Women’s March: The progressive backlash against Trump
They came in tens of thousands, “a teeming parade of pink hats” brightening the gray Washington, D.C., sky, said Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker. “There were sensible moms and crust punks,” young dads carrying toddlers on their shoulders, and a great-grandmother who “leaned on a walker, ambling gamely down the National Mall.” This was the Women’s March on Washington— held a day after President Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration—and it drew an estimated 500,000 participants. But the D.C. protest was just part of a huge wave, as 3.2 million people came out across the U.S. to send a message to Trump on his first full day in office, in perhaps the largest mass protest in U.S. history. Joined by participants in “sister marches” around the world, the protesters carried signs asserting their defiant dedication to women’s equality, reproductive rights, affordable health care, Black Lives Matter, and more. “This pussy grabs back,” read one. “Keep your tiny hands off my daughter’s rights,” said another. The mass demonstrations, which dwarfed Trump’s inauguration, weren’t just a “stinging rebuke” of a man who has boasted of “grabbing women’s genitalia,” said Charles M. Blow in The New York Times. They served as a message to Trump: “You are on notice.” America will not cower in the face of bigotry or Trump’s vows to gut Planned Parenthood funding and dramatically restrict abortion rights. “This was an uprising. This was a resistance.”
A resistance to what? said Ed Morrissey in the New York Post. Trump just won a democratic election. He’d barely settled into the White House when this “‘resistance’ decided to pretend the loss of an election amounts to oppression,” and “adopted the language of revolution.” The Left spent months lecturing Trump supporters on the importance of accepting election results. But now that American voters have elected Trump and Republican majorities in the House and Senate, to undo the damage of eight years of Barack Obama, liberals are having a “violent temper tantrum.”
When will progressives ever learn? said Matt Lewis in TheDaily Beast.com. They had an opportunity here to speak to “a broad coalition of Americans concerned about President Trump’s temperament and character,” including the 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump. But “pro-life women were disinvited from what was ostensibly a women’s parade,” and marchers indulged themselves with expletive-laden attacks on Trump and tiresome pronouncements about “pussy.” On the stage, a parade of “pretentious and preachy celebs,” including Ashley Judd and Madonna, delivered hysterical speeches comparing Trump to Hitler. It was all guaranteed to further alienate “the working-class Americans who put Trump in the White House,” and make never- Trump conservatives like me wonder “if maybe he is the lesser of two evils.”
Sorry, but “Trump did not earn a honeymoon,” said Stephen Stromberg in The Washington Post. His inaugural speech doubled down on the divisive message of his campaign, with the new president “ominously claiming to be the embodiment of ‘the people’” and making it clear that anyone who doesn’t accept his agenda won’t be a “loyal” American. Protesting, though, isn’t enough, said Edward-Isaac Dovere and Elana Schor in Politico.com. If progressives continue to embrace a chaotic and disparate set of pet causes—from transgender rights to reducing mass incarceration—their resistance could fizzle out in frustrated disarray, the way Occupy Wall Street did. Instead, liberals should adopt the tactics of Republican tea partiers, who turned their 2009 protests into grassroots political organizations that propelled like-minded candidates into office, resulting in huge gains for Republicans in the 2010 midterms. Unless it leads to real political organizing, this week’s march will mean little.
The Women’s March has already had an effect, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. After Democrats lost the 2000 presidential election, it took them years “to wake up from their late-Clinton slumber.” When they finally did—in the backlash that gave the party control of both the House and the Senate in the 2006 midterms—“a lot of legislation had already passed.” But now, one day into Trump’s presidency, millions of Americans have declared they will not sit idly by as Republicans try to ram through a right-wing agenda and allow Trump “to obliterate long-standing governing norms.” We’re entering a new era—one in which the greater political passion and anger is on the Democratic side. Republicans had “probably assumed the clock would not start for months on the liberal backlash. Now the clock is ticking already.”