The potent position of American populism

The bad news.

Facts have been forsaken;
Democracy is being tested;
It's the toughest time to be a journalist in the history of news;
The disrespect of women does not appear to be incidental;
A dramatic increase in domestic surveillance seems inevitable (if that's even possible);
And the baseless vilification of other humans goes on.

And on. And on.

Oh, and apparently, a trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States has been deployed:

That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.
— Yonatan Zunger

But in the midst of this terrifying modern melee, reacting emotionally just isn't a strong strategy.

The antidote?

Make it plain.

The president isn't stupid. Though we take comfort in seeing him that way.

His team put together a truly remarkable (though not entirely original) position. And they put it on hats.

To beat a message that resonated so clearly and effectively for 62 million voters, you need an equally potent counter message. This does not yet exist (and was a major reason why Hillary fell short). 

The good news

The most exciting new movements are made up of citizens organizing to protect those who will be victimized by Trump's policies.

Roughly 300 Londoners attended a solidarity rally at the London Muslim Mosque, January 30, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Roughly 300 Londoners attended a solidarity rally at the London Muslim Mosque, January 30, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

The Trump disaster is restoring a culture of protest, activism and empowerment which is really effective when it is galvanized the right way, and has been lacking for a long time globally. The fact that recent movements and protests happened organically and are citizen-driven is one of the most hopeful things to come out of the American election.

But as one of our fave CEO's always reminds us - hope is not a strategy. And shining a light on "truth" apparently isn't enough either:

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are
presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it
is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief
— Frantz Fanon

So how do we restore morale?

Right this minute, more people are paying attention and more people are taking seriously the things we've taken for granted for too long.

That said, the most clear and present danger is resistance fatigue. So the question strategists need to be asking now is: how do we grow the ranks of the original marches into a movement?

Because marches alone are rarely successful in convincing anyone else of anything unless there's a serious, simple, understandable and shareable story to go with them.

A clear set of demands. A clear message of desired outcomes. Clear next steps.

Democracy, decency and equality need our attention now more than ever. Without it, our home and native land could be 992 days away from the same fate. 

But it doesn't have to be that way.

And it all starts with a clear and potent position.