We have to do better than just supporting “Anti-Trump” candidates


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) argues that democratic candidates need to make sentiments into policy. 

According to a recent article by NBC, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- New York) recently warned against Democrats running simply as “anti-Trump.” Rather, he stresses that these candidates need to make an effort to put an emphasis on policy-making and problem solving for the issues that have been created and perpetuated in the past year. This is an interesting call to action and has several implications which are worth considering as we go forward.

On the one hand, it can be quite easy to disagree with Schumer on his take. For one thing, being anti-Trump has several implications if only by virtue of what we can now associate Trump with. A candidate which claims to be anti-Trump would automatically have the benefit of being seen as anti-corruption, anti-misogyny, anti-Russian collusion etcetera; if only because that’s how Trump is seen.

After all, much of Trump’s early presidency has been marred by lies, controversy and lots and lots of vacation days. Why wouldn’t we want a candidate who was intrinsically against that sort of thing? A candidate that emphasizes comprehensive family planning, women’s health, equal education opportunities, gun control, a progressive tax system, hard work, racial equality and the like.

That being said, while being anti-Trump is a good start, it cannot be the end-point. In order for their to be adequate change and progress we cannot simply be against something: we have to be fighting towards something as well. Sure, we have a lot of reasons to detest the Trump presidency, but if we spend all our time being against something we can never make any headway.

In a lot of ways, this is what has crippled the Trump administration so severely. Rather than focusing on creation, Trump’s policies have been largely those of negation: dismantling Obamacare, removing immigrants, defunding women’s health centers and the humanities and whatnot. It would be really easy to simply chalk it up to something karmatic, like all the negative energy is simply spoiling their efforts, but I feel it’s something less grand. The Trump administration is based first and foremost on undermining liberal policies rather than making conservative ones. It’s about taking things back, not moving things forward.

Because of this, Schumer’s warning should be taken with the utmost seriousness. After all, if Democrats do not make a concerted effort to actually decide upon their own policies rather than just dismantling Trump’s, they run the risk of being caught in the very same trap that makes the current administration so deplorable in the first place.

With this in mind, I have two calls to action. The first is merely to echo Schumer: Democrats, please, for the love of all that is holy, actually determine your policies and what needs to be taken care of. Don’t just label yourself anti-Trump and call it a day; tell us what you plan to do to actually better the situation that America is in.

And to voters, don’t just vote for a candidate because they fulfill your party or identify as anti-Trump. We must be critical and suspicious of our politicians; we must ensure they fulfill what it is that we need. It’s not only their job, but it’s our job to hold them accountable. Being anti-Trump may be a start, but we have to do so much more.