If All Politics is Local

So yesterday, the President-Elect held what may have been the most surreal, embarrassing, childish such event ever held by someone preparing to assume that office. If there was any doubt about the need for resistance–the need to assure that this manifestly unqualified “man” and his collection of appalling cabinet choices do as little harm as possible–that display should have put it to rest.

So remember–local action can throw sand in the Orange One’s gears.

In the wake of the election, several cities have confirmed their intent to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, in defiance of Trump’s threats to withhold billions in federal dollars.

Vox reports that Colorado is currently exploring how to keep an Obamacare marketplace open in a post-Obamacare era, continuing to use the technology the state built as a way to make shopping for insurance easier.

Jerry Brown has made it abundantly clear that California will continue to fight climate change. Aggressively.

Meanwhile, sites such as Resilience are actively encouraging what they call “anti-Fascist” organizing.

Policy innovation is already taking place at the municipal level. The practice of sanctuary cities is just one example. City governments in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Greater Boston, Chicago are increasingly funneling resources into worker-cooperative development, and devolving fiscal capacity to the community through participatory budgeting— both of which have also empowered undocumented immigrants in the policy realm as well as in their day-to-day economic well-being.

These developments are limited, even within the context of the cities themselves, but they can be pushed much further. The way for this to be done is through anti-fascist coalitions. In many of these cities there exists a smattering of progressive and even left-wing forces. This election has provided the sustained impetus for such groups to come together beyond the level of protest and contestation we have been seeing in recent weeks.

Although several of the suggestions in the Resilience article are framed in unnecessarily inflammatory rhetoric and somewhat “out there” (and in my own opinion, highly unrealistic), the emphasis on local action has much to recommend it.

It’s great that several blue states will resist the incoming Administration, but many of us  live in Red states, where it’s easy to get discouraged. If we live in urban areas of those Red States,however, we do have options.  If you look at the vote distribution in the Presidential election, it becomes abundantly clear that city-dwellers decisively rejected Trump and Trumpism .

Those of us who live in urban areas, surrounded by others who reject the racism, misogyny and xenophobia of the incoming Administration, who believe in science and environmental protection and endorse the moral and economic imperative of an adequate social safety net need to map out our counter-insurgency.

We need to decide what measures we can take at the municipal level to counter Washington’s likely retreat from governance. And then we need to work hard to implement those measures.

Bitching on Facebook is no substitute for face-to-face civic engagement.


  1. Rebuilding the Democratic party AND democracy must start at the base to give it a strong foundation. You wouldn’t put a new roof on a crumbling foundation and termite-ridden framework, which is what our federal government has become. Locally we can support candidates such as Dana Black in District 88 to oust Brian Bosma in 2018 from his, by then, 32 year reign. Solely the result of Republican gerrymandering. We do not have to like or agree with all stands the candidates take on all issues or the way they run their candidacy; but we must support those who provide the greatest promise of a stronger democracy IF elected.

    As for any unnecessarily inflammatory rhetoric and somewhat “out there” and highly unrealistic aims, issues or candidates – who better fits that description than Donald J. Trump? I agree with Sheila’s opinion regarding that description of some suggested actions; then I remember the article in the Indianapolis Star this morning, “State’s residents officially Hoosiers”. With all going on around us today and the world looking on, the Democratic Indiana U.S. Senator Donnelly and former Republican Senator Coats came together on the Federal level regarding name-calling in this state. I find that “somewhat out there” in the broader scope of political issues.

    So; Goldsmith may be up for an appointment in the Trump administration and the news reported former Indy Mayor Ballard was in Trump Tower yesterday for an interview with the “great orange one”. What further proof do we need “If All Politics Is Local”? I doubt Pence or Trump will drag Daniels from his lofty, high paying position as President of Purdue University but…he has managed to continue guiding local politics, using Goldsmith’s playbook and will continue to do so.

    Our battle here in Indiana is daunting now that Pence will be second-in-command for the most powerful position on this earth. He will continue leading Holcomb, et al, and we have only Rep. Andre Carson, Sen. Donnelly and Mayor Hogsett to rely on. Yes; politics is definitely local where Indiana is concerned.

  2. The distracting Trump/Pence puppet show currently on stage in Washington is disturbingly similar to the one Bush/Cheney forced on us all back when the VPOTUS pulled most if not all the strings. I bet you the farm, the former Indy mayor(s) are not there to do business with the puppet but the puppeteer.

  3. Good news. I, unfortunately, live in an extremely Red rural area and must be very careful about what I say and do in public. Retribution can be very ugly here.

    A couple days ago I suggested to our Democratic party chairman that we find a way to educate the public about civics. He liked the idea. Locally, we need to find a way to inform the voters about what has taken place via gerrymandering and why they have no choices at the voting booth.

    Sheila, could you provide me with any simple printed material that could be used to create a way to educate the public? If you could provide me with a simple sylabus and materials to use that would cover the important points in a concise manner this would be wonderful and so appreciated. Not being a teacher at all, I am afraid if I tried to create this info it could take too much time and we would lose the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. Also, I would most likely miss crucial points and include non-crucial points.

  4. I feel like I’m in an Edward Albee play, but when I wake up, it’s actually a Salvidor Dali painting.

  5. Yep. That’s why I’m returning to the states. I can explain socialism, immigration and living abroad in my expertise of how it affects us locally. I just worry about all those cowboys packing heat.

  6. Bitching on Facebook is definitely not a substitute for getting involved. Sadly, though, too many people aren’t willing to carve a little time away from Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and every other electronic distraction and use that time to get engaged. When they do, it’s to sign an online petition–which I’m convinced does nothing to sway legislators. I recall receiving a letter from then-Senator Evan Bayh essentially pooh-poohing my emailed message because it was part of an interest group’s campaign. The fact that I edited the heck out of the message and obviously put time into it didn’t matter.

    My fear is that if the abuses under the George W. Bush administration couldn’t get people out into the streets and picking up the phones to call Congress, there’s little hope that abuses of the Trump administration will have a different effect.

  7. Trump is now relying on the denial of a murderous dictator (Putin) that he is compromised and the subject of blackmail and must do Putin’s bidding as a result of an unconfirmed story of a sex orgy in which the president-elect participated in Moscow some years ago. In my view the important thing to note in this connection so far as the national security of this country is involved is not the sex story whether true or false since Trump himself has already regaled us with genital-grabbing and other tales of manly pursuit; it is whether Trump is blackmailed by this and other such instances of his business interests involving Russia, its dictator and oligarchs who have bled and are bleeding the Russian people dry. Does anyone in his right mind think for an instant that Putin would not deny that Trump is in his (Putin’s) pocket? Trump and now Tillerson refuse to call Putin a war criminal, and in my opinion such a refusal is tied to their past, present and future personal business interests in Russia. Both are compromised, whether in the oil or resort business. The sex angle is for the howling masses, who don’t seem to be howling much about that topic as of late.

    I also note with interest that in Trump’s ” press conference” yesterday he never at any time denied that his people were in touch with Putin during the months preceding our election. It is clear to me that we need a select committee get to the bottom of all of these allegations before Trump decides to appoint a whitewash committee of his own to look into these allegations in the classic case of where a suspect investigates himself.

    In the interests of space, I will save my view of Trump’s view of the First Amendment rights of the Fourth Estate as demonstrated with Trump’s maltreatment of the media yesterday, a precursor to fascism, as in if you don’t say nice things about me, I won’t let you talk.

  8. Walter,

    “My fear is that if the abuses under the George W. Bush administration couldn’t get people out into the streets and picking up the phones to call Congress, there’s little hope that abuses of the Trump administration will have a different effect.”

    I’m afraid you’re going to be right.

  9. As it happens, I wrote a small book (37 pages) with exactly the information you want. You can access a description of it here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Talking+Politics%3A+What+you+need+to++know

    The purpose—as set out in the introduction—was to provide basic information that scholars on the right and left agree is factual and essential to any understanding of the American legal system. See what you think.

  10. IMO it’s easy to over think Trump. Everything that we know about him can be summed up in one word: ego. At the moment his ego is satisfied by the parade of suck ups coming to his Versailles every day looking for power but when that’s over and he realizes that he’s not royalty but rather a public servant he’ll get bored and dangerous.

    Republicans believe that they have adequately surrounded him with baby sitters as they did Reagan and Bush but that remains to be seen.

    So that’s one danger to watch. Are Republicans able to contain him?

    Unfortunately while that’s going on there are other foxes in the hen house, Ryan and McConnell, who both see the world as a game to be won or lost. They are consummate politicians who know the system well.

    Now there’s nobody to babysit (with the Executive and Judicial neutralized) them exept for the press and us.

    Perhaps this will end up to be the renewal of democracy if we and the press can re-establish our former working relationship.

  11. To Hell with his loyal fans. What matters is the welfare of the American people. This may turn out to be one of the psychological jarring events that hits the reset button of the American public. And it should. This creature from the Black Lagoon is the most dangerous man on Earth right now. To think that his fingers are near anything resembling nuclear codes is enough to scare the shit out of everyone on Earth.

    My hope is that this scandal blows up in his face and that he is forced out of office. We can deal with Mike Pence via the 25th Amendment, because he will be in WAY over his head. The #1 priority of thinking Americans has got to be getting Trump out before he destroys democracy and maybe the world.


  12. Ms Kennedy – I have read your columns for many years and value reading them highly. I have quoted many and shared many with others. But, I believe recently that your past objectively and respectful demeanor is beginning to slip. To point out an example, you now refer to Trump as “the Orange One”. That is name calling and disrespectful. For me, it demeans your often otherwise well thought out positions. I think you should stop. Respectfully –

  13. I say this to these fauxknee right wing kristians- you violate my sincerely held religious beliefs that precludes me having to share Earth and oxygen with despicably deplorable so called humans. Please leave Earth immediately. I would have the courts to back me up thanks to these same wingnuts.

  14. You’ll never contain Drumpf-at least outside of a sanitarium. He listens to and takes advice from no one because he is like, a smart person. He is like, a dangerous demagogue, unfit for office of any kind.

  15. One last item, what does it say about so called kristians when their first two acts is to take healthcare away from millions of poor and elderly and cut 23 billion from the SNAP program that helps ensure the poor, elderly, korporate workers, school kids and even many in the military have food to eat?

  16. Not Orange; I thought Sheila restrained herself with her referral to “the orange one”. She could have joined the many of us who refer to him as the Pussy Grabber. If you know of anything of a “respectful demeanor” displayed by Trump, by any other name a Pussy Grabber, we would be delighted to hear what it is.

    I have been watching and reading about him for 30 years and the only respect I have seen evidenced in his behavior or conversations has been about money…especially bragging about taking it from other people in his bogus business dealings and not paying taxes like the rest of us.

  17. Hey, I’m going to call him the ‘orange one’ because I need health care when I get back in March and they are voting to take away the only way I can get it, so there! I like JoAnn name better but I try not to say those words in public. Go JoAnn!

  18. Agreed, but for one thing….Rather I think you may build bridges by saying Use of Facebook Is a step in the right direction to build community previously detached from one another. We are not alone in the necessity to resist and develop coalitions. Facebook can be an excellent tool toward that end.

  19. Gerald E Stinson–please read this article before quoting from the leaked hatchet job on Trump. Basically, if you want Trump to be held accountable we have to stick to the facts, which are plentiful. This leaked memo (which no one except Mother Jones would publish before yesterday) is completely unsubstantiated, and will make real investigations suspect. https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

  20. I think we can do lots of little things that, collectively could make a big difference: like, for instance, sending emails of support to journalists who stand up to Trump. Yesterday’s “news conference” was the opening salvo in the battle of Trump v. Media. The fat PG tried to intimidate the CNN reporter by refusing to take his question and called CNN “fake news”. The other members of the Media should have just kept quiet until the PG answered the question. The PG has never been held accountable to anyone. We can force him to do so via the Media, but only if we stand together.

    We need to encourage Media to be cohesive and demand that the PG behave like a President. Media needs to know we expect them to behave like journalists. Allowing a petulant tyrant like Trump off the hook is not acceptable, and if enough people stand up to him as a group, he’ll either behave like a President or stop having news conferences, which will hasten the inevitable impeachment. After all, it won’t be fun for Trump if he and Kellyanne don’t get to set the agenda, which they were allowed to do before the election. Also, calling out the IndyStar and other publications that publish pro-Trump articles and those obnoxious Varvel political cartoons, implying that the anti-Media message reflects how we all think. The Star seems not to know that Marion County has changed over the last 60 years. When my subscription deadline approaches and I get their little reminder, they’re going to get an earful from me.

    In any event, people like Anderson Cooper and CNN need to hear positive feedback.

  21. We now get it exactly why the infantile orange one had not held a press conference since last summer. He is completely inept at this president thing, and he needed three of his kids and a lawyer who fails to recognize that he isn’t even the President until January 20th. We are the laughing-stock of the entire world.

    Help us here, Sheila and Marv! PLEASE HELP US!

  22. Do you have any recommended similar thinkers in the Omaha area? I’m pretty isolated (in a nursing home) but I can certainly make calls and use my Kindle to lobby where needed. (I don’t know if you remember me. My previous name was Erdberg. I used to work under Charles Tootle in the CETA program. My mother is Carolyn Leeds.)

  23. Well, “Orange One” is a lot better than most terms that would accurately describe the man — including Jo Ann’s “PG” man. He has shown himself to be — through his own words and actions — to be an arrogant, egotistical, lying prevaricator (I know it’s redundant, but well earned in his case), mean, sexiest, possibly mentally ill, racist, worshiper of only himself, money and power.

    The Office of the President of the U.S. deserves respect, but the occupant of that Office must earn “respect.” What respect has Trump earned? What respect has he, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, and Kelly Ann Conway shown or given to anyone else? (Hint: it’s a rhetorical question! It answers itself.)

  24. Betty,

    We can’t change the direction overnight, but I believe we have the ability to at least slow things down. One way of doing that is to expose the DECEPTION that is so much of what Trump and his movement are all about.

    We can do that right now. I’ve done it SUCCESSFULLY before. See http://www.TheAlarmReport.info. We must make some type of a SHOW OF FORCE or we will be overrun very quickly.

  25. Trump was an embarrassment at his “press conference”; if one of his advisers could muster the courage to tell him the campaign is over and now he actually has to function as leader of the free world, perhaps he could speak in different terms. Nah, that’s a really yooge leap of faith.

    I still search for the appeal that won him the office, but honestly, he speaks like a high school sophomore delivering a book report after he has only read the first chapter. He seems incapable of providing any support or substance behind any of his statements. He simply wants to be a stand-up comic/class clown and burn his enemies with his not-so-crisp one-liners. And when he gets cornered, he acts like he’s cornered and simply refuses to interact.

    The world will be watching the inauguration and they have to be wondering about the voters of the USA; hell, I’m still wondering. The Trump Administration is not going to get better with the passage of time.

  26. BSH,

    Thanks for the links. They help to prove the point I have been trying to make: The Democratic party, as well as, our pro-democracy NGO’s are IMPOTENT, at this point in time, when facing up to the “Third Force” led by Trump/Pence.

    National Socialism (Nazis) was the THIRD FORCE in Germany during the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.

    http://www.StandUpToPower.org at the present time is the only POTENTIAL COUNTERVAILING FORCE against the extremely powerful THIRD FORCE led byTrump/Pence.

    This is not a win-win situation. It’s a very dangerous ZERO-SUM GAME which is being PLAYED OUT in the weeks preceding the Presidential Inauguration on the 21st of January.

  27. Exclaiming that “The Emperor has no clothes” has little or no effect. The words have no effect unless you can PROVE the Emperor has no clothes. It’s similar to the legal term: PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL.

    And if you attempt to PIERCE THE POLITICAL VEIL, I would strongly suggest you need to have had prior trial experience at a very high level, as either a prosecutor or defense attorney, which involved: PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL.

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