Just like Barack Obama became perhaps the biggest gun salesman in history, so Donald Trump will become the greatest fundraiser for liberal and environmental causes.
Money is pouring in to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the most strident environmental groups, the education unions, and all manner of leftist activist groups.
The Trump presidency and his crusade to cut spending, reduce environmental and business regulation, crack down on illegal immigration and revamp healthcare is a financial bonanza for the leftist groups. The louder and more raucous their voices, the more money they will raise.
The flood of cash means these groups will have a lot of money to spend on staff, lawyers, communications, and organizing. Expect an avalanche of lawsuits, protests, obstructionism, media outreach and organizing at all levels of society. These groups will have the capacity to fight Trump and his Cabinet at every turn, and they will coordinate closely with Democrats, both incumbents, and prospective candidates.
I’m already seeing a major increase in communications from liberal groups. I don’t know how I got on so many email lists, but I am inundated daily with messages from a dozen or more activist groups criticizing Trump and his actions. For example, when news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador, within half an hour I received seven or eight messages from leftist groups calling for his resignation and announcing rallies and demonstrations.
No doubt, the opposition is well-funded and well-organized.
The question is, can these groups stop or slow the Trump agenda? Can they rebound from big electoral losses and start winning elections? They can if they win the communications war and the hearts and minds of average citizens.
On the one hand, if the new face of the Democratic Party is the ACLU, the unions, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, then the Republicans have the Democrats right where they want them. Will Democrats be the party of the far left? Will they be the party of NO!? Will they oppose everything and try to shut down the government? Will they appeal to just their narrow base?
On the other hand, if the average Joe discovers that the conservative agenda means cutting government in ways that hurt him personally, the love affair with conservative politicians may be short-lived.
Obama promised a liberal utopia that didn’t work out so well. Now Trump and the Republicans are promising a conservative utopia that, if actually carried out, will require real short-term sacrifice.
Truly changing the country’s direction will be excruciatingly difficult. For 60 years, the federal government has doled out more and more help to nearly everyone, in the form of a variety of welfare benefits, entitlement programs, tax incentives, tax subsidies, regulatory protection, grants, loans, and so forth.
It’s hard to find a person, business or industry that isn’t taking advantage of some form of government benefit. Government support abounds in arts, culture, science, transportation, retirement, education, medicine, agriculture, the environment, and so forth. Myriad beneficial programs exist. However, collectively they have become so expensive and unmanageable that the federal debt will soon be $20 trillion, with $500 billion added each year.
As Congress and the president attempt to dismantle this state of affairs, all constituent groups, along with liberal activists, will scream bloody murder and fight to the death for their piece of the pie. An early test will be Trump’s proposed military spending boost, which will require across-the-board budget cuts for nearly every agency. Is Congress really willing to start to pull down the massive government benefit complex?
The sheer difficulty of the task, combined with well-financed opposition from liberal groups and a veritable army of lobbyists, will make this a battle for the ages.
Is Trump up to the task?
I will be amazed and thrilled if Trump and Congress can make even limited progress.