On Jan. 20, the most openly racist, misogynistic, authoritarian and dangerous presidential candidate in recent history assumed office. As Donald Trump muddled through the rituals associated with inauguration, tens of thousands of protesters assembled in the nation’s capital and declared, “Not Our President! Resist Trump!”
That same day in Houston, several hundred men and women participated in marches and rallies which expressed energetic opposition to Trump. At the end of the march and rally, my wife, Rona, and I helped organize. Several young people took turns smashing a large Trump piñata to pieces with a baseball bat.
The next day, about 600,000 people joined the Women’s March in Washington and made clear that “Women’s rights are human rights!” The turnout in Los Angeles may have been even larger. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Chicago. Hundreds of thousands more marched in Boston. And in Seattle. And in Denver. Large actions also occurred in hundreds of other cities.
Professors Jeremy Pressman of the University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver estimate that between 3.2 million and 4.7 million people participated in the Jan. 21 actions, making them the largest mass demonstrations in U.S. history. At least one in every 100 people in this country came out to oppose Trump. Here in Texas, about 50,000 marched in Austin and more than 20,000 marched in Houston.
It is hardly surprising that so many people consider Trump an illegitimate president. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, herself an extremely unpopular candidate, by about 2.86 million votes. And no one who engages in racist attacks on Mexicans, African-Americans and Muslims, demeans and assaults women and promotes violence against his critics could ever be a legitimate president.
Even before the counter-inaugural protests, it was clear that the majority of people in this country have major problems with Trump. A CNN poll revealed that 53 percent of the public view Trump unfavorably, and a Washington Post poll found that 51 percent of the public disapproves of the way he is handling his transition. Trump is the least popular incoming president in four decades.
The election of this bigoted sociopath poses grave dangers to workers, people of color, immigrants, women, LGBT communities, the differently abled and democratic-minded people throughout the nation. Vast numbers of people here and in other countries rightly fear a wholesale assault on existing social protections, dictatorship, catastrophic wars, and ecological suicide.
Many Trump critics will pressure the Democrats to take more progressive positions, fight most of Trump’s legislative agenda, and block a reactionary Supreme Court nominee. Many other individuals will choose a different path and help build a more militant popular resistance to Trump and the Far Right independently of the Democrats.
There is likely to be growing support for a new multinational, working class-led social movement which directly challenges capitalism, its state and its social institutions. If this new movement can effectively resist Trump’s Far Right program and turn back the tide of fascism, it will lay the foundations for revolutionary social change in this country.