Fleeing a Trump Presidency Not an Option

For many Americans, the idea of a Trump presidency and a Republican-controlled Congress is frightening, with the prospect of right-wing legislation and judicial appointments sailing through, but quitting is not an option, says Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

A lot of U.S. citizens are now talking about leaving the country. Canada, Europe and New Zealand are popular scenarios. Moving abroad might be an individual solution. But the social solution is to stay and put up a fight.

The most right-wing U.S. government in our lifetimes will soon have its executive and legislative branches under reactionary control, with major ripple effects on the judiciary. All the fixings for a dystopian future will be on the table.

President-elect Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump

In a realistic light, the outlook is awfully grim. No wonder a huge number of people in the United States are struggling with mixtures of grief, anger, frustration, fear.

If Donald Trump and major forces backing him get their way, the conditions described by Frederick Douglass — still all too prevalent now — will worsen in the years ahead: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

As James Baldwin wrote, “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

Those quotes from Douglass and Baldwin are in a book of paintings by Robert Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth. Another portrait in the collection appears under these words from Helen Keller: “When one comes to think of it, there are no such things as divine, immutable, or inalienable rights. Rights are things we get when we are strong enough to make good our claim on them.”

That statement from Keller aptly describes our current predicament and possibilities. The impending Trump presidency is a direct threat to basic human rights. To make good our claim on those rights will require that we become “strong enough,” individually and collectively.

Gaining such strength will require that we provide much more support for independent progressive institutions — the array of organizations that can serve as collective bulwarks against the momentum of systemic greed, bigotry, massive violence, economic exploitation and environmental destruction.

We’re now being flung into a new era that will intensify many of the oppressive aspects of the U.S. governmental apparatus and political economy. An ongoing imperative will be to mitigate serious-to-catastrophic damage in many realms. We need a united front — against the very real threat of severe repression that could morph into some form of fascism.

At this highly precarious time, progressives certainly don’t need the tempests of factional disputes and ideological battles. And we certainly don’t need the kind of reflexive capitulation that so often comes from the upper reaches of the Democratic Party. We’re at the start of a protracted crisis that could become cataclysmic. We need progressive unity and unrelenting determination.

Only with eyes wide open do we have a real chance to understand clearly and organize effectively against the Trump regime. Failure to put up a fight should be unthinkable.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of the online activist group RootsAction.org. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

23 comments for “Fleeing a Trump Presidency Not an Option

  1. Henry the K
    November 13, 2016 at 11:06

    Trump does not want to be president——oh yeah, he wants the attention and the perks, but not the job.

    He will be an absentee president, handing off the very difficult job of actually governing to his cast of freaks and clowns.

  2. Russ Gerrish
    November 12, 2016 at 03:19

    I honestly believe Trump will create a new party out of the Republicans. Donald has a business background which involves return on investment, cost-benefit, and other such analyses. None of the normal approaches to business decisions involve “politics”. He will work on eliminating waste, and there is a huge amount of that in the military. I believe he will overhaul the tax system and drastically simplify it. He has already pledged to invest in America’s infrastructure which will result in many thousands of jobs. I recall many a time when Obama did something, thinking to myself, “why don’t you concentrate on fixing your own back yard first?” Donald will do this. There will be a lot more logic involved with him in charge, a lot more concentration on his back yard, and a lot less on others. This is all in my humble opinion, of course.

  3. jack
    November 12, 2016 at 00:05

    “Canada, Europe and New Zealand are popular scenarios.”

    What makes those idiots think that they can just move to another country.. who the hell wants americans living next door to them? you idiots made your bed, and shit in it.. now lay in it! and stay the hell away from me – youre not welcome.

  4. Patrick
    November 11, 2016 at 22:21

    Can someone explain how this nice sounding word progressive is now being used instead of liberals , or more honestly socialist?

  5. Nancy
    November 11, 2016 at 22:18

    If Trump moves toward more transparent government with better trade agreements, an end to aggressive military policies, and some domestic policies that, in fact, favor all I would be very appreciative. No use inviting disaster and pushing fearmongering before the policies and actions begin.

  6. Bill Bodden
    November 11, 2016 at 21:08

    There are many groups of people in the United States including that small minority with the courage and integrity that struggles against huge odds to make this nation a decent place in which to live – one that provides liberty and justice for all. Their is another minority that wages war for the selfish interests of its members with callous disregard for all others. As this article indicates there is a third group that is prepared to abandon the people of the first group and leave the field to the second group. Good riddance, and my sympathy to the countries that accept them.

    The largest group of people consists of those noted for their apathy. As the old saying goes, they are the ones who do nothing other than let evil succeed.

  7. November 11, 2016 at 16:21

    Censorship is a formidable indication of so-called freedom of the press. Bravo consortium. You’re as good as the rest.

  8. evelync
    November 11, 2016 at 16:11

    “At this highly precarious time, progressives certainly don’t need the tempests of factional disputes and ideological battles……..We need progressive unity and unrelenting determination.”

    Yes indeed.
    The critical thinking necessary requires people like Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard, Russ Feingold (who lost, IMO, because Bernie Sanders was not at the top of the ticket). Current leadership of the Democratic Party is largely political hacks without the intelligence to fight their way out of a paper bag. They will continue to obstruct to hold onto power. They were unable to see that their candidate of choice was unable to win the trust of the voters, with 30 years behind her that proved why.
    If they are smart they will align behind people who understand the challenges and can solve problems.
    Clear thinking people like Bill McKibbon are needed.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    November 11, 2016 at 15:18

    Now that the Clintons are out of the picture, I think the Left would do itself well by searching out new truly liberal leaders. While protesting in the streets could be viewed as a positive form of dislike, for now it only rewards the ambitions of George Soros. Left thinking people need to realize that the Clintons and the Soros of our world are not out to lift all the lives of the common folk, but only out to enrich themselves at our expense. This could be a time to celebrate, that is if you plan on doing what’s needed done, and that my friends is to get involved anyway you can to help shape a new world. Ding, dong, the witch is dead…the wicked witch is dead! Cue the flying monkeys…

    • Peter Loeb
      November 12, 2016 at 08:35

      THE WICKED WITCH (to Joe Tedesky)

      was primarily the choice of the oppressive Israeli government. The HRC
      campaign was never strapped for funds! The rest of government had
      the courage of a date: never criticize Israel. One’s future would be
      at stake (or career). HRC would be, Israel believed, the most obedient hawk.

      Israel/AIPAC usually wins these battles. Remember William Fullbright,
      D-Ark. When he began to question AIPAC’s roles he was immediately
      replaced by defeat at the primary. Liquidated??

      Until such subservience to Israel is no longer the rule, there will
      be no success.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  10. exiled off mainstreet
    November 11, 2016 at 14:46

    From my left-wing perspective I am in full agreement with your view. Soros was a big man behind the scenes of this election and I think the new Trump administration needs to do a thoroughgoing investigation of Soros, the Clinton Foundation and fundraising effort, and the whole cynical neoliberal globalist cabal. It is a form of centrist fascism which was the reason Trump, falsely described as a fascist by the real fascist element, will have to confront if he is to be successful.

  11. jaycee
    November 11, 2016 at 14:00

    The immediate effect, it appears, is the end of the TPP and the beginning of a rapprochement with Russia. Those were two major pillars of what was going to continue with the Democrats in power – corporate trade pacts and international military tension – and it is astonishing that all the whining “progressives” can’t see this. The TPP alone would have radically changed the structure of our societies, and had been negotiated entirely in secret and was to have been made law without debate.

    • KB Gloria
      November 11, 2016 at 14:16

      hi jaycee–

      Some progressives did make a note a various Trump statements along those lines–and if junking the TPP and rapprochement with Russia come to be, I will celebrate. The concerns are: he so very often contradicted himself in the campaign, and most politicians, even “mavericks,” indulge in a lot of puffery to get elected–will he really be different from other politicians once the establishment gets a hold of him? He does not seem to be venturing beyond the beltway to recruit cabinet members or staff. This will be a fascinating case study, if nothing else.

  12. November 11, 2016 at 13:53


    “And so, the holier-than-thou crowd prefers Hillary, despite her unambiguous position that she would maximize conflict with Russia and China, provoke direct military conflict between the US and Russia by imposing a no-fly zone in Syria, attack Iran and other of Israel’s targets, further enrich her Wall Street handlers by privatizing Social Security, and prevent any dissent from the lowly people class of her high-handed ways. If William Rivers Pitt sees Trump as a Mussolini fascist, Trump is too mild for Pitt. He prefers Hillary, a Hitler to the third power.”

  13. Bill Bodden
    November 11, 2016 at 13:44

    At this highly precarious time, progressives certainly don’t need the tempests of factional disputes and ideological battles. And we certainly don’t need the kind of reflexive capitulation that so often comes from the upper reaches of the Democratic Party. We’re at the start of a protracted crisis that could become cataclysmic. We need progressive unity and unrelenting determination.

    Nothing of a progressive character will be achieved in either party – Democratic or Republican. The only solution is a third party, but a successful third party will not be created until there is an improvement in the quality of the American people. How bad is that? Well, if we accept the adage that a nation gets the kind of government it deserves then it follows that a nation also gets the kinds of candidates for president it deserves. So what does that say about the United States when a sizable consensus believes that Clinton and Trump were the worst two – ever?

    • backwardsevolution
      November 11, 2016 at 16:39

      Bill – yes, the leaders of any country are simply a mirror reflection of its citizens. You do get the kind of government you deserve. Now, if Trump follows through and shakes up the Republican Party (while attempting to stay alive by not ruffling too many feathers too quickly), if he follows through by negotiating with Russia, if he shakes up NATO, and stops the ridiculous trade treaties, perhaps those are good things? Maybe the people WERE listening and they DID elect someone who is a reflection of them. If that is the case, that is a very good sign, and it looks like it IS the case.

  14. Bill Bodden
    November 11, 2016 at 13:33

    A lot of U.S citizens are now talking about leaving the country. Canada, Europe and New Zealand are popular scenarios. Moving abroad might be an individual solution. But the social solution is to stay and put up a fight.

    But for many so-called US citizens who have been raised to become consumers instead of citizens the solution is to go shopping – in this case for another country in which they can contribute to its moral apathy just as they have to the United States. Obviously, all those pledges of allegiance mumbled since childhood were as meaningless as those recited daily in Congress.

    • chris moffatt
      November 12, 2016 at 11:41

      Those US citizens wishing to move to Canada might be disconcerted to find that Canada’s attitude to their immigration is essentially “what do you have to offer us?” and “WE decide who comes here or doesn’t”.

  15. Drew Hunkins
    November 11, 2016 at 11:37

    A real simple 2020 policy: $20 minimum wage for ALL, period, amen! It’s real simple to remember and slap on a bumper sticker in some fashion: $20 min in 2020.

    This is a laughably cheap proposal in the richest, most resourceful and wealthiest state humankind has ever witnessed.

    The real tragedy is that far, far too many Americans are ignorant of just how much wealth that top fraction of one percent have hoarded away or frittered around on derivatives fun and games. This handful of multi-multi-billionaires who make up our Owning Class (parasitic financial elite) are who have been reaping all the gains the hard working and wildly productive working people of America have produced over the last four decades.

    Just think of the massive amount of capital that would immediately sluice into the U.S. economy from the Demand side.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 11, 2016 at 16:24

      Drew Hunkins – the “massive amount of capital that would immediately sluice into the U.S. economy from the Demand side” would simply chase the Supply (of goods) side, forcing prices up. In no time at all, you’d be wanting $25.00/hour because $20.00 just didn’t cut it. This is elementary math.

      Instead, we need to keep wages the same, stop buying (and it’s really more like we can’t buy because we’re too much in debt), and let PRICES correct to the downside. They will, if you let them.

      Continually increasing the minimum wage, which forces prices up, we then increase the minimum wage again, which forces prices up…..a never-ending treadmill. And it doesn’t work. You don’t need MORE MONEY. You need prices to come down.

      If you really think it through, Drew, people actually do get hurt when what you call for happens. People who have worked their whole lives, saved money so they wouldn’t be a burden to society in their old age, get creamed when people like you call for continual inflation to bail yourself out. The money that people like our parents have saved becomes virtually worthless during inflation as their money was saved when wages were, say, $5.00/hour.

      Think it through. We need to let prices come down. No one would really care how much they get an hour, so long as they can cover their expenses and have some left over, but the reason no one has anything left over and the reason we’re always on this treadmill is because prices keep rising as there’s too much money (printed into existence by the government and banks) chasing a limited supply of goods.

      Let prices come down.

  16. Herman
    November 11, 2016 at 09:30

    My comments suddenly disappeared, I’m sure accidentally. The article is hyperbole at its worst. No the sky is not falling. I’m sure if Hillary had won someone would be taking the same tone but from a different perspective.

    Everyone has reason to worry about Donald Trump, he does often put his foot in his mouth. We now know what our judgement of him was not the judgement of enough people to make him President.

    But I do think there is reason to be hopeful, in that he does not represent the crowd that gave us Iraq, Syria, Libya and the new Cold War.

    This is enough to hope that his maverick strain will cause a shift in our foreign policy, which is the key issue for us and the world at this time. We do not know what he will do, perhaps we can expect he will not be able to do much, but at least his early statements that he will talk to Putin is reason to hope.

    With Clinton and the mad dog Congress, there was little reason to hope.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      November 11, 2016 at 14:41

      I agree with this response. The salient fact is that Trump, no matter what he does, is survivable because of what he is not going to do, challenge Russia to a war on behalf of terrorists sponsored by the yankee imperium. Types like Solomon, meanwhile, are believing too much of the propaganda. Trump’s negative rightwing policies, if they materialize, can be reversed later by a revitalised Democratic party purged of Clinton corporatism. In reality, I think he is more pragmatic than rightwing and can be convinced by realistic evidence. The harpy was a fraud on issues like global warming since she favoured giving sovereignty and regulatory power away to corporate paid arbitration courts, the goals of the so-called “trade” agreements that, as written could not have been reversed by future governments absent revolution. These two key factors were why the harpy had to be vanquished, and expose the petty naivete and/or fraudulence of those still supporting the neoliberal power structure. As a Canadian now both of these issues, war, the lunatic desire to dominate everything, and the related issue of “trade” pacts were indeed paramount.

    • Looking from afar
      November 12, 2016 at 02:43

      I agree with the above reader despite the fact that I usually like Norman Solomon. Look what Bush did!!!! I’ve read that Obama has deported more than any other president and unfortunately I think he did not do enough for this country.
      And I think the fault for Trump lies at the feet of the Democrats. It was Hillary’s turn and I find that ridiculous. I hope Trump will finally finish with all the wars in the Middle East and stop the meddling and interfering with the world.
      I just do not understand this hysteria over racism and sexism. I agree that it was the neoliberalism of the Clintons and so of the Democratic party that lost the election. Let’s hope it works out.

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