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Is Resistance Politics Sustainable?

CC image from Truthout.org via flickr

Progressive voters who are very unhappy with our current President’s executive orders, cabinets appointments, policies, proposed budget and behavior have loosely organized in resistance for marches, calls and letter writing campaigns to elected officials. But are these resistance efforts sustainable and effective in changing the current conservative direction our nation is moving?

Our U. S. House Representative Doug LaMalfa for California District 1 was re-elected in 2016 with an overwhelming Republican majority. He probably views his political situation as secure and he proudly votes the party line. My personal opinion is that his political views are so intractably conservative that it is a waste of time to call or write letters in an attempt to persuade him to consider more progressive positions.

Most observers think that impeachment of our current President any time soon is not likely because of the House Republican majority. Replacing our current President with Vice President Pence is problematic as it would not likely impede implementation of the radical Republican agenda – only changing the composition of the House of Representatives and Senate would do that.

Robert Reich offers “If our current President’s poll numbers continue to plummet—particularly among Republicans and Independents—22 House Republicans may well decide their chances for being reelected in 2018 are better if they abandon him before the 2018 midterms.”

Nathan L. Gonzales says 19 House Races Shift Toward DemocratsRoll Call’s interactive 2018 Election U. S. Map Guide shows 202 solid and continuing Republicans out of 237 existing House Republicans and 180 solid and continuing Democrats our of 193 current House Democrats. Put another way, by Daniel Gonzales of Inside Elections, House Republicans have 39 seats in play vs. House Democrats who have 14 seats in play.

Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro says that the fundamental problem facing both Republicans and Democrats is that, while they know what they’re against, they “are having a hard time figuring out exactly what they’re for.”  “The candidate and party with a simple, compelling and consistent economic message that empowers people is the side that usually wins. No matter what polling may say about the efficacy of a positive message at any given time, we need to give voters a reason to be FOR us.”

Naomi Klein in her book No is Not Enough (just released June 13, 2917) argues, “we need to offer not just resistance to our President’s agenda, but a ‘yes’ — a clear vision of the better world we want to build, and how to get there.” She offers “a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us — one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need.”


“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn

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