Monday, November 28, 2016

My Last Post about Politics for Awhile

I'm going to write one last post about the election and its aftermath, and then move on to other topics for awhile. I'm moving on mostly because I want to write about other things as part of my effort to find and embrace the light and joy in my life. But no matter what I'm posting here, know that I'm calling congresspeople every Wednesday, writing letters, donating money, and generally trying to act in accordance with my beliefs and values. If you're ever curious what I'm doing, send me an email. And the offer still stands for anyone who might have voted differently than I did and wonders why I'm so freaked out right now: send me an email, and I will explain. As I've said before: I've lost elections before. I have never been this worried about the outcome before. I would not have been this worried about the outcome with any of the other Republican candidates. Not even Ted Cruz. My worries are less about policy (although I disagree with many Republican policy goals) and more about our democratic institutions and ideals.

So anyway, to the post. I'm going to divide it into three sections: the politicians who give me hope for the future, non-partisan acts I'm taking (and think others should consider taking), and partisan acts I'm taking (and think other Democrats should consider taking).

1. Politicians to watch

There is a lot of hand-wringing on Twitter about the lack of organized response to Trump by other politicians in either party. I would love to see more organized resistance to protect our Constitution and political norms, but I think it is too early to despair. No one expected this outcome, and so there was no pre-planned resistance. But some congresspeople are speaking up, and giving signs that they take their role as a check and balance on executive power seriously. I am by no means a professional political observer, and I haven't made a thorough review, but here is what I have noticed:

Among Republicans, Senator Sasse of Nebraska published a piece on Medium emphasizing that his first duty is to the Constitution.

And a congressman from Michigan tweeted this:

That's it on the elected Republican officials, but please tell me about any others I should watch in the comments. I genuinely hope that Republicans stand up to Trump, for the country, but also for their party. (Ezra Klein's post on this is good.)

Evan McMullin continues to speak up. Here's a recent tweet thread about the similarities between Trump's lies about the popular vote count and how authoritarians behave:

I will be curious to see what he does next and whether he manages to become a useful force for good with the Republican party or not.

A lot more Democrats are speaking up, which is not surprising. My new senator Kamala Harris has been outspoken. Harry Reid has been outspoken, too. The Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are signaling they plan to fight Sessions' appointment as Attorney General.

The Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee are continuing to call on their committee to investigate Trump's conflicts of interest.

Representative Kathryn Clark (MA) has introduced a bill requiring Presidents and Vice-Presidents to put their holdings into a true blind trust or to notify the public and the Office of Government Ethics whenever they make a decision affecting their finances.

And I'm really liking Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ). Here's an example of why:

Again, let me know if there are any other Democrats whose efforts I should be watching.

2. Non-partisan actions I'm taking

I plan to call the House Oversight Committee every week until they exercise oversight of Trump's conflicts of interests or he resolves those conflicts. Here's their phone number: 202-225-5074. If I can't get through, I'll try calling the chair, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz. If I can't get through to him, I'll start working my way through the other members.

I plan to call the House Foreign Affairs Committee to ask them to investigate the involvement of Russian hacking and disinformation in our election. Their phone number: 202-225-5021.

I'm gearing up to write long shot letters to various Republican congresspeople. Since they are not my representatives and are not chairs of key committees, I doubt they'll listen to what I say, so I'm not wasting my limited energy for making phone calls on them. Plus, writing a letter lets me present more of an argument. My most likely best case scenario is that I reach whatever staffer has to open the mail, but I'll take what I can get. Stamps are cheap.

I am going to donate to the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan law group that has long focused on voting rights (among other things).

I am going to donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose work in fighting intolerance and hate I've always admired (and occasionally supported with money in the past).

If I find an organization working to bring non-partisan district drawing to more states, I'll donate to them. I've found some potential organizations (e.g., Fair Vote), but need to do more research.

3. Partisan actions I'm taking

I think the actions in section 2 might be appealing to any American worried about what the Trump presidency is going to mean. I'm also taking a couple of steps as a Democrat:

I have donated to Foster Campbell's campaign for the Louisiana Senate seat. It is a long shot, but every seat is worth fighting for.

I will donate to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, because we need to strongly contest seats in every district, and that takes money.

I will donate to the Democratic Governor's Association, because I think we need Democrats at the state level to block voter suppression laws and gerrymandering, because states can blunt the effect of national policies, and because we need to grow our "bench" of Democratic leaders.

So that's what I'm up to. Feel free to add suggestions or ask questions in the comments. Keep it civil, though! And remember, that I often can't answer comments during the day.


  1. Please don't stop! Or at least tweet when you find new things to do. I need you for ideas!

    1. I'll come leave a comment at your place if I get new ideas. And yeah, I'll keep tweeting. I'll probably write about politics again in the new year. I just need a break for right now.

  2. Also I am going to donate money to those two republicans up top. Reward them.

  3. Correction: Not Steven Sasse. He looks like a pretty horrible person other than that article.

    1. Yep. We are basically hoping that some people we disagree with on just about every issue step up and help defend our democracy.

    2. If nothing else, self-preservation might be a consideration. Republicans have been able to convince lots of people that they have their interests in mind and keep themselves in office. If your position becomes dependent on someone with severe narcissism, you might not have that position for long, or as predictably even if you do (so that you can't do what you want, but what won't get you in trouble with the big guy). Giving the car keys to a drunk eighteen year-old may mean you won't have a car to drive anymore, and all that gas money won't do you any good then.

    3. I think right now, they're planning to gamble that they can get him to sign their policy bills before he crashes the country. That's quite a gamble.

    4. If they crash the country, how much of what they want will be relevant? If the country crashes, the people the GOP has yoked itself to won't have gotten what they want, will be in a very bad place, and will have plenty of targets for their rage (and plenty of guns). That sounds like a national murder-suicide in the making. I have to hope that we're not that dumb or evil or both.

      I want a bumper sticker that says "Who stepped on the butterfly?"

  4. Anonymous7:12 PM

    Dear Cloud, I've read your blog regularly for years now, but I rarely comment. Thank you for all of your thoughtful posts about politics. I really appreciate your reflections and, especially, your suggestions about ways to advocate for important issues.

    1. You are welcome! Thanks for the nice comment.

  5. Re your tweet on privatizing Medicare, there is a way to do it that isn't a huge cluster f* but it is way way way more expensive than the govt doing it. That is what ins co are counting on-- the govt pays them more than Medicare cost after paying less results in a cluster f*. The economic theory is rather elegant. Privatizing Medicare is just stupid. We already have a privatized portion and it already costs the govt more than keeping them in would (because people who do Medicare hmos are much healthier than people who don't). This is a no brainer to anybody who studies it.


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