Right now, Jonah and I are stuck in traffic outside of Newark. We dropped off Ian and Steve at the airport where they’ll be flying to North Carolina to visit his parents. Jonah and I are driving north to visit more schools. I’m typing this with two thumbs on my cell phone. Please excuse crappy writing.
We have a new president. And whatever you think about his politics, I think we can all agree that he has very little political experience. Actually, he has no experience. Zero. He runs a business, and businesses are not democracies. CEOs get to do what they want to do. Trump in his rallies has given every indication that he expects to run the country in the same way as he runs his company.
I have no doubt that certain groups of Americans are going to have worse lives as a result of a Trump presidency. There will be more restrictions on immigration. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires, it will be hard to get an abortion in two or three states. There won’t be any new programs for people with disabilities.
These are all bad things, but in four years, when someone better is elected, the country will still exist. We’ll still have three branches of government. We’ll still be able to elect representatives and senators. This vastly unqualified individual with authoritarian leanings can’t break it entirely. Why?
James Madison was afraid that Americans would do what they just did. He feared that they would vote for someone that would end democracy. We would push that self-destruct button. He thought that federalism and the electoral college would prevent the election of horrible groups of people. And if a demogogue did make it through the election gaunlet and win office, Congress with its two branches and the Supreme Court would keep him in line.
And Congress will keep him in line even though they are Republicans. We have very weak parties in this country. Each one of those representatives is really an independent operator. They need to respond to their consistuents’ demands first. They also need to maintain a certain level of professionalism to have any respect in DC. Ambition will counteract ambition, said Madison.
And there is still a Supreme Court. (Everyone please send RBG a bottle of vitamins.)
So, we need to keep our mouths shut for a little bit. Wait until he tries to do something that we hate, then we have to pounce. Write letters. Attend protests. Write blog posts. We have to nudge the system to neutralize the threat. We have to use every tool in a democracy to protect our democracy.