Elections have consequences, none more so than the 2016 election. This time a lot of the consequences are bad, maybe really bad. This is particularly true if you are Black, Hispanic, a young woman of childbearing age, or a member of the LBGT community. It is also true for anyone who depends upon Medicare, Medicaid or Obamacare for their health insurance or who hopes to retire and needs Social Security to do so. It is also true for young people struggling to find the funds to obtain or complete their college education. It is true for a lot of people, many who actually voted for Donald Trump, although they may not realize it, yet. We all have something to lose from this very, very bad decision we just made. We have less than two months to carefully assess our personal situations and prepare for the worst that may come.
The seriousness of the threat to you from the Trump administration depends in large extent on the source of your rights, privileges and protections. If the source is executive orders, particularly recent executive orders from the Obama administration opposed by Republicans, those rights, privileges and protections are likely to disappear, perhaps in days or weeks of Trump taking the oath of office. If the source is court decisions, such as many of Gay rights, then you have until new Conservative Supreme Court Justices are confirmed and have their chance at rolling back your legal protections. That probably will not happen for several years, provided Democrats in the Senate can fight a successful delaying action to slow down confirmations. If your rights, protections and so on are based upon legislation, you must also look to Democrats in the Senate to slow down what will likely be a determined effort by a Republican-controlled Congress to undo as much of the progressive legislation passed over the last 50 years as possible.
If you are dependent upon Obamacare for health insurance, you will most likely be forced to look for other options within the next few years. Obamacare will not survive, at least not in the current form. The Republican replacement, whatever that is and if it ever comes, will offer you options that may be cheaper for some, but certainly will be much less comprehensive and protective and many cases not much better than junk insurance that only gives the illusion of coverage. Medicaid is in danger of becoming as a shadow of what it is today. Medicare could become nothing more than a next to worthless voucher program, if not for current recipients, certainly for those who are under 55 when they become eligible. If you have been putting off expensive treatment for an existing condition, now may be the time to take advantage of whatever insurance you have, since what you have today is certainly better than anything that will be available to you in the future.
Of course, there will be no comprehensive immigration reform and no hope of a path to citizenship if you are not a legal resident. At least right away, I don’t think there will be mass deportations or internment camps, but these evils are not out of the realm of possibility in a few years if some in the Trump administration have their way. The odds of many immigrant families being torn apart have increased dramatically.
If you are a college student or about to become one, forget about any Trump administration help to reduce the enormous financial burden you are facing or about to face. There may be even less help available in the years ahead. Get as much education as you can now and take advantage of whatever financial aid might be available to you at this moment. Student loans will cost a lot more under the Trump administration if they remain available at all.
If you are gay, the right to marry along with all the other rights you have fought so long to obtain and have only recently acquired are endangered. The current Supreme Court will protect your rights for a few more years, but that will change as soon as the Republicans start packing the courts with their hand-picked Scala-type judges who could control the court for the next thirty to forty years. Needless to say, any rights or protections you now enjoy as a result of executive orders will quickly be eliminated, at least if some backers of Trump have their way. If you want full rights, you may have to leave the U.S. If you want to stay in the U.S., your only option may be to relocate to a sanctuary city.
If you are Gay, Black, Hispanic and/or a member of any minority group, it is almost certain that you will experience increased hate crimes during the Trump years. We are already seeing this. Some really evil groups believe they have the President-elect’s permission, even encouragement, to engage in verbal and physical violence, to openly express their anger toward groups of people they dislike or with whom they disagree. There is no doubt that you are threatened. The best you can hope from Trump is that he does not openly encourage or condone attacks against you. At best, he will remain silent. Don’t expect him to try to stop very bad people from doing very bad things. You are going to have to be very watchful and careful to avoid personal injury. There probably will be areas of the country that you will need to avoid at all costs.
If you are worried about the environment and America’s natural treasures, you have a right to be. Expect the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations, expand mining and drilling on public lands within national parks and federally protected areas. Trump is surrounding himself with aides and appointees who deny the human impact on climate change and see nothing wrong with raping the land for money. The Trump years are going to be tough for endangered species and fragile parts of the ecosystem. You may see widespread destruction in the name of greed. Go see the wonders this country has to offer now. They may not survive the Trump years.
Bottom Line: There is no way to know to what extent Trump’s words during the campaign were just appeals to his base or whether he really believed what he said. We don’t know to what extent he will actually do the things he said he would do. He may not. But, we dare not take the risk. The United States could be on the verge of experiencing what Germany experienced in the 1930s. An American “Hitler” may be about to be sworn into office. We can hope that such an analogy is totally wrong and that Trump will only be a little worse that Nixon or Reagan or GW. But, we can’t take the risk. Better to assume the worst and be prepared.
What You Must Do—Right Now
As I said earlier, time is running out. You have less that two months to imagine the worse and prepare to protect yourself. Here are a couple of things you need to do, starting right now.
(1) You need to answer some tough questions and act upon your answers. How might you and your immediate family be affected if the bad things I’ve talked about in this post really happen over the next few months and years? What damage could they do to you and those most dear to you? What can you do to minimize the damage? You may have to move to a different part of the country or overseas for a while if you can afford to do so. You may have to moderate your words or behavior in certain situations and around certain people or be careful to avoid certain places, people and/or situations entirely. That probably makes you angry and it should. But if the worst comes to pass, you will have to do what you will have to do and not just to protect yourself. Many people will need your help if the bad days come. You can’t help them if you have not helped yourself. Your number one goal during the Trump years may be just simply surviving the bad days Trump will undoubtedly bring.
(2) Once you have arranged for your own protection and for protecting those closest to you, you should provide as much financial and other assistance to the Democratic Party as you can. No matter how much you would like to see the growth of a multi-party system, no matter how disillusioned you are with the Democratic Party’s shortcomings, this is not the time to toy with third party candidates. The only hope we have of reversing the course the Republicans and Trump have put us on, is a strong and united Democratic Party. That can’t happen unless Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Young People, Women, Progressives, Liberals, Environmentalists and all of the other natural supporters of the Democratic Party turn out in much larger numbers than they did in 2016 and vote only for the Democratic Party and not some third party. Finally, you must accept and support efforts by the Democratic Party to win back support from Whites with less than a college education, particularly White Males. Non-Hispanic Whites were 70% of the electorate in 2016 and nearly 60% of them voted for Trump. If the Democratic Party becomes the party of minorities, it will forever remain the minority party in Congress and we may never again see a Democrat as President. The policies of the Democratic Party are really the best hope rural, non-Hispanic Whites with less than a college education have for a better life. We have to convince them that Republican promises are empty promises. See the 2016 voter demographics here: http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37889032
I wish this post could be more positive, but the truth about our future as I see it is grim. Better to face that fact and do what we can to minimize the damage Trump will do than live in denial.
I’m not going to conclude this post by offering some reassurance that all will be well and that the bad things I’ve discussed in this post will not be as bad as they seem. Maybe that will be the case. I hope so. However, the future Trump brings us could be even worse than any of us imagine. Be prepared.