Election 2016

The Trump Election Is Looking Very Bad, Right? Brace Yourself, It Is Going to Get a Lot Worse

What AlterNet intends to do and what you can do to push back against this travesty of an election.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com

How bad is it going to get? What can we do about it?

Fasten your seat belts. Grit your teeth. We are headed into a dark, ugly, unprecedented era—the worst in our lifetimes. For those on the margins of society, it could be devastating.

This next period of our lives is going to call for all of us to rethink and redouble what we do in resistance. AlterNet intends to lead the way to keep you as informed as possible as things move forward.

Most of us are still reeling from this disastrous election. But a deeper malaise is sinking in as Trump brings in the worst possible people to fill key positions in government. It is a collection of individuals so far out of the mainstream as to make you gasp.

This is an effort to transform the United States into a new, reality-TV style, social media-obsessed, repressive, authoritarian state. The goal is to ignore and destabilize the normal checks and balances and push forward with ideas and plans that were never even on the table over the past 40 or more years.

Trump will be the macho strongman at the top who holds virtually all the power. It will be worse than, say, Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy, because the U.S. president has much more power to steamroll the country over the next four years.

To distract from his destruction, scraps will be thrown. As in all strongman models of government, Trump will focus on infrastructure and creating more jobs, which many believe is proof of Trump making America great. Trump’s team has promised that his administration will “make the trains run on time.” It’s not the first sign of Trump as potential heir to Mussolini.

You might think I’m being alarmist, but I don't think so. AlterNet was right about the emergence of the Tea Party. Back in February, I warned about Trump's potential and the media's failure based upon my long time tracking Trump both in New York and globally.

But you don't have to take my word about it. Consider a few of the ingredients of authoritarianism in the making:

  • Racists and anti-Semites appointed to top positions in the White House

  • Scapegoating of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, and the effort to push millions out of the U.S. and make the country whiter.

  • Racist attorney general—the top lawyer in the country—who will roll back civil rights at every turn

  • Powerful distribution of lies, misinformation and conspiracies spun by Trump, his top advisers, and a gaggle of savvy media disinformation masters including Roger Stone, Roger Ailes, Michael Savage, Matt Drudge and more

  • Right-wing, pro-aggression militaristic people in Defense Department, who will quickly bring us to the brink of war, spread fear about terrorism, and undertake massive increases in military spending

  • Trump family members central to running things, as is true in many kleptocracies and authoritarian states throughout history around the world

  • Alliances with Putin and numerous other right-wing and authoritarian leaders across the globe, especially in Europe

I could go on. There are many more examples.

One enormous problem is that many people will want to normalize Trumpism and pretend things aren’t so bad. That’s happening with the media who want access to Trump, the lobbyists and influence peddlers who want to make their money, and a long list of others.

Here’s what AlterNet intends to do. Click here if you want to help us.

  • We will make monitoring, debunking and pushing back on right-wing media and its conspiracy theories our top priority, as we did with yesterday's article about the Breitbart propaganda machine

  • We will invest in investigative work to clearly demonstrate the lack of science, faulty thinking and disinformation coming from the White House and the newly empowered right wing

  • We will be a constant source of information on what people can be doing—for example, our article today by Sarah Lazare about how we can all help to protect vulnerable communities of immigrants

  • And we will be clear that funding projects that protect people and fight for basic rights should be a priority. Some large establishment nonprofits already get plenty of money and they don't need the dough as much as the lesser-known organizations working at the grassroots, which we’ll highlight

We have to rethink what we do in our lives, and double down on our commitment. Here’s what we should each do on a personal level (with help from Robert Reich):

  • March and demonstrate, in a coordinated, well-managed way. The Women's March on Washington is already scheduled for the day after the inauguration. There will be sister marches around the country, in New York City, Los Angeles and more. Get involved in planning or spearheading more targeted protests to keep the momentum alive and keep the message going.

  • Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts—everything. Boycott stores (like Nordstrom) that carry merchandise from Trump family brands. Don’t buy products or services from companies founded or led by supporters of Trump.

  • Write letters to editors and op-eds to partake in a national letter-writing campaign involving people from all over the country, from celebrities to sports heroes to grassroots Americans. In most papers, the letters to the editor section is the most-read part of the paper. Also maintain a steady flow of arguments in op-eds about the fallacies and dangers of Trump’s First 100 Day policies and initiatives, from name-brand thinkers and doers to ordinary citizens.

  • Commit civil disobedience. There may come a time, very soon, when it will be necessary to put bodies on the line in protest and face some time in jail. Of course, not everyone can do this, and those who do are heroes. It is never too early to think about what may be necessary.

And, of course, we want your support. If you are already a supporter, we hope you’ll step up your support. In the face of what we are up against, everyone who cares about the future may have to dig deeper. Please give what you can—this is a fight we are currently losing. If we don't fight back right away, it will be too late.

Don Hazen is the former executive editor of AlterNet.

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