We are seeing massive protests in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Instead of focusing on the validity of their cause, I’d like to predict where it might lead.
This appears to be a grass roots movement. Each group has their own agenda but there seems to be two major themes. One, like the Women’s March on Washington, is focused on protecting the rights of women, minorities and the LGBT community. They are generally peaceful. The other is focused more on hating Trump as a person. These include the ones who want to impeach him or deny that he is a legitimate president. They can occasionally be violent.
It might be useful to look at other mass movements. The civil rights movement was extremely successful and transformed America. It was well organized with a carefully thought out strategy. Martin Luther King borrowed Gandhi’s tactics of peaceful disobedience. They transformed America by changing both hearts and minds. To go from segregation to a black president in fifty years is a tremendous accomplishment.
The goal of the antiwar movement was eventually achieved. It was likely accomplished despite them not because of them. They often hurt their cause. The violence and their behavior turned off many Americans. They generally acted out of emotion rather than developing an effective strategy.
The women’s movement was very successful in changing the role of women. However, it was less successful politically. The Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass. They often detracted from their cause by burning bras and other stunts.
The Tea Party was effective at gaining opposition to Obamacare and other issues. They often hurt their cause by taking extreme positions and pushing unelectable candidates. Remember the lady who wasn’t a witch and the man who said a woman’s body “shuts down” in the event of a rape?
Today’s protests are unorganized, undisciplined and lack focus. They seem to have no goal except for expressing their hatred for Trump. It is hard to gather support for something that may or may not happen. They hurt their cause every time someone torches a car, roughs up a war widow or talks about blowing up the White House.
A few years ago people with nothing better to do camped out in Wall Street. They made headlines across the country. I remember one woman saying this had the same significance as the Revolutionary War. In the long run they accomplished nothing. The only thing these demonstrators might achieve is to further damage the Democratic Party.