The Loyal Opposition

Given that Donald J. Trump is almost certainly our next president, I believe it's more important than ever for all moderates, centrists, reasonable liberals and sensible conservatives to join together in a loyal opposition. Because only by speaking with a loud and unified voice can we hope to blunt the damage this man--and I use the term loosely--could cause to our country and our world. To that end, I propose we start a discussion on the best way to build that opposition. I think at minimum we need a better communications platform to get our word out. We also need to work out some means for people to debate issues in a controlled fashion (like local debating societies or citizen assemblies) so that the people can find and build on common ground. I'm not sure blog posts are adequate for that purpose. This isn't about building a third party movement anymore. It's about the future of this Republic and its people. Trump cannot be allowed to govern unchallenged. With Congress in Republican hands, only an organized, active, and extremely vocal citizenry can provide that challenge.


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  • commented 2017-04-21 14:26:05 -0400
    With respect to President Trump, Mr. Wald, I would appreciate if you could be a little more specific with respect to the damage you see Donald Trump having the potential to cause. And what specifically do you believe needs to be challenged? Thank you.
  • tagged this with necessary 2017-01-28 19:59:39 -0500
  • commented 2017-01-28 19:51:46 -0500
    PROTEST, PROTEST AND RESIST
    actually the first week of President Trumps term of office is already in the books….and it would seem that the Protest & Resist groups are making quite a statement!
    As the majority is speaking…loudly, it would behoove the MWP to “tune-in” and listen, in earnest.
    The MWO Platform already refers and explains much of what the protesters are demanding. Out roll then, is shine the spotlight upon our values, our goals and yes, our Platform…it may very well be our greatest recruitment effort!

    respectfully, Jules in Ohio
  • commented 2016-11-20 14:30:15 -0500
    Michale Wald. I fully agree.

    I have a number of ideas along these lines I would like to discuss. Contra Modern Whig Western Region I do not think there is nearly enough discussion or intellectual heft behind the WMP to help recruitment on the basis of ideas. The ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist’ movement is a total and complete hodgepodge dominated largely by 35+ white dudes. Indeed, the very notion of ‘centrist’ is center… of what? the Left-Right? This new far-right Populist, Quasi-Libertarianish conservatism, and cultural progressivism? How does one triangulate the center there?

    So, I think you are absolutely right that we need to take a position on something, and being in the loyal opposition to the Trumpist movement – which is hostile to pretty much every traditional American political institution that there is and is directly hostile to the Madisonian constitutions. Personally, I think that the MWP should be a neo-republican party, in the literal sense – strongly supporting deliberative democratic reform at the local level, and strong connections between public and government (flowing up, not down) (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/republicanism/#RepGov). The MWP should blend Federalists views, christian democratic views, republican views, and the abandoned elements of New-Dealism to form a strong limited government position that rests on specific ‘ideological’ commitments to element of political process but none but ‘methodlogical’ standards on the basis of specific policy choices.

    I think at its core this philosophy keeps us centered, and admits a wide variety of non-extreme perspectives. It connects to the Whig tradition of the original American Whigs, as well as the thought of the founders… all the while being explicitly modern and well tuned to our current toubles. Best of all it gives us a language and set of principles to keep us on similar pages without having to changes pretty much anything about our program.
  • commented 2016-11-16 20:50:32 -0500
    Donald Trump is the result of a broken system. Before anyone mistakes this as populist stupid, or he has a populist mandate to rule

    9% of the population voted in the primaries, 14% of the eligible population voted.

    Voter turn out was abysmal. In the general election, trump got as many votes as John McCain’s dismal loss to Obama.

    Trump didn’t win as much as Clinton lost. The system did not produce any candidates people wanted to actually vote for, and people do not have confidence in the elections.

    I would like to see the electoral college repealed. Its a relic of a by-gone era.
  • commented 2016-11-13 02:08:05 -0500
    Tom Powers: Yes. Loudly and proudly. And I agree, he did make some great points. I’ve been mulling that chairmanship suggestion all day.

    I don’t think we have an answer to the ACA at this point. We should definitely discuss it. Even better if we can get some expert opinion. I’m mostly saying that right now we should try to protect what we have. We probably can’t stop the repeal—too many politicians are now too heavily invested in that—but we might be able to affect the length and type of the transition period and the shape (and possibly the very existence) of the replacement plan.
  • commented 2016-11-11 10:33:43 -0500
    My problem right now would be trying to receive some acknowledgement from my state’s chairwomen. I e-mailed her last month and this week on wanting the proper information as well as the acknowledgement to set up a chapter. She may receive the second one and I need give her time to check it, and I would like to reaffirm she’s a nice lady that I met at the convention. However, I am becoming impatient about the matter and question how often do state chairmen/women actually check their Whig e-mails, and why is there no standard for it.
  • commented 2016-11-11 06:18:40 -0500
    Michael Wald:
    I can fully agree with being ready to present our opinions loudly and proudly. I think that “Modern Whig West” did a great job of laying out what a strong political party needs to do to become a thought leader in the country.

    Do we have our own version of the Affordable Care Act? Obviously, a large percentage of the country has opposition to it as it is today, and therefore it could use some ‘tinkering’. Opposition to it is one of the reasons Republicans did so well this election.

    I’m the last person qualified to expound on the ACA; I’m not connected to the medical or insurance profession; nor know how to draft a law. I would love it however if one of our more informed fellow party members were to start an ACA forum. There we would do what we do best: Rational, fact-based debate leading to a reasonable set of proposals. Maybe it’s out there already, and I’m missing it? If so, my apologies.
  • tagged this with good 2016-11-11 06:18:40 -0500
  • commented 2016-11-11 00:47:49 -0500
    Tom Powers:

    Yes, of course we should reach out to president—and members of Congress. Granted, I have little confidence in the next administration actually caring what anyone thinks, but we can’t shut him out. It would defeat the purpose.

    I should probably clarify that while I singled out Trump in my first post, most of what’s here would apply to Clinton as well. But Trump presents a unique set of challenges, especially with a friendly Congress to back him up.

    I’m not exactly suggesting Civil War here, just a strong civil society bulwark against expected overreach. I’m suggesting to be prepared to put organized pressure on our representatives when they try to pull something detrimental to American society—with the amount of pressure dependent on what, exactly their trying to do. And also to educate Americans on why a certain course of action is detrimental, and why they should take time out of their busy lives to oppose it. Most of this is what we should have been doing all along.

    I also believe the same organization could back elected officials who place the people before their own interests. A strong Civil Society Coalition cuts both ways.

    I still have some hope that President Trump will be a better man than he showed on the campaign trail. I’m just not counting on it. I’d rather prepare ahead of time than wait until it’s too late.

    Case in point: The ACA will probably be repealed in January. While I don’t think they’ll rip the whole thing away right away (though I wouldn’t put it past some of them to try), I’m very suspicious of their willingness to provide a replacement. Especially since they had six years to write a new law, and they don’t even need to repeal the ACA ahead of time anyway—they could just stick a clause in the new law that repeals it.

    A lot of active citizens may just give them the incentive to write that mythical replacement they keep talking about if they want to keep their jobs. Especially active citizens in large numbers who have more than the six-month memory our politicians seem to think we all have. Passive citizens? They get ignored.
  • commented 2016-11-10 23:27:48 -0500
    In the west region of the party, we are forming local and regional chapters to build the party, and the subsequent movement you alluded to, from the bottom up.

    Before speaking with a loud and unified voice, you have to develop that voice. The best way to do that, and to build what you refer to as an opposition (possibly the only way nowadays), is to build a permanent and viable organization that will then attract all the various groups into a “big tent”. No other organization outside the MWP has the message, tools, and potential to do that.

    We just need to do it. Really no discussion necessary.

    One big weakness of the centrist/moderate movement is its lack of unity and cohesion. Everyone is OK with being an “independent”, playing in the mud of the two parties, addressing a single issue, etc. Through a nationwide network of active chapters, we can attract and activate the mass of people necessary to grab the attention of higher, like-minded candidates, supporters, donors, etc. better than any no-chance, no-support presidential or congressional candidate ever would.

    We just need to do it.

    The chapters will be your person-in-the-street communications platform, demonstrating the party and movement and not just talking about it.

    The chapters will be where people debate issues in a controlled fashion. First, at a local level as they work to address real local issues, and later as interconnected local and regional chapters addressing larger and higher-level issues and developing state parties.

    The centrist/moderate movement is chock-full of web sites, blogs, forums, social media, pseudo-money machines, etc. What it lacks, and what the MWP stands to deliver, is the people in the street showing others that there is a way to resolve issues and have respectable, functional, and participatory government, at ALL levels.

    We just need to do it.

    Unfortunately, until you get into the fabric of this thing, you really have no idea how much work is involved, how important getting help is, and how fractured the effort is with so many people sitting on the sidelines doing little more than wonking. (We have a Facebook group dedicated to that!) But the work still needs to be done.

    I have no idea what your position or standing (if any) with the party is. But if you are available, regardless of how much time you have to give, I would challenge you to commit yourself to six months as the North Dakota State Chair (it appears to be vacant).

    Use the position as your platform to get the word out. Organize and activate the state’s 20-30 party contacts into a leadership team to build as many local and regional chapters as possible. Get those debates started. Solve problems. Get local candidates signed on and elected. Obtain ballot access. Draw in like-minded organizations.

    If you are serious about it, you just need to do it.
  • commented 2016-11-10 22:06:19 -0500
    To be honest, I think that loyal opposition, ought to start with loyal suggestions to the President. Perhaps I’m crazy to think my voice is getting heard, but I’ve sent a few (what I’d like to think were) well written letters to politicians in the past, including Prez. Obama. Someone in the staff is reading them, I have gotten responses. Perhaps instead of starting up a battle with the man you don’t like, you try to convince him to think the way you do. This campaign brought up the worst of both candidates, and in a way the worst of all of us. Perhaps the way back from that is an inclusive approach. Try that first, before organizing a protest.

    We should forward him planks of the Whig platform for consideration to be included in his administration.
  • commented 2016-11-10 17:14:53 -0500
    As far as I know, there was never one to begin with. We do have a youtube channel, and I’m trying to motivate myself to help out with it. I briefly spoke to the communication director at the convention and he said he would like to see numerous people contribute to the channel. The contact e-mail for him is communication@modernwhig.org.
  • commented 2016-11-10 03:01:54 -0500
    On an unrelated note, does this forum not have a direct reply feature, or am I just blind?
  • commented 2016-11-10 03:01:02 -0500
    “I fully agree with this. The most important part now is to be active and start involving others like-minded in your community. From there, you start building a base that can host/organize larger events like citizen assemblies and be more aware of you local and state issues.”

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at organizing people and have a very small social circle—many of which are both very conservative Republicans and members of the Catholic branch of the Religious Right. Not very helpful.

    I don’t suppose there are any Whigs from eastern North Dakota or western Minnesota on this board?

    “Sure, moderate sounds like a nice mindset, but it will mean nothing on election day when they may revert to old habits.”

    I actually hate the word “moderate.” It sounds too squishy, and doesn’t conjure up the same kind of mental image as “conservative,” “liberal,” “progressive,” etc. Seems like even with millions of words in the English language we never really found one to represent mixed-bag politics.

    I’ve used the word “Christian democrat” and “One-Nation Conservative” to describe myself, but those are European labels and don’t really fit especially well. I’m open to suggestions.

    “Our platform, while alright, does not necessarily exhibit the great potential as a recruiting tool as I hoped. Wiggle rooms fine, but it lacks a some reasoning behind some of our stances that makes it hard to example to other people. Also, it is missing several key issues I believe is important to appeal to a grand base of moderates (Environment, not just Climate Change, Trade, Gun Policies, Civil Rights). Some more than others will be hot button issues, but to at least talk about will allow us to build a platform that in the end be more appealing. Things will in fact come to a head on our next convention about these, but they need to happen so we have some reasonable shot at running congressmen/women in 2024.”

    I’ve noticed these problems since first joining this party in 2012. Some of that’s just due this being a part-time gig for everyone. A lot more of it is just that trying to get refugees from other parties to agree on anything is like herding cats.

    I think what we need are some local councils to get together and write their state/regional platform. Then we can have a grand convention to decide the direction of the national party. Building from the bottom up should lead to something a bit more durable.

    Wasn’t that actually the plan a few years ago? I seem to remember something about “Whig associations” who were supposed to meet and report to national party. It never seemed to be fully fleshed out.

    “What does one mean by a stronger communication platform? I hear it, but I’m not sure what exactly it means. Do we need to do more on social media? Do we need our own newsletter? Do we need to hand out pamphlets? What will make our communication better? "

    Right now we don’t really have much of a communications platform at all. There’s a few blogs, some pod casts that nobody listens to, a Facebook page that only we seem to use, and this forum. And that’s pretty much it.

    I’m not really sure what direction this should take. Blogs and forums can easily get lost amidst the noise. Newspapers are dying. TV and radio are expensive.

    Offhand, I’d say we need a network of interlinked blogs of both regional and national scope. Most Whig blogs out right now seem to be fairly isolated operations, and that limits their reach.

    In my area, we have an independent newspaper called “The High Plains Reader.” It’s a small (slightly larger than tabloid sized), ad supported paper that covers politics (mostly left-wing), the local cultural scene and anything else the editors think important. You can find it offered free at libraries, grocery stores, etc. That could be a model for a Whig publication.

    Do we have a Youtube channel, or equivalent? A sub-redit? Can we get airtime at university radio, assuming that still exists?

    Maybe we should open another thread to discuss our options. Keep in mind though, this can’t just be about promoting the Whigs as a party. That’s a great goal in and of itself, but the most important thing is to promote an active civil society, regardless of the label they use.
  • tagged this with necessary 2016-11-09 16:56:07 -0500
  • tagged this with important 2016-11-09 16:56:07 -0500
  • commented 2016-11-09 04:31:51 -0500
    I fully agree with this. The most important part now is to be active and start involving others like-minded in your community. From there, you start building a base that can host/organize larger events like citizen assemblies and be more aware of you local and state issues. Outside of inactivity, my biggest concern stands as a lack of a way to solidify ourselves in thought. Sure, moderate sounds like a nice mindset, but it will mean nothing on election day when they may revert to old habits.

    Our platform, while alright, does not necessarily exhibit the great potential as a recruiting tool as I hoped. Wiggle rooms fine, but it lacks a some reasoning behind some of our stances that makes it hard to example to other people. Also, it is missing several key issues I believe is important to appeal to a grand base of moderates (Environment, not just Climate Change, Trade, Gun Policies, Civil Rights). Some more than others will be hot button issues, but to at least talk about will allow us to build a platform that in the end be more appealing. Things will in fact come to a head on our next convention about these, but they need to happen so we have some reasonable shot at running congressmen/women in 2024.

    The last thing will be a question. What does one mean by a stronger communication platform? I hear it, but I’m not sure what exactly it means. Do we need to do more on social media? Do we need our own newsletter? Do we need to hand out pamphlets? What will make our communication better?
  • tagged this with necessary 2016-11-09 04:31:50 -0500
  • tagged this with important 2016-11-09 04:31:50 -0500
  • tagged this with good 2016-11-09 04:31:50 -0500
  • commented 2016-11-09 02:01:57 -0500
    My apologies if that post broke rule #4…hard to stay apolitical when discussing politics.
  • published this page in Whig Forums 2016-11-09 01:54:31 -0500