If liberal democracy is to survive this time of testing, we’re all agreed that Trump needs to be, at minimum, checked, but in terms of how to do that effectively, well, that’s a very difficult question. So far, the complexity of resisting an authoritarian and illiberal nationalist like Trump has proven so difficult that opposition to him has been pushing and pulling against itself. Hopefully, this won’t be the pattern for four years–or eight–and we’ll figure out how to be effective against him, his movement, and the levers of power that will be at his disposal, which will be considerable. I don’t think the country will be the same out the other end if we can’t pick the lock on how to effectively resist him, and then hold smartly and bravely together.
I recall Schopenhauer once writing of Christianity that its most effective argument had always been the stake. That’s true of all anti-rational discourses, of course (Islam, Maoism, etc.). History suggests that whenever an alpha male spearheading an anti-rational discourse can reach the pinnacle of power–whether by hook or by crook, by democracy or palace coup–he stays there, not by recourse to reason, but by obfuscation and force. If you don’t have reason on your side to justify power, there’s always fog and coercion. We’ve seen the fog side of Trump all year. We are about to enter an era of fog and coercion. It’s going to cost something to resist Trump–maybe everything.