 2020. This requires preserving the Constitution, protecting free speech and minimizing voter suppression.
- Equally important, we need to empower the Democratic Party to field a candidate who will attract a safe majority of Electoral votes.
Neither of these goals will be easy to accomplish, and I’m not sure they are possible. But without them America will enter a dark and terrible era that we must do everything in our power to avert.
We should also oppose bad policies whenever they are put forward, and seek to protect people who are in danger of harm. We must accept, however, the fact that our power in the current situation is limited, and may not suffice to prevent tremendous damage over the next four (plus?!??) years. We must not let the relentless stream of stupidity and brutality distract us from the necessity of defeating Trump in 2020.
“What is to be Done?” in Russian “Что делать?, or “Chto delat’?” is the title of a political pamphlet by Lenin proposing that the party serve as the “vanguard of the proletariat.” Lenin took the title from an 1863 novel by Nicolay Chernyshevsky proposing a way for the peasants to move towards socialism without passing through a capitalist phase. Leo Tolstoy wrote a different What Is to Be Done?, published in 1886, based on his own ideas of moral responsibility. All these titles seem to be inspired by Luke 3:10-11, where people ask John the Baptist “Then what shall we do?” and he answers “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” I am neither Christian, nor Russian, nor a Communist. I chose “What is to be Done?” simply because it implies a critical situation in which we must decide how to act.