More than one small town has struggled for years under the debilitating influence of political & economic conflicts of interest, misguided priorities, and dodgy or grandiose claims. These conditions where those that That Which Paved the Way for Trumpism. Those locally who carried on this way made Trumpism more likely, the way a moderate illness might weaken one’s immunity and make a deadly illness more likely.
Trumpism’s national champions contended – falsely – that America in 2016 faced an existential crisis. On the contrary, America’s existential crisis began not with Hillary Clinton’s campaign but with Donald Trump’s minority-vote victory. One might have had conventional, normal politics with Clinton; there was never a possibility of that with Trump.
Trumpism didn’t then face and existential threat – it created an existential threat.
On their own, many of these local problems would have lessened, slowly but inevitably; those who created these problems would have faded, slowly but inevitably. There’s little energy left in the dwindling ranks of those carrying on this way. I was right – then and now – when I once wrote in reply to a prominent social & political figure in town, predicting that ‘not one of those practices will endure to this city’s next generation.’
And yet, Trump’s national success will probably embolden more than one local man or woman to carry on a bit longer than he or she might otherwise have. Their political end will come, nonetheless.
What to do about all this?
First, Trump and his ilk himself will have to go, through whatever lawful means is available.
Second, America will have to assure both full adult access to the ballot, and the integrity of elections against foreign interference (both as foreign propaganda on domestic media and as hacking). One would prefer few laws to many, but even we’ve now many states legislating against easy ballot access. Better a single standard assuring access. We’ll need a policy of automatic voter registration. No one should be required to vote; no one should have to struggle to register to vote.
Third, and the most difficult of all, we’ll have to carry out a long period of a third reconstruction (the first being after the Civil War, the second being during the civil rights era) to assure that we do not again find ourselves in the situation that now plagues us: forces domestic and foreign united to undermine the American constitutional order. That’s a long project, and I’d imagine – or at least hope – that the Rev. Dr. Barber, and so many other men & women, will guide us through that new, necessary reconstruction.