The Best Way To Battle Trump
The political resistance to the Trump Administration has thus far focused on mass protests, traditional political organizing and the odd spot of anarchist Starbucks-smashing. Satisfying as shouting at random Congressmen may be, these tactics fail to target the source of Trump’s power and political viability, which is disconnected from the channels through which “the resistance” has chosen to fight the administration. Trump has no roots in established political institutions, the Republicans in Congress are reluctant, opportunistic allies at best, and as his three million vote deficit and dismal polling attests, he has limited genuine popular support.
Moreover, even if his rather fluid policy agenda is thwarted politically, he and his entourage still have many opportunities to enrich himself and his family at the public’s expense, setting an encouraging precedent for other plutocrats looking to dabble in politics, flex their personal power and maybe make a little extra on the side.
Activists, therefore, need to attack the business interests of Trump and his cronies directly, both to confront Trump himself and to ward off any other aspiring kleptocrats or meddlesome billionaires who think their wealth entitles them to political authority.
Fortunately, Trump’s business interests — not to mention Jared Kushner’s — offer a large attack surface. As primarily a real estate development company, the Trump Organization needs to navigate a tremendous amount of red tape at the state and local level. Building permits. Tax incentives. Environmental site inspections. At every juncture, activists should hound the local bureaucrats and politicians responsible with as much passion as they’ve hounded their Congressional representatives. For so long as it remains an extension of Trump’s person, the Trump Organization’s executives shouldn’t be able to break ground on a parking space without facing overwhelming community resistance. Every company that sends an attendee to any conference and gala hosted at a Trump property should have to brace itself for a deluge of protestors. Everyone who goes to play a few holes at a Trump golf course should have to cross a picket line.
The value of this approach goes beyond directly confronting Trump. If routinized, it can serve as a check on the ability of the nation’s most powerful and sociopathic billionaires to transmute their wealth directly into political power — a check that barely exists in the formal political system.