Yesterday morning, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama made public statementsregarding Donald Trump’s impending presidency.
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton sold the rest of us down the river.
Conceding and even promising to work with a Trump presidency flies in the face of what purported values Democrats claim to have. Enabling Trump and the Republican Party to enact their platform and having a reaction of anything less than unequivocal calls for massive obstruction and political resistance was not enough. Far too much is at stake for the people in this country subject to the racism and hate legitimized by Trump’s campaign. Too many people who just had the validity of their existences and identities in this country rebuked do not have the easy option of acquiescing to the system. Simply put, the meek concession of Hillary Clinton reeks of her and many of her most fervent supporters’ overwhelming privilege.
Hillary Clinton and her straight, white, middle-class supporters will be just fine in the next four years. They are not the ones Donald Trump labeled as rapists and criminals. They are not the immigrants and refugees whose futures are directly in jeopardy. They have the option to wait and see the Trump presidency with “an open mind.” The rest of us, however, will just have to find out and suffer the consequences. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” come to mind in a time like this:
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom…”
Yesterday, Hillary was the typical white moderate. Instead of doing what she needed to as a self-labeled progressive, she followed the sensibilities of what she “should” do, according to the rules of Washington. Clinton sold out minorities, the LGBTQA community, and everyone now at risk.
This is not to say we should give up on a peaceful transfer of power. To be clear, the peaceful transition of power is, as Hillary called it, one of the “cherished” parts of American democracy. However, that insistence on peaceful transition is, in many ways, also a cop-out. Democracy does not exist simply for democracy’s sake. It’s a means to an end: democracy exists to serve as protection for the rights of people, and those rights are so incredibly fragile. Tens of millions of Americans are now under threat as a result of this Trump victory, and that risk is worth a fight. If our democratic system can’t even protect our own fellow citizens, then what is the point of preserving its integrity? What use is it?
With the concession of victory to Donald Trump, the incredible struggles faced over the last half century to make progress in America have been thrown into the fire. She has given Trump the authority he needs to turn back the clock. He can fill a Supreme Court with ideologues who do not believe in the concept of a woman’s right to choose, the right of two members of the same sex to marry, and desire to kill affirmative action. Clinton has helped Trump make America an even more dangerous place for minorities and people of color.
If Clinton will not be the voice to oppose enabled bigotry, then the people must be. It is now clear that the fight to maintain the gains made in modernity for the rights of individuals and the protection of minorities must be fought for every day. The left must double down on beating Republicans in local, state, and federal races.
Moreover, we must profoundly change the nature of the Democratic Party. The centrist ideology of Clinton has shown itself to be as much a failure as her campaign. Minorities must no longer be just another counted-on voting block for the likes of the Clintons. Minorities and disadvantaged groups must drive the agenda leftwards and take a page out of the Republican playbook. The Democrats in Congress must radicalize their stances and tactics to counter the ability of those in power to get anything done. Gridlock and obstruction may be the only way to stop what could become truly tragic events under the presidential regime of Donald Trump.
Ryan Chavez is a sophomore at Princeton University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terence Zhao is a sophomore at Stanford University and can be reached at email@example.com.