In a piece here last week, I proposed that the battle against Trump should be waged with the use of well-mannered, politically legitimate provocations to get Trump to keep showing his unbalanced, disgraceful, deranged nature to the American public.
Two other ideas for strategy occurred to me.
One of them seems less necessary than it did last week, but I think it still warrants being made explicit: press the battle continually so that the Trump presidency never gets to settle into an appearance of normality.
If he ever gets to seem like a normal president, it will be difficult for the resistance to recapture its present momentum and capacity to direct public opinion against this monstrous president. That’s the strategic point that seems worth making explicit.
The reason the point seems less pressing to say now than it did to me last week is that it seems ever more evident that Trump’s own conduct will assure that nothing seems normal. If Trump himself provides a continual series of opportunities to attack and goad him — as presently with his Muslim immigration ban — then the Resistance does not need to press the battle and keep the pot boiling, but can strike its blows as counter-punches.
But if Trump does ever settle down, the point should be recalled: normality must be kept at bay. There will be no better time to take Trump down than by entering into pitched political battle (for the hearts and minds of the American people) now, at the beginning of his presidency when he has already blundered so much and behaved so badly in just the first week and a half as president.
The second point concerns how Trump alone is not the problem. As I and others wrote repeatedly during the months of Trump’s candidacy, Trump’s pathology is but a more blatant form of the pathologies of the Republican Party generally.
Trump is the wolf without the sheep’s clothing under which the rest of the Republican party has hidden the dark and destructive force that has been driving them: the dishonesty, the divisiveness, the lust for power and domination combined with an indifference to the good of the nation as a whole.
So if it is possible to bring down — or at least disempower — Trump, it would be best done in a way that maximally discredits and damages the Republican Party as a whole.
One obvious way to do it is to continually challenge the Republicans to denounce each indefensible thing Trump says or does. Democrats have been doing some of this, and for the most part (with exceptions like McCain and Graham) the Republicans are failing to hold their president to any decent American standard.
But one thing to note: the strategy of pushing the Republicans to go against their president is like one of those gratifying win-win moves in some games of strategy (like chess): which ever way the opponent goes, it serves our purpose.
If they denounce Trump, that helps us defeat this uniquely dangerous president. If they remain aligned with Trump, then it is more likely that, if we do eventually prevail over this president, we will also succeed in bringing his disgraceful Party down with him.