The judiciary, legislative and media have all helped keep Trump in check. But its the residents of the United States whose response will matter most in the end
In this moment, populist intervention is everything, not as hate and attack but as an expression of popular will and power. Or as love, since we defend what we love. It is an extraordinary moment, an all-hands-on-deck emergency in which new groups and coalitions are emerging along with unforeseen capacities in many people who didnt previously think they were activists. It is saturated with possibility, as well as with danger.
Of course there are also people residing in the US who love the dismantling of healthcare, education, environmental protection and the bill of rights, but they are an increasingly small minority. The most recent Gallup poll found nearly twice as many people 60% disapprove of the president than approve (36%).
The graph shows a growing chasm between the minority that approves and the rest of us, and nearly half the public likes the idea of impeachment. Republican approval of the direction the country is going fell an unprecedented 17% in a month, according to a new Gallup poll.
People who dont like democracy and civil rights dont think what the public thinks matters; that includes the Trump administration, which seems to have thought that power would be inherent in the presidency, rather than dependent on honoring relationships with institutions, allies, with rules and laws. What the public thinks matters, if we turn thoughts into actions.
The great conundrum of this crisis is that if people believe that they have the power to change this nations destiny, they will act; and if they dont they wont. Like many other prophecies, this one is self-fulfilling either way. I believe we have the capacity to limit the damage or even bring down the Trump administration through nonviolent resistance and good organizing, and I see extraordinary things happening in this moment.
We are off to a good start. After all this is an administration that has been stymied at almost every turn, unable to kill off Obamacare in its first five months, or build a wall on the Mexican border, or cancel sanctions against Russia, or pass almost any significant legislation, an administration harried by an investigation into its possible collusion to corrupt an election and serve a foreign power.
The resistance is an oft-used shorthand for all the forms of opposition, though many of them are institutions the judiciary, the states, cities that would probably not embrace the term. But they are opposing, overturning and interfering. In several cases this spring, state courts and the supreme court have ruled against gerrymandering and other forms of discrimination against voters of color and voting rights.
The ninth circuit court ruled against the travel ban this week, one of several interventions against it in the courts. And 17 state attorney generals filed an amicus brief with the supreme court against the ban. Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit this week accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clauses by accepting foreign income through his businesses, the subject of myriad lawsuits and complaints filed by Crew (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington).
On 12 June, a judge granted a temporary reprieve to Dreamer Jessica Colotl, whose deportation protection had been revoked. More than 2,000 mayors, governors, college presidents, and other leaders have signed a pledge to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.
Democrats in the legislative branch of government have been mocking Trump, from the proposed Covfefe Act (its an acronym for Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement, but also a joke about a peculiar tweet of Trumps including that word, or nonword) that would ban him from deleting tweets on the grounds that theyre presidential records, to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumers videotaped parody of Trumps cabinet meeting in which all members dutifully praised him. (Writer JK Rowling called Trump out for his pettily vindictive response to killings in London. Even Smirmoff Vodka got a dig in with an ad that said wed be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath.)
Senator Kamala Harris has gone after attorney general Jeff Sessions hard (despite male senators who keep trying to hush her up). Congresswoman Maxine Waters is demanding impeachment. And Congress is holding hearings about the Trump administrations relationship with the Russian government and its coverups.