Some people should not read this post.
I assume that approximately 0% of my regular readers (Sid and Doris Bonkers) are happy about Trump winning the US election, but it’s just about possible that I have a few USian readers who voted for Trump. If you’re one of them, and take offence at people disagreeing with you, I’d advise you not to read further in this post. I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s read anything I’ve written that Trump is as far from my political views as it’s possible to get, but just in case.
Second, don’t read this if you don’t want dispassionate-seeming analysis and advice. Note that this is *not* the same as actually dispassionate analysis — while I’m British, and so one might think I am insulated from the effects of Trump, I’m married to an American, and have spent literally the whole of the last twenty-four hours trying to comfort her. But the way *I* cope with stuff is to try desperately to find ways to fix things. This isn’t me being a cishet white dispassionate male saying “Oh, it would be fascinating if we tried…”, but rather me being an autistic hypersensitive person whose brain desperately tries to find ways out of what it perceives as traps.
(On the same token, this may read as Britsplaining, so just to be clear, this is a set of *suggestions* meant to help in case something hadn’t occurred. It is *not* me saying I understand your problems or the solutions better than you. I don’t. But if that kind of thing is likely to upset you, don’t read any further.)
OK, so with that out of the way… we have to accept that there will be some very bad things happening over the next few years in the US (and in the rest of the world because of the US). The question is what can be done to minimise the damage, and maximise the chances of recovery afterward.
So this is a set of suggestions from someone who’s been fairly involved in campaigning. Note that these are *suggestions*. A lot of the people who will be most affected by this election are in no position to do anything. DO NOT let me add any guilt or pressure to you.
First, if you have money, try to help people who are affected. Give to LGBT charities, to disability-rights charities, to charities helping PoC. The one charity I know will be useful (I don’t know too much about US-based organisations) is the ACLU. Also give to friends who need it, who are harmed by the incoming administration.
Second, if you have emotional energy, be there for your LGBT, PoC, disabled, or poor friends. I have little money to spare at the moment (though I hope my friends know that if that changes, I’ll do what I can if they need it), but if *anyone* needs someone to talk to about their fears or problems, I’ll be there.
Third, get involved in your local Democratic party, but do it intelligently. Clinton lost, in large part, because she’s an “establishment” figure — push for local candidates, at every level, who are to the left of the current Democratic establishment. What we’re seeing throughout the world at the moment is a completely reasonable hatred of the current political system, being channelled into right-wing populism. Vote and campaign for left populists. The ideal candidate would be someone like Michelle Obama, but with Elizabeth Warren’s politics. Find those people and push for them. Remember, it only took eight years for the far-right fringe to take complete control of the Republicans, based on *their* anger. Do the same for the Democrats.
(If you’re a centrist, who likes Clinton-style establishment Democrats — I’m sorry, but those candidates are not going to win any more. A push of the Democrats leftward will still only get them as far left as most mainstream social democratic parties in other parts of the world. Push left anyway, to win and get some of what you want.)
And finally, something important to remember — *if America had a functioning democracy, Trump would not have won*. I’m not saying Clinton would necessarily have won — part of having a functioning democracy would probably have involved it not coming down to a choice between the two most unpopular candidates in history — but someone other than Trump would.
Something to remember — the last time a non-incumbent Republican won the popular vote was in 1988. At *every* election since then, the Democrat won the popular vote, apart from 2004 — and in 2004 Bush’s vote had the smallest ever margin for a re-elected incumbent. The American *people* don’t vote Republican — the American *system* votes Republican. That’s a VERY important fact.
As an immediate patch for the system, push for your state, if it hasn’t already, to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This is a good chunk of the way to ensuring that the popular vote winner will be the electoral college winner, and it’s something that can be done without constitutional changes. As a longer-term goal, though, you want to get rid of the electoral college altogether, and ideally replace first past the post with a ranked voting system (what in the US is called IRV and in the UK AV).
More importantly, join the NAACP’s campaign to reinstate the Voting Rights Act. Several swing states have recently introduced horrific restrictions on voting. Those states have, as intended, had a lower turnout of voters of colour, and went for Trump as a result.
Also, support efforts to give felons back their voting rights after they have served their sentence — and also, every chance you get, vote to legalise or decriminalise drugs. Millions upon millions of people, a large majority of them black, are disenfranchised because of non-violent offences such as smoking cannabis. Many of these, again, are in swing states.
That’s just a short list. There are many more things you can do, including joining a union if possible for your job, writing to legislators, and so on. But everything should be devoted to trying to fix a system which pushes the nation’s legislature and executive far to the right of popular feeling.
Finally — Trump *will* fuck up, criminally. That’s what he does. Get out and vote in the mid-terms, turn the Senate Democratic, and then put pressure on them to impeach the fucker. It *may* be possible to get him out in as little as two years. I have no idea how much damage he will do in that time, but we need to minimise it.
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(NB this blog post was originally titled “don’t mourn, organise”, after the apocryphal last words of Joe Hill, but it’s been pointed out to me — entirely correctly — that a cishet white man should not be telling other people not to mourn right now. The wording wasn’t intended to be read that way, but it was not the right wording for the intention, and so I’ve changed it. This note is here because I don’t want to erase my errors, but to be accountable).