November 13, 2016; New York Magazine
In New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait writes, “There’s no So You’ve Elected a Bullying, Racist, Authoritarian Swindler As President pamphlet within easy reach. The loyal opposition faces an unusual paradox. What will almost certainly be a catastrophe for the Republican Party in the long run will also be a catastrophe for the United States much sooner.”
The concept of loyal opposition is important to our democracy but many in civil society are asking themselves about its application in the wake of the recent presidential election and, indeed, it is a tough moment.
Donald Trump as a candidate said things that offended many and challenged our assumptions about the way our democratic process is supposed to work. He tuned into the struggles of an overlooked segment of our population, one ignored by his opponent and most conventional political pundits. His key to bringing white, working class voters into his camp was a willingness to light a match to racial, gender, religious, and class animosities—even hatreds. His campaign’s policy positions seem built on a web of misinformation and put people and our planet at great risk. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman described it as “unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies…resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false…Lies are lies, no matter how much power backs them up.”
When the sun rose Wednesday morning, we had a new president, and not the one all the “experts” told us we would be greeting. In the wake of this surprise, we need to figure out for our ourselves, for our