For each action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.
—Newton’s third law.
By Alec Pruchnicki
After the Electoral College put President Trump in the White House, it appeared that he had invigorated the Republican Party. Mainline Republicans were cowed by his political followers into being spineless enablers of his policies at the same time that he brought new groups such as the Alt-right and white supremacists into prominence. But, it soon became clear that he had also invigorated the Democratic Party. The Trump effect spurred both parties to action and, with due deference to Sir Isaac Newton, the reaction against him might actually be greater, not equal, to the initial reaction of his election.
In a way, he even became my muse. My anger at his election caused me to write my first book ever, A Really Huge Christmas Carol, Believe Me, which replaced Scrooge with Trump and used satire to attack his politics. Satire can be a weapon, and that’s what I was aiming for.
I wasn’t alone. Youtube is filled with video satires of Trump, and Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live is so annoying that Trump is even contemplating legal action. The recent election results with the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, along with various state legislatures and governors mansions, shows that these victories are not just in the field of entertainment.
But, the real depth of Democratic response to Trump was made clear to me after the recent election of officers to the Village Independent Democratic (VID) club, to which I belong. David Siffert was elected president and the three new vice presidents were Eric Bottcher, Sara Kimbell, and Allison Stowell. Eric Bottcher has been involved in politics for years and is Speaker Cory Johnson’s chief of staff, but the others are all relatively new to club politics. In their autobiographical statements during the election, each of the three said that they were driven to get involved right after the election of Trump. They joined the VID, became extremely active, and were elected to significant positions by the club’s membership.
This effect isn’t limited to the VID. Besides the national House races, locally the 19th district of the Hudson Valley was won by a newcomer to electoral politics, Democrat Antonio Delgado. The 11th district, including Staten Island, was also won by a newcomer, Democrat Max Rose. Staten Island! Both defeated incumbent Republicans who were endorsed by Trump. Trump has managed to recruit an entire new generation of political activists, all arrayed against him and his Republican allies.
Will this last? When Trump leaves office, by impeachment, resignation, election or cheeseburger induced illness, will these activists become passive and tolerant of Pence or whoever comes next? This isn’t too likely. I can tell from my own experience, that once you get involved in politics, even at a grass roots club level, it is hard to go back to apathy or acceptance. Once you learn to fight back, you keep doing so. So, President Trump, thanks for energizing the Democratic Party.