Despite Trump’s specious bluster about “easily” winning an election in which his opponent got almost 3 million more votes than he did, he will enter office with the most feeble public support of any incoming modern president. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, his job approval rating has sunk to just 37 percent among voters (unsurprisingly, that’s even lower among women voters), while only 30 percent of voters approve of his cabinet nominations overall (his nomination of former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is supported by just 23 percent of voters).
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict these numbers won’t be improving anytime soon.
But even politically weak presidents — who know they have lost (or, in Donald Trump’s case, never really had) the support of the electorate — nevertheless occupy an office that’s vested with incredible power. That’s a dangerous combination. In Trump’s case, it’s not simply a matter of bad policies (though there will be plenty of those) — he threatens fundamental freedoms, protections, human rights, and environmental safeguards for millions of people. And all we have to protect us is the very democracy that is under attack.
That power and the fragility of that democracy must have been on President Obama’s mind when he wrote the farewell address he delivered in Chicago earlier this week. Toward the end, our out-going president, a constitutional scholar, made this point:
“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power — with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms.”
Donald Trump’s ability to wield power will depend on us and, as President Obama put it, how we choose to participate. Will we stand up to a president who denies the reality of climate change and openly attacks women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, workers, and so many more? Or will we grimace and look the other way until it’s too late?
Speaking for myself, I never want to look back and realize that I failed to do everything I could to stop this man. And speaking for the Sierra Club, we are totally committed to showing up in support of those who are threatened by Donald Trump, both before and after the inauguration. That includes the Nationwide Mobilization to Protect Immigrants and Refugees happening this weekend and the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, the day after Trump is sworn in. I encourage you to participate in both of these displays of solidarity against Trump’s reckless and dangerous agenda.
The Sierra Club is also, of course, a partner with the People’s Climate Movement, which is calling for hundreds of actions around the country to take place during the first 100 hours of the Trump administration. And on April 29, we will be in Washington, D.C, for what should be the biggest U.S. climate march of all time. Find out about that and other People’s Climate Movement events here.
What ties these events together is not just that they oppose Trump and his radical agenda. We are joining to build a movement that is bigger than any single issue — a movement united behind principles of equity, justice, and human rights. If we want to defeat not just Trump but also his allies and would-be successors, this is what we need to do: Take a stand together, march together, and win together.
See you there!
P.S. To hear more about how we will be fighting back, join me for a special Facebook Live event on Tuesday, January 17, at 11:00 AM PST / 2:00 PM EST. I’ll be sharing more about the Sierra Club’s strategy for resisting the Trump administration’s anticipated assault on the environment, as well as how you can stay involved in the fight to protect our land, water, communities, and climate. If you’ve got any specific questions or issues that you’d like me to address, submit them here.