The protests that erupted in several major cities after the election of Donald Trump as president were certainly expected. But Democrats, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, or conservative "Never Trumpers" who decide to continue to demonize Trump like these protesters are making a big and self-destructive mistake.
The reason is simple: Trump is not a career politician with positions set in stone. Like anyone just getting into the political world, Trump's positions on a number of policies have evolved ever since he began his campaign in 2015. Writing him off as a typical conservative, liberal or any other label is foolish. There has simply never been a president-elect more likely to change his mind on the issues, because he hasn't yet made up his mind on so many of those issues.
Nowhere is that more evident than it is with social issues. Wednesday night's protests were dominated by chants accusing Trump of being racist, sexist, and a homophobe. But are we really supposed to believe that a man who's been a very public playboy in the Manhattan social scene for 30-plus years is some kind of social conservative? Does anyone think Trump believes he has a mandate to roll back abortion laws, repeal gay marriage, or wipe out affirmative action?
Based on everything Trump said in rally after rally, especially down the stretch of the campaign, social issues are barely on his or his staff's radar. And when it is, it's not exactly regressive. Remember that, during his Republican convention acceptance speech, he called for gay rights and made a dramatic point of pausing to acknowledge to crowd's accompanying applause.
Contrast that with some of the leaders of the business community. Many of them are either staying silent or reaching out to Trump despite not supporting him in the election. The most stark example of this kind of wiser move comes from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Bezos, who also owns a controlling interest in the Washington Post, became a target for Trump's ire earlier this year after the newspaper began a steady stream of critical items about Trump on its news and editorial pages. Trump responded by saying Amazon might be a monopoly that should be broken up, and that he was considering suing the Post for libel. Who knows how Bezos reacted to Trump's election late Tuesday night, but publicly Bezos is extending an olive branch with this tweet Wednesday:
"Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump. I for one give him my most open mind and wish him great success in his service to the country."
But that's not all. Just look at what some of Trump's sharpest political detractors are doing now. Senator Bernie Sanders issued a statement acknowledging that Trump has tapped into legitimate frustrations over "establishment economics and establishment politics." And he promised to work with Trump to fix that. SenatorElizabeth Warren has made similar comments, saying she will put aside her differences with Trump to, "rebuild our economy for working people." Sanders and Warren still peppered those conciliatory comments with sharp threats to oppose Trump on social issues, but they did not make that the sum total of their statements.
The anti-Trump protesters offer no such common ground. For them, it's all gloom and doom in all of its flag-burning, civil disobedience glory.
Instead, I would recommend simply asking him for the support for the cause or right you are fighting for. With his track record, you never know! He just may support it. In any case, that just seems like a more logical move at this point than making him an enemy before you even give him a chance to be an ally.