What Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and Bernie and various music and movie stars couldn’t do – to awaken the progressives among Democrats, Independents, young people and Republicans (yes, we know at least three Republican progressives, but they don’t talk about it) – has now been accomplished by an unlikely champion.
Yes, one Donald Trump, president of the United States and proclaimer of his own invincibility, has single-handedly saved the progressive movement and maybe the Democratic Party.
Oh, he had help from his zany bunch of Merry Men and Women, such as an anti-energy conservation secretary at Energy, an anti-public education secretary at education, a fellow buddy boy of Vladimir Putin at State, and a press secretary who has the unenviable task of selling it all while being eviscerated weekly on “Saturday Night Live.” Speaking of which, the show’s ratings, after appearances by Alec Baldwin as Trump 2.0, are higher than ever.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump merchandise is, as they say, “disappearing from the shelves” at some stores, but not in a good way, if you know what we mean. And Trump’s having to rewrite some executive orders with the frequency those of us in Miss Vann’s third-grade at Aldert Root had to employ when trying to pass cursive writing.
Oh, there was the Tea Party, people fueled by anger at President Barack Obama and ... well, just about everything. Trump played the anger, insulting all his enemies, threatening them, ridiculing them. He even, with a chance to speak to the world, gave a pugnacious inaugural speech invoking tired old phrases from his campaign. He was a New York street fighter, no matter that he’d never been in a New York street except maybe stepping from the curb to the limo.
And the progressives first reacted with disbelief, and then with depression over his victory. The Tea Party had won. The people do not care. Surely the world will now end. What to do? Where to go? Is there anyone who can save us from becoming Trump Nation?
Turns out, there was. It was Donald Trump.
One mistake after another, and now some embarrassing stumbles regarding his former national security adviser and the Rooskies, have Brother Trump sliding badly. In the meantime, women rose up in the hundreds of thousands in cities major and minor, and for-and-against Planned Parenthood demonstrations over the weekend were distressing to Trump’s people, given that the rallies defending Planned Parenthood were, by a multiple, larger than the ones for its defunding.
The Cappuccino Party has been born. And uh, oh, the president’s Tea Party cheerleaders appear to have had their fill with their statement at the polls but don’t care as much for the fight anymore. Issues were never their thing, anyway. It was all about President Obama. And the problem with such a movement is that it just wears people out after a while. Trump’s folks vented their energy at the polls against the evil Hillary. They may be done.
Ah, but the Cappuccino Party is mad, and just getting started. The effects were even felt in North Carolina, when some politicians sounded off on the Women’s March ridiculing the participants, and the blowback was such that there were profuse apologies all around.
GOP leaders in Congress are nervous, and it shows. For the top priority on Capitol Hill is getting re-elected, and the first reviews of Trump will be measured in 2018. If the Republicans who lacked the guts to stand up to him during the campaign think they’re about to get returned to the cold of Wisconsin, or the hot summers in Kentucky, they’ll be breaking out the nose plugs and the trunks and leaping from the bow of the Good Ship Trump.
The Cappuccino Party is not to be confused, by the way, with the Democrats, who did their bit to blow the election by losing the working folks who’d supported them since Roosevelt. But the Cappuccino Party seems to have a broad base, with women and younger people and the elderly at its core, fueled by frustration with a new administration that seems dazed by power and driven by arrogance. All they needed was a leader, an inspiration. And they got one in President Trump.
Deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins can be reached at 919-829-4513 or at firstname.lastname@example.org