I was corresponding with a friend recently about what one can do to help repair the damage. This is what I came up with:
1. Support independent journalists, and encourage others to do the same.
What we most need during the next four years is a lot of people digging around and uncovering stuff. Facts have not become wholly irrelevant yet. Facts are at least part of how groups of people construct narratives, and narrative momentum counts for a lot. Trump had it during the campaign, but he’s already entering office with record disapproval ratings. That means the right alternative narrative can take hold very easily; many people are looking for it already.
3. Tell your representatives you support financial transparency for Presidential candidates.
Legislatures (state legislatures, not just Congress!) can require financial transparency from Presidential candidates. If Trump can’t be on the ballot in some states in 2020 because they require release of tax returns and he won’t do it, that’s a fine and democratic outcome. It’s already required for some offices, just not for President. Several states are considering such bills; we should press for it everywhere. If it’s already being considered in your state, let your representatives know you support it. I’m trying to find out if anyone’s submitted a bill like this in my own state of Illinois. In the meantime, here’s California, New Mexico, Maine, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and thank goodness for Ron Wyden in the U.S. Senate. These bills haven’t passed yet, but in some states they can. The one in the Senate probably won’t, of course, but the attempt to do so would be useful in raising awareness of the state-level efforts.
4. Support openly anti-Trump Republicans in their primaries.
If your district has competitive GOP primaries, support anti-Trump Republican politicians. It’s okay to be involved in a Republican primary even if you do not consider yourself a Republican. Political parties are not clubs, and political affiliation is not a kind of membership. By definition, any primary election in which you are qualified to vote is one in which you have the right to vote. Use it. You can vote for someone else in the general election, but please help responsible Republicans change their party’s direction, for everyone’s sake.
5. Send letters to GOP representatives of whom you are a constituent, letting them know when you are against Trump.
(You’ll have plenty of chances to do so, don’t worry.) Most of the country doesn’t like Trump already, and that includes a lot of Republicans. If GOP representatives start sensing that Trump is electorally dangerous, they’ll start opposing him too.