It’s been a bit over week since President Donald Trump's inauguration, but it’s still a bit surreal.
Not only did this unorthodox Republican take control of the White House, but the GOP retained the House and the Senate. And considering the vacant seat on the Supreme Court and the advanced age of a few current justices, Republicans will likely take over the judicial branch in the near future.
Thus 2017 begins with no ordinary party flip, but a stark about-face from Obama’s progressive era.
Leading up to Inauguration Day, left-leaning pundits, politicos and celebrities had a full-blown panic. While media organizations published a flurry of late hits to delegitimize the incoming administration, the hysteria only amplified once he was sworn in. Violence marred anti-Trump protests in Washington D.C. as windows were shattered, limos were torched and faces were punched.
The far more peaceful Women’s March clogged the streets of the capital, while like-minded dissenters paraded through other cities, large and small. These public demonstrations not only sent a message to the new president. They also allowed upwards of a million Americans to understand they’re not alone and get a bit of catharsis.
Despite the massive crowds and saturation coverage, last weekend’s anti-Trump protests will be forgotten if they don’t result in real-world action.
Following spontaneous nationwide "tea party" protests in early 2009, savvy organizers channeled the energy into political victories in local, state and national races. That tough, thankless work led to GOP gains in Congress, which stalled President Obama’s legislative ambitions for his last six years.
The question we should be askingBut if you want to see the tea party’s biggest impact, forget Washington and look to the states. The GOP controls 33 governorships and 32 statehouses, while Democrats have total control of only five states along the coasts. Republicans haven’t had this much power since Calvin Coolidge ran the White House.
So what are Democrats supposed to do? Tip a few congressional seats in 2018? Run Mark Cuban to out-insult Trump in 2020? Broadcast a few more profane rants from Madonna and other celebs?
I recommend everyone step back, take a few breaths from a paper bag, and ask why control of the government is so damn important to partisans of both sides.
A few years ago, protesters feared that President Obama would sideline school choice, kill off their existing health insurance and make them violate their traditional beliefs. Today’s protesters fear President Trump will defund public schools, take away their health insurance and persecute LGBT citizens.
Despite being on opposite sides, protesters on the right and left can end their fears the same way. If you're afraid that the federal government will ruin your life, reduce the power of the federal government.
The truly radical thing to doWant a good education for your kids? Keep it out of the hands of Beltway politicians and make the big decisions at your local school board meeting. Your neighbors are going to have a much better handle on your needs than President Trump or some senator from Massachusetts.
Want good health insurance? Don’t let those jokers in Congress decide what plan you need and shop around the local market. We’ve all have been stuck arguing fees with insurance companies, but anyone being honest will admit it’s only gotten worse since the ill-named Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Less bureaucracy and less rules means more options when you need a checkup.
Want to pursue happiness? Keep the government far away from which gender you date, which bathroom you use and how you honor your conscience. A few rules might be different in San Francisco and Tulsa, but as long as D.C. protects everyone’s essential rights, individuals on either side will do just fine.
Instead of spending millions of hours and billions of dollars to help your president impose his will on every American, try something really radical. Take away as much of his power as you can so it doesn’t much matter much who controls the White House.