Eric Liu has a piece in The Atlantic that looks at the civic upswell that’s happened in response to Trump. It’s overall encouraging, celebrating that “people are exercising both power and character.” It’s optimistic in a dark time.
This line is something I might be skeptical of:
“The surge will likely outlast his presidency. Americans today are rushing to make up for decades of atrophy and neglect in civic education and engagement.”
Let’s say something – Russia, lying about what he knew, corruption, emoluments, being certifiably crazy – forces Trump from office, either with impeachment or resignation or removal under the 25th Amendment, Section 4. In that case, Mike Pence would become president. Pence is just as extreme a conservative as Trump, if not more. However Pence speaks the language of civil governance. He doesn’t tweet crazy things. He sounds like any other politician.
My fear is that even if Trump is removed from office (which I want to see happen!), the removal of the tangibly insane thread from conservative governance would quell the popular civic outpouring that is currently taking place.
Pence would feel normal, even if he still pursuit draconian immigration/deportation policies, gutted social programs and took a bellicose posture towards Iran, China or Russia. The normality, the leveling-down of extreme policies by the press because of being more normal than Trump, would be a cold splash of water on the current civic upswell.
It would be up to us as organizers to keep it going, but it would be far less self-sustaining and require even more coherent, intentional organizing.