Apparently, people are so frustrated and outraged by Trump’s victory, they’ve begun contemplating some fairly radical strategies to thwart or stop him. In their most wildly optimistic moments, they even imagine forcing Trump from office, forcing him to resign the presidency and return to real estate or show business, or whatever the hell he was doing before he decided to enter politics.
Of course, as crazy implausible as a resignation scenario is, it would also result in Vice President-elect Mike Pence being catapulted into the presidency, which clearly comes with its own set of concerns.
After all, what do we know about Pence other than being an obscure senator from Virginia? No, wait, that wasn’t Pence; that was Tim Kaine. Wasn’t Pence the former governor of New Mexico? No, that was Gary Johnson. Pence was Indiana. In any event, whoever he is, Trump chose him as his running mate (and more disturbing, he agreed to join the “Trump for America” ticket), which doesn’t bode well.
Some of the more outlandish ideas you hear involve extreme applications of civil disobedience or disruption. Here are some examples.
It has been suggested that we inundate President Trump with lawsuits, force him to deal with hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits a month. Do this until he cries “Uncle.” Let’s not forget that it was the Republicans who, with Barack Obama squarely in their crosshairs, insisted a sitting president could in fact be sued. We shall make them pay for that wish.
Another idea is to adopt a version of Governor Chris Christie’s revenge tactic of purposely gridlocking the George Washington bridge to punish a political rival. But we apply that childish tactic to the jury system, and by doing so we bring to a virtual and resounding standstill the entire U.S. judicial apparatus.
We do this by resorting to “jury nullification.” Juries have enormous power, and the plan is predicated upon marshaling that power. Instead of reaching verdicts in civil or criminal trials, we citizens make sure that all trials end in “hung juries,” causing the entire system to tread water and stall out until it collapses under its own weight.
Another idea is to bring the formidable Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself to an inexorable, grinding halt. We do this by having all taxpayers intentionally withhold $20.00 from their tax returns. That’s it: $20.00, no more, no less.
While no one is going to be formally prosecuted by the feds and for being a measly twenty bucks light, the IRS will nonetheless be unable to close out any of our tax files. That missing $20.00 will prevent them from doing so. And being unable to close out the tax accounts of millions of taxpayers will plunge the system into chaos.
These are only some of the “unconventional” tactics being suggested.
Still, even if these idiosyncratic civil disobedience tactics were utilized—and even if some of them actually “succeeded” in mucking up the system—once the smoke cleared, we would wake to find that Republicans still control the White House, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, which is to say the Republicans will still “own” the country.
In which case, the only option open to Democrats, Libertarians and “anti-Trumpers” would be to focus entirely on the grassroots level—take back political power, one city council, one school board, one state assembly, one gubernatorial office at a time. This is how the Koch brothers managed to shift the country so far to the Right—by building a foundation from the bottom up.
A sobering thought: If civil disobedience and “boutique anarchy” turned out to be useful tactics, these same tactics could be used by anyone, and not just disgruntled Democrats. One cringes at what Republicans would have done with them had Hillary Clinton won.