Jennifer Rubin on ‘Four ideas for surviving in the Trump era’ – 2017

Jennifer Rubin’s a principled conservative, and her writing is both insightful and clear. Rubin’s blog and Twitter feed have been must reading for years (including her posts when she was blogging at Commentary; she’s now at the Washington Post).  In a time when it would be easy to speak lies to power, she’s remained honest.

The title of Rubin’s post is Four ideas for surviving in the Trump era (emphasis mine), but she’s writing not merely about surviving, but about prevailing.

She offers four points:

1.Right and left must end their sworn allegiance to economic determinism…We can reject Trump’s message of xenophobia, sexism and racism and the urge from populists to infantilize white, working-class voters as helpless victims. We are left, however, with an acute need to cultivate a sense of belonging — to nation, community and shared values….

2. Government likely won’t get better, so look elsewhere…. [Trump] presents us with the opportunity not only to rebalance power between the executive and legislative branches and between the federal and state governments, but between the public and private sector. The latter includes philanthropy, civil society and business. We all have looked too frequently to the government for fixes and mandates; now is the time to look to voluntary efforts, persuasion and advocacy aimed directly at business. (One silver lining to Trump’s election: An outpouring of donations and volunteer offers to charitable and public advocacy groups.)….

3. We need massive civic education. If we learned anything in the 2016 election, it is that a slick charismatic figure can trash the First Amendment, threaten all sorts of unconstitutional actions, incite violence and appeal to naked prejudice with nary a peep from the majority of voters. In fact, the more disrespectful of our democratic institutions and civil liberties Trump became, the louder they cheered….

4. The sane center has to be supported. If the left goes the way of democratic socialists and the right in the direction of European national front parties, we are going to need a coalition from center-left to center-right to support democratic norms and reasoned proposals for education, criminal justice and immigration reform….

There’s need for a grand coalition of which libertarians will be one part, and along the way we will have use of inspirational suggestions for opposition, tactical steps one can take (such as Rubin’s), a brief reference guide of renowned writings to which we can refer, and particular techniques to combat Trump’s ceaseless lying and his surrogates’ ceaseless sophistry.

Our success is not in doubt, and we have reason to agree with Rubin that “[w]ould it have been better to elect a prepared, stable and intellectually coherent president? Sure, but in the meantime, there is plenty of good work to be done.”

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