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Resistance: Where is the Democratic Party?

January 30, 2017


Yesterday I was among the thousands of people protesting outside of the White House against Trump’s order banning anyone from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. The previous weekend I had been among the millions around the country participating in the Women’s March. Both felt exhilarating, organic, and energizing to be a part of.

But they also felt leaderless.I keep wondering who is going to capture and channel this incredible energy and outrage and transform it into effective political action?  Where is the Democratic Party in all of this? A grassroots spontaneous movement can be a powerful thing, but if it remains a disorganized expression of anger it will dissipate and dissolve into futility.

Frankly, I think that Democratic leaders are missing in action, and I don’t understand this. The resistance to Trump and the Republican Party agenda is in the hands of a motley collection of organizations, groups, and individuals who are angry and eager to do something. We, the public, seem to recognize that we are now facing an existential threat to American democracy, but I’m not sure that the leadership of the Democratic party gets that. Why aren’t they showing up at these protests?

The Democrats’ performance in hearings for Trump’s cabinet nominees can best be described as wimpy. Take Ben Carson, for example, the spectacularly unqualified nominee for Housing and Urban Development.  Both Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren (!) voted for him in committee. What the fuck?!

The Senate confirmed John Kelly for Homeland Security by a vote of 88-11. They voted 96-4 to confirm Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the UN, despite her utter lack of experience in foreign policy or international relations.

This is a crucial week for the confirmation process.  For a full list of where things now stand on confirmations, click here. Call or write your senators and hold their feet to the fire.

I understand that Democrats need to pick their battles, and I get that voting against nominees when the Democrats are in the minority may just be symbolic. But symbols matter! Symbols can say where you stand more eloquently than any policy statement.

People like me are looking to the Democratic Party to lead the resistance to Trump because, frankly, we don’t know where else to look. So far, we’re not seeing much.

We are your base! We are ready to fight! Are you going to lead us or not?

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