Tom Fulks

Donald Trump didn’t ‘get’ the Women’s March. Neither did some old-guard Democrats.

dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

President Donald Trump and his palace guard will never understand why millions of Americans demonstrated against them.

“I frankly didn’t see the point,” sniffed Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s propaganda minister, reacting to the Great Women’s March of Jan. 21.

That’s when legions of Americans hit the streets — including about 10,000 in San Luis Obispo — paying homage to the time-honored American tradition of patriotic dissent. (The massive protest was peaceful, most likely because women were in charge.)

Many among the placard-carrying throng filling downtown San Luis Obispo streets last weekend surely hope the Democratic Party gets it. Some of the party’s local leaders might want to start acting like they do.

Of course Conway didn’t get it. Neither did her boss and his administration of “alt-fact” sycophants.

Nor did many Trump supporters — unable or unwilling to distinguish beliefs from facts, clinging to the illusion of Trump’s legitimacy, demanding the majority to “get over it” and bow fealty to malignant neo-fascists.

So let me explain it: The Women’s March was a public expression of hope and, to many, a statement of determined opposition to Trump’s authoritarianism.

Those who support the Trump regime don’t have to get it. They just have to be defeated.

That effort begins in America’s streets, with hordes of citizen activists newly energized as if by lightning.

It’s clear to anyone willing to see: Insurgency is afoot. Trump & Co. would be wise (oxymoron alert!) to avoid dismissing the indicators.

Organizers expected 5,000 in San Luis Obispo. About twice that number showed up. In D.C., the anticipated 200,000 turned into half a million.

In Los Angeles, 750,000 marched. The numbers in New York, like elsewhere across the nation, were too many to count.

The obvious motivation: Gangsters occupy our White House, backed by unseemly foreign machinations.

So millions of Americans marched, bearing individual agendas defiantly unified en masse. Organizers ostensibly sought to call attention to women’s issues.

Many marchers did. Many, like me, had other purposes: Trump dares impeachment, brazenly violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars government officials from accepting payments from foreign governments, as his hotels and foreign businesses do.

Despite pledging to disprove foreign entanglements by releasing his tax returns after a supposed IRS audit, Trump reneged after inauguration, reversing course a day later. Editorialists call it “deeply suspicious.”

His unprincipled party controls Congress, so impeachment’s unlikely. It’s now up to courts to do what craven, cowed Republicans won’t.

Congress must investigate Russia’s unprecedented influence — not on the election (what’s done is done) — but on Trump himself and his coterie of creepy Russophiles, controllers of our national security and foreign affairs. Our nation’s safety hangs in the balance.

Trump plainly appears pathologically incapable of letting any slight pass without meltdown. He must dominate everything and everyone. He’s dangerous and can’t be trusted.

It doesn’t matter to anyone else how big his inaugural crowd was. Yet Trump — in a spasm of narcissistic fury — dispatched Disinformation Minister Sean Spicer to stand before the nation the evening of the historic Women’s March and declaim a lie so provably untrue he became an instant global laughingstock.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” sneered Spicer, skulking off forebodingly without taking questions. A day later, Spicer pugilistically defended Trump’s insane lie that as many as 5 million people voted illegally.

It’s not just Trump and his belligerent bootlickers who should take heed of the nation’s political ferment.

The Democratic Party’s ossified leadership also should pay attention — especially at the local level, where energized Bernie Sanders activists are seizing party market share nationwide.

To wit, the chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee, Don Stewart, pulled a “Spicer-lite” several days before the Women’s March.

Addressing criticism he’d crossed the line with tin-eared trash-talking of county Supervisor Adam Hill, Stewart opened the committee’s monthly meeting with a rambling, self-serving nonapology, blaming Hill and Sanders progressives for the friction.

Stewart then abruptly walked out before Hill could respond, knowing several folks — including Supervisor Bruce Gibson — were there to rebuke him, leaving many in the room stewing in disbelief.

Surely, local Democrats want to bottle whatever it is that electrified marchers and use it to fuel campaigns for local offices. To that end, they must bridge the gulf between entrenched stalwarts and new Sanders militants.

Stewart did little to instill confidence that’ll happen anytime soon. Circling the wagons and aiming guns inward is a losing strategy.

Evidenced by the Women’s March, Trump provides the left a powerful incentive to unite before the June 2018 primary — 17 months away.

Trump & Co. will never understand what the Women’s March was about.

Old-guard Dems, on the other hand, had better get it — and soon.

Liberal columnist Tom Fulks is a former reporter and opinion writer. His column runs in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with conservative columnist Matthew Hoy.

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