Chicago Muzzles Trump

by Marilyn Katz

Congratulations to the people—young and old, Black, Latino, Asian and White, Muslim, Christian and Jewish. They did what neither his competitors nor the Republican Party have been able to do—still the voice and the vitriol of Donald Trump.

They didn’t do it through violence, or shouting.  No dirty tricks—just the old fashioned way. They organized.

It all began early this week with an online petition to UIC to deny Trump the use of the publicly-supported facility on the basis that the rally posed a threat to the security and safety of students.  This, tactic, in turn, led to two others. They ensured that opponents of Trumps’ racist, anti-choice, anti-immigrant policies and statements could secure seats in the pavilion.  It appears that hundreds, if not thousands, took the opportunity to secure a free ticket.  I know that I did.  Trump was denied the backdrop of 10,000 adoring supporters. Finally, they organized dozens of civil, women’s, labor and immigrants’ rights organizations to protest outside of the venue and to reflect the vision of the diversity and unity that makes our cities and our nation great.

And they succeeded.  Faced, not with the threat of violence but lack of control of the message or the montage, Trump retreated. What is now clear is that the answer to the rise of Trump is organization.

In Chicago at the Trump rally that was cancelled
In Chicago at the Trump rally that was cancelled

What CHICAGO did was turn a tennis match into a team sport—relaying not on the comments or stature of a few alternatives to Trump but on the power of thousands of ordinary people, in the full bloom of their diversity, to come together to create the effective force needed to shut him up.

The media has given Trump a pass—covering his brilliantly staged events, playing right into his hand.  The more outrageous the statement, the more coverage. More coverage means more adulation by the thousands of people facing poverty and uncertainty who find it easier to turn on the poor, on women and on minorities, than on the corporations or Wall Street that have robbed them of their jobs or their future.  Even when the media criticized the position, the coverage promised new recruits.

Similarly, the Republican establishment’s effort to thwart Trump’s rise has failed; from Bush and Romney’s denunciation, to Rubio’s expose of Trump’s failures, and the Koch brothers’ massive advertising expenditure. It is like watching a singles tennis match where one player always wins.

What CHICAGO did was turn a tennis match into a team sport—relaying not on the comments or stature of a few alternatives to Trump but on the power of thousands of ordinary people, in the full bloom of their diversity, to come together to create the effective force needed to shut him up.

It will not be the Democratic alternative that saves this nation from an inalterable shift to the right, rather led by Trump or the even scarier Ted Cruz. It will not be slick commercials, targeted vote operations, or thoughtful editorial condemnations.  As in every successful forward movement, it will be organized people, on the ground, aided now by the power of technology, that will have the power to  stem the tide of reaction (some might call it fascism) that is the danger our nation faces.

Whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton ultimately leads the Democratic Party, what Bernie says is true. To change the course of this election, indeed the nation, will take a revolution—of the people, by the people and for the people. CHICAGO has given us a glimpse of how it can be done.

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