Paul Krugman Feb. 27, 2017
Are you angry about the white nationalist takeover of the U.S. government? If so, you are definitely not alone. The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by huge protests, furious crowds at congressional town halls, customer boycotts of businesses seen as Trump allies.
And Democrats, responding to their base, have taken a hard line against cooperation with the new regime.
But is all this wise? Inevitably, one hears some voices urging everyone to cool it — to wait and see, to try to be constructive, to reach out to Trump supporters, to seek ground for compromise.
Just say no.
Outrage at what’s happening to America isn’t just justified, it’s essential. In fact, it may be our last chance of saving democracy.
Even in narrowly partisan terms, Democrats would be well advised to keep listening to their base. Anyone who claims that being seen as obstructionist will hurt them politically must have slept through the past couple of decades. Were Democrats rewarded for cooperating with George W. Bush? Were Republicans punished for their scorched-earth opposition to President Obama? Get real.
It’s true that white working-class voters, the core of Donald Trump’s support, don’t seem to care about the torrent of scandal: They won’t turn on him until they realize that his promises to bring back jobs and protect their health care were lies. But remember, he lost the popular vote, and would have lost the Electoral College if a significant number of college-educated voters hadn’t been misled by the media and the F.B.I. into believing that Hillary Clinton was somehow even less ethical than he was. Those voters are now having a rude awakening, and need to be kept awake.
Outrage may be especially significant for the 2018 midterm elections: the districts that will determine whether Democrats can take back the House next year have both relatively well-educated voters and large Hispanic populations, both groups likely to care about Trump malfeasance even if the white working class doesn’t (yet).