Dear Liberals: Forget Donald Trump, Here’s Who You Should Really be Protesting

Following Donald Trump’s victory, predictably, some people decided to protest to vent their frustrations. While I understand their fear, anger and frustration (though the violence I’ve seen on both sides is unacceptable), I honestly feel like their anger is misdirected.

Like it or not, Trump seemingly won fair and square. We can argue the semantics of how he ultimately emerged victorious, but based on our rules for electing presidents — he won.

If liberals want to protest something, they should be protesting themselves.

This wasn’t Trump “stealing an election,” this was the left losing one — again. 

In 2000, we saw the same damn thing happen. We followed up a very successful two-term Democratic president by whining about how “not liberal enough” his successor would have been, which ultimately had a hand in gifting George W. Bush the White House. Though it seems that even after eight years of Bush pushing this country to the brink of collapse, far too many on the left didn’t learn a damn thing.

In 2008, liberals showed up in huge numbers to elect Barack Obama to fix the disaster that was the Bush presidency. There was so much talk of hope and change that millions of people built up completely unrealistic expectations about what he was going to be able to accomplish and how quickly he would be able to accomplish it. By 2010, many of these folks had vanished. That gave Republicans massive wins to take back control of the House of Representatives and gain more power in the Senate, which gave the GOP the power to obstruct practically anything and everything Obama would have wanted to pass.

Then the same thing happened in 2012 and 2014 when it came to turning out in large enough numbers to give him the type of Congress he needed to pass his progressive legislation.

Now, in 2016, when we faced the most dangerous (and incompetent) presidential candidate this country has ever seen — a bonafide dictator-like sociopath — quite a few on the left focused much of their time complaining about how “not liberal enough” Hillary Clinton was instead of focusing on the bigger picture: Electing the only person who stood in the way of Republicans ripping apart and destroying progress that took us decades to achieve, putting the lives and rights of millions of vulnerable Americans in peril.

Nope, screw all of that, right? Let’s focus more on outrageously sensationalizing Clinton’s flaws instead of how dangerous Trump’s going to be — that makes much more sense. 

This is not a Trump problem, though he’s clearly going to be our nation’s problem for at least the next four years — and beyond. What happened this election is a problem among liberals that’s been around for decades.

Bill Clinton practically never had a Democratic Congress to help him pass more liberal legislation. This then prompted liberals to complain about how “not liberal enough” he was. The same thing happened to Barack Obama, with the same damn results — more complaining from liberals.

However, because neither men had the type of Congress throughout their presidencies they needed to be more progressive — since liberals didn’t show up during midterm elections to give that to them — many on the left threw hissy fits, became apathetic or complacent.

Then, on November 8th, when Hillary Clinton needed help from liberals, they let her down. And just like we’ve seen before, because far too many on the left did the same thing they always do when we need to fight our hardest against the GOP, they’re going to spend the next few years complaining about the consequences of what’s going to happen with Donald Trump as our president. Consequences that are going to be much worse than even their worst fears (most of which were completely unfounded and irrational) about Clinton.

Sure, liberals are great at getting angry and pissy enough to show up in large numbers to protest whenever they disagree with something — but then far too many of them sit their asses home when it’s time to making sure these science-denying, outdated, knuckle-dragging Republicans don’t control this country.

Oh, but I can guarantee that many of these folks will be out there frustrated and angry, protesting the damage the GOP causes. Damage that they played a vital role in facilitating by helping Republicans gain the power to do so.

Here’s the truth that even Republicans know, which is why they’re doing their best to make voting more difficult: As liberals, progressives, Democrats, and sensible people in general — we hold the power in this country, not them.

The problem is, far too many people are too damn whiny and apathetic to stay focused to do what they need to see the bigger picture and win. It’s great to talk about some idealistic world in which we would all like to live, but the harsh reality is that idealism rarely wins.

In the real world, not this progressive utopia that’s never going to exist any time soon (especially with Trump’s victory), getting what you want takes being pragmatic, the willingness to intelligently compromise and being realistic about the most effective way to accomplish your goals.

The left is literally being defeated over and over in this country (because this is a state and local election problem, too) by some of the least educated and ignorant people in the entire Western Hemisphere. When it comes to crunch time, conservatives are getting out, volunteering and voting for Republicans regardless of whether or not they particularly like them or what they stand for — while many on the left spend their time trying to weaken and divide Democrats.

So, if liberals want to protest something, they should be out there standing up to those who are constantly trying to divide and weaken Democrats because their idealistically pure bullshit is apparently more important to them than snatching power away from Republicans, protecting the rights of millions of vulnerable Americans, and supporting people who can actually win that can help us bring a lot of the changes we want to this country.

Go protest the Green Party, Jill Stein, Ralph Nader and these “ultra-liberal” websites and organizations that often do nothing more than weaken Democrats, divide progressives and distract us from who the true “enemy” to nearly all of our progressive values is: Conservatives and the Republican party. 

It’s those types of people who keep us fighting amongst ourselves who are doing nothing more than playing right into the hands of what Republicans want. Just like they did this year, which ultimately led to the election of a dangerous, dictator-like tyrant in Donald Trump.

If we would stop pointless internal and petty bickering, stay focused and work together — celebrating the fact that many of us are very diverse and have plenty of differences, while using our baseline agreements to work out compromise on more intricate issues — there’s not a damn thing the GOP could do to stop us.

Because it’s like I said earlier, Donald Tump didn’t win this election — liberals lost it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • alvaro

    If Mrs Clinton had prevail, I wonder what Mr Clifton would write about going after these so-called liberals that apparently didn’t show up at the polls. People in general were fed up with the status quo in Washington, Democrats and Republicans and everything in between, but change takes a long time, and certainly with Mr Trump at the helm, this is not a good start for change to take effect in a positive way in this country. I value Mr Clifton’s opinion, but I just can’t agree with him right now. Perhaps time will heal all wounds for the Democratic Party, but right now the party that was supposedly in disarray and bulging at the seams to near collapse is going to bring about “change” that most Americans will be sorry for.

    • NanaG4

      Many people were/are fed up with the status quo in DC. But we describe the status quo differently: I, a life-long liberal Democrat decry the DC status quo of a Republican Congress that refuses to participate in the Democratic Process of proffering bills, debate, discussion, and compromise…all in aid of improving our country and supporting our citizens. All other uses of the term sound to me like blanket statements on a placard used to whip up the either the far left or the far right.

  • cruisersailor

    Some of those protesting Trump in the streets didn’t even bother to vote or voted third party.

    • Diana Hawkins

      What is wrong with them? There is something seriously wrong with people who will not vote and then protest. Their understanding of civic duty is messed up.

    • Iftheaccidentwill

      I imagine that many in the streets didn’t vote, if not most. But those who voted for Jill Stein are too busy with planning for anything they can do to mitigate the disaster created by the DNC. Life’s not always fair – sometimes you have to clean up a godawful mess for the sake of the people around you, even if you didn’t make it and you tried to warn the people who did.

      Perforce, it’s going to involve dialogue with Trump and the GOP. I wonder how many times we’ll see repeats of the idiotic treatment of Tulsi Gabbard: “She’s a traitor! She talked to him, even though we’re shunning him. Shun! Shun!”

      There’s a funny thing that I would have thought people learned from Mitt Romney. When you start demonizing large groups of the population and refusing to work with them, you quickly end up without a mandate. In this case, you don’t even get a weak “Please save us from the other horrible candidate”.

  • Iftheaccidentwill

    Yes. It must be the fault of the people who repeatedly warned you that the DNC chose a dangerous course by gambling that they could promote the “weaker” anti-establishment candidate and then run an establishment candidate whose neo record would alarm Ronald Reagan. I mean, they only told you repeatedly that they couldn’t vote for someone who’d sold out to every nasty special interest in the book – including Big Oil bent on megafracking and willing to start WW3 for a pipeline through Syria. It’s not like they had an anti-establishment candidate who’d survived a massive assault by Hillary and the corporate media taking direction from her campaign, yet still was double-digits farther ahead of Trump and was projected for a blowout in the electoral college. It’s not like they actually held signs in front of your face saying #NeverHillary, or fought tooth and nail to the very end- Oh wait… yes, they did.

    For which they were demeaned with childish nicknames and nasty insinuations. For which they were told they weren’t needed and to let the adults talk – i.e. watch as Hillary “pivoted” (turned her back on all the “public” promises) the very instant she could. For which delegates were thrown out of the convention they’d paid thousands to attend, many pre-emptively, to be replaced by people paid $50/day to cheer on command. For which they’re still being mocked, even when #PodestaLeaks* proved them absolutely right on all counts.

    And to boot? After all this, those who fell in line for a corrupt establishment candidate (toxic for a good candidate, fatal for Hillary in a year when the electorate are enraged at another 8 years of economic butt-surfing) are STILL trying to pretend they have anyone but themselves to blame. Putin, Comey (even though he buried everything he could), the media (who they were instructing), the voting machines that (if you’re willing to believe exit polls again) were blatantly hacked against Sanders in many states, the PoC, the whites, the men, the women, the left, the right, the middle, and probably even the rain if one of them is a Milli Vanilli fan. And of course, their favorite target: The people whose votes they seem to believe they literally own and were unlawfully deprived of getting.

    And no, it’s not just me. A lot of people see this, but only outside the Circle of Commiseration.

    * – For the record, someone found the email where the idiot admitted he lost his cell phone in a cab.