A Response to Executive Disorders; The Carrot & The Sledgehammer Approach

Here is a thought; Ever since Mr. Trump came to power he’s been using his play time (or should I say show time) to sign all kinds of weird/wonderful executive orders (mostly weird). This coupled with the traction gained by ultra-right movement throughout Europe it is obvious that we as liberals need to fight back and fight back hard. One way forward is applying The Carrot & The Sledgehammer approach;

The Carrot

We should use every opportunity to interact/debate with disenchanted voters who have moved to the right as a protest vote in response to failed government policies on a variety of topics including migration/integration, economy, etc. or merely due to lack of confidence in candidates reflecting same ideology. These people have quite valid concerns and need to be heard so that together we can find better alternative that actually work. These are the people we really need to connect with rather than focusing on criticising ultra-right party leaders who seek to segregate their followers through shallow narratives that build on promoting fear/political divisiveness. An excellent example of this outreach which I hope we can begin applying in Europe are TV debates like this one attended by one of the most influential Liberal politicians Bernie Sanders which I truly respect/admire (and in retrospect think he would have been a better challenger to Trump).

So the bottom line is that we need to be creative in connecting with these disenchanted voters and be the ones taking the lead in building bridges/removing virtual walls -the media is a big part of this effort.

The Sledgehammer

We need to be very attentive to actions/rhetoric by ultra-right parties to ensure they are held accountable whenever they choose to take controversial action/positions that clearly violate our democratic/liberal values/traditions. What is important though is that we call out such action in a unified/firm manner rather than relying totally on isolated/uncoordinated efforts. It would also be useful were possible to develop cross-border coordination in such efforts to help counter the now all but obvious cross-border coordination of ultra right parties. A good example of this is the latest refugee executive order signed by Mr. Trump of travel ban on Muslim majority countries. This order triggered a wave of reaction from US technology companies critical of such a policy. However such response would have probably had stronger impact if it was unified and possibly included tech companies across the world. It is therefore incredibly important that when we have an opportunity to react to controversial policies we do so in such a way that it really counts.

Finally, just to say that I actually believe the challenges we face today as Liberals can & should be utilised as lessons learnt to help us develop into a broader/ever stronger political movement, one that crosses geographic boundaries. This does require political leadership that is able to guide us towards that path. We’ve really been able to achieve quite a lot in the last 8 years on a variety of topics like the Environment, Globalisation & Security to allow some one to make us all take a gigantic U-turn. We need prudent policy to enhance/reform and not panic politics to destroy.

Prediction; It will be a rocky ride for Mr Trump from D-Day and will end up alienating many of the GOP base. It is also very likely to be a period that witnesses increased levels of protests, civil disobedience and lawsuits as there isn’t much power for political opposition in current composition of US Congress. This translates to less US influence on the International front and a reversal of Democrats fortunes on the national front. Efforts of current administration will be mostly wasted on putting down fires stirred up by Trumps actions/statements which could at one extreme level lead to the proposition of impeachment.

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