Confidence is a very important part of success. Love him or hate him, one of the reasons for the success of Donald Trump is his tremendous self-confidence. No one is better at believing his own lies, or buying into his own hype. Even when polls showed him losing he vowed to prove them all wrong and pull off a shocking upset.
Don’t get the wrong ideas, confidence is more than the tool of the con artist or the self – promoting liar. Confidence is an attitude, an affectation that has no bias. It’s also effective for honest people. You could argue it’s even more effective. Who could be more confident than a person who knows they’re telling the absolute truth? That’s the advantage we have on the Left. Truth is on our side.
Here’s another truth. The resistance has a bright future if it can hang on through the next few years. The Trump regime is looking to steamroll any challengers to its authority. We can’t and won’t let that happen.
There are larger trends that ought to inspire confidence in the left. Thanks to work of groups such as BLM, we’ve made progress in the fight for social justice. More than ever Americans realize the huge problems of inequality. There’s the wide acceptance of the rights of LBGT community, including marriage equality. These trends are going to be very hard to reverse, even with GOP domination of government.
But a deeper reason to be confident is that fact that confidence is contagious. Faith and optimism energizes people. And energy wins elections.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Americans today take so many things for granted. Clear air. Clean food and water. Labor rights. We have these things because people on the political Left fought for them.
The left’s accomplishments are almost too many to name. Building the social safety net. Cleaning up our environment. Giving poorer Americans access to healthcare. Securing equal rights for all kinds of people.
That’s a problem for Republicans. Once people start receiving benefits, they don’t want to give them up. Obamacare is a prime example.
The ACA has given benefits to millions who don’t want them taken away. As Joy Reid said, Trump voters “hated the Obama, but they liked the care.” Further, the idea that healthcare is a right has gone from kooky leftist theory to popular belief.
We should have the confidence to realize one important fact. Any attempt to mess with policies that benefit millions will meet resistance. Trump and his cronies will do their damage. But there’s only so much than can ruin.
Faced with a severe challenge, real America is showing signs of life. Protesters are hitting the streets in droves. Young people are becoming more engaged. They’re fighting the messages of hate spewed on college campuses in the guise of free speech.
Emboldened by Trump’s win, Republicans are pursuing their true dreams. That is to cut our hard-won social safety net. Medicare. Social Security. Medicaid. The ACA.
The response to these efforts has been vicious. Crowds of angry citizens at Town Halls let Washington know not to mess with their healthcare. And that Obamacare may not be perfect, but its far better than the way things used to be.
So far the Trump crew has managed to pass no major legislation. That’s a humiliating defeat for a man who promised action from day one of his presidency. His major accomplishment has been appointing people to positions they don’t deserve. I’m looking at you Dr. Ben Carson.
Now there is a chance the GOP could repeal and replace the ACA. But if they do, even Trump voters might finally turn their backs. This could be a risk Republicans are willing to take.
Trump’s Incompetence Will Open Doors For Us
At the beginning of this piece I praised the brash confidence of Donald Trump. But confidence without the skills to back it up means nothing. Trump was a skilled enough liar to fool millions. But this won’t help him deliver on his promises.
In short, Trump can’t make life better for Americans. But we on the left can. We need to show the same confidence in our ideas as Trump voters have in Donnie the Great.
Trump promised to use his big business experience to address some serious problems. He promised to “fix” healthcare, bring jobs back and improve education. As a result, lots of scared people got fooled. Here’s the problem with that: Trump’s solutions can’t work. They are bad ideas that have already failed. Tax cuts. Deregulation. Corporate giveaways. War for profit. All these got us in trouble under the last GOP president.
This presents our side with an opening. It’s clear Americans have short memories. But the further we get into the Trump presidency the more he’ll remind folks why they don’t like Republicans.
The Left Has Untapped Potential
I know you’ve heard the saying, “demographics is destiny. ” This may be true in the long run, but only in the long run. The left can’t base confidence in its own future on a growing non-white population alone. But this doesn’t make demographics a non-factor.
Right now swing states tilt Republican. They tend to have a high concentration of white voters without college degrees. This is Trump’s base. They showed up to vote for their savior in 2016.
But can the GOP count on this to happen each election cycle? Sure Trump’s base is solid for now. But if enthusiasm wanes a little they’re in deep trouble. And it wouldn’t take much to swing things the other way. The percentage of white non-college voters drops by 3 points every four years. Those voters are being replaced by minorities and the college-educated.
Race and education are not the only meaningful divisions. Age is a factor too. In 2016 people born after 1960 accounted for 57 percent of eligible voters. By 2024 they will account for more than two-thirds. The GOP isn’t very popular with this growing group of voters.
Party identification should be another reason for confidence on the left. Millennials identify as Democrat by 54 percent to 33 percent over Republicans. Baby boomers were dead even at 44 percent for each party. Older Americans preferred the GOP by 48 percent to 44 percent.
In conclusion, the right far has less margin for error. They need high turnout for their side, and low turnout for Democrats to have a chance. If Democrats can make any headway whatsoever with Trump’s base, the GOP is toast.
Confidence Is Contagious
Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it. ― Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
Today’s Left has a troubling tendency towards doom and gloom. But most people aren’t swayed by negativity. Constant moaning isn’t how you mobilize on a scale large enough to make a difference.
Yet, social criticism has its place. To create a better society we need to talk about the flaws in our flawed system. But what good is criticism without action?
Inspiring a social movement takes three things. Leadership. Vision. And the courage to speak the truth. Its hard to get folks to follow you if you don’t know where you’re going. At point some you have to convince people success is possible. Projecting confidence in our vision for America is the key to success.