Trump, Comey and 2018

The firing of Director Comey and the subsequent shit storm that has followed has been a huge PR blunder born of the authoritarian self-assurance that only a wealthy, disconnected CEO can possess. What’s even worse, depending on your political leanings, is that this debacle seems poised to make Congress impotent in pushing a Republican legislative agenda before the 2018 midterms.

On the Senate side of things, it would be inconsequential even if the Democrats managed to win the 7 Republican seats up for reelection. However, the House seems to be a place where they could in theory make a comeback. Doing so would probably result in a legislative gridlock, something Congress is famous for, that would create yet another hurtle for the Trump Administration.

If I had to advise a Republican facing an uncertain reelection bid, I would tell them to just stay silent about the Russia investigation. It doesn’t look like it is going to be resolved anytime soon and the opinions surrounding it are too volatile to keep from alienating part of their constituency. Unfortunately, Republican’s don’t have any big legislative wins to run on either. The first incarnation of Trumpcare was quickly killed by the libertarian Freedom Caucus while the second draft, although it has already passed the House, faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Democrats need to push their advantage. It’s not going to be enough in 2018 or even in 2020 to just point a finger at the White House and screech about every scandal and alternative fact. They need to begin discussing with the public an alternative agenda that addresses the concerns of working class Americans and is more palatable than Clinton 2016. Carly Fiorina’s–yes, I know she’s a Republican–demon sheep ad was undoubtedly effective, political discourse can’t just center around how bad the other guy is. Hopefully last year’s defeat proved that to the Democratic establishment.

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The Folly of Protesting for the Sake of Protesting

College campuses around the nation seem to be seething over with despair and frustration. Nearly everywhere student organizations are banding together to display their angst for the world to see.

My own peers hosted a protest just about two weeks ago. One of the organizers and speakers asked if I would show my support. My first question was ‘What exactly is this protest against?’ His response…’Love Trump’s hate.’ This quickly solicited a whole host of follow up questions and subtle critiques.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am concerned with the social and political ramifications of Trump’s ideology, but these protests that are seemingly against nothing need to stop. The fact of the matter is, as unfortunate as we may find it, Trump is going to take office come January. We should actually all be wishing him good health and what not because Pence far more reminiscent of Emperor Palpatine than our orange commander-in-chief, but I digress.

One of my favorite academic writers, Guy Standing, has a wonderful quote in his paper The Precariat and Class Struggle in which he describes the emergence of a new social class, the precariat, that I fear many of us will find ourselves a part of.

“The flames of struggle quickly expire in futile days of protest if all the struggle is about is being against what is happening.”

If a protest does not have a clear list of concerns and demands then it is going to fail. Movements cannot be sustained by vague mission statements not to mention the kind of perception generated in the public when confronted with protests of this nature.

I am not derailing protesting in general. It is our right and sometimes even our duty to so. What I am asking is that we only protest when our goal is clear. My fear is that by the time Millennials and Precarians mature and develop plans to address our real, growing concerns, the public will have already written us off. Protesting without a goal this early in the game is a disservice to our greater, formulating cause.