President Donald Trump recently claimed fake news and media bias exaggerated negative public opinion about his first three months in office. Amid an unprecedented political climate of fear and uncertainty, nationwide protests against the Trump administration show no signs of diminishing.
Since the election, Trump has issued a flurry of executive orders and implemented new legislation aimed at issues he outlined during his campaign. Organized anti-Trump demonstrations have since beset the administration, demanding attention for these issues, ranging from women’s rights to the controversial executive order banning immigrants from eight specific middle-eastern countries.
The Women’s March, a national coalition calling for Trump’s impeachment based on his alleged sexism, attracted as many as 4.6 million demonstrators nationwide last month, nearly 600,000 of whom protested in Washington. The Women’s March has not stopped at public demonstrations, publishing a “resistance manual” outlining ways to battle “regressive aspects” of Trump’s policy platform.
Grace Mayes, sophomore history major, feels part of the negative perception of Trump’s administration has been the result of social media coverage. “The left likes to pursue high profile protests, specifically rallying on social media, and the right likes to take very public platforms to criticize said protests,” Mayes said. She further indicated that social media may also account for the increase in rallying by protesters, who now “band together a lot more than in the past.”
Women aren’t the only minorities crying out. Various minority groups have coalesced on contentious political issues, planning out protests ahead of time, many of which aim for doorsteps of the White House itself.
Leaders of the Women’s March coalition, participants of moveon.org, and the Indivisible Project will hold a “Tax March” in Washington and at least 60 other locations on April 15, signifying the end of tax season and a mandate for Trump to release his still-undisclosed 2016 tax information. This is just a week before another planned protest, the March for Science, at which scientists and science enthusiasts plan to gather at National Mall to demand policy changes related to science.
Daniel Bennett, John Brown University political science assistant professor, explained the motivation behind the protests as the changeover from a democratic to a republican majority. “Any time you see a change in American politics at that level – from George W. Bush to Barack Obama or Barack Obama to Donald Trump – people who are on the opposite side of that spectrum are going to be mobilized in opposition,” Bennett said.
Negativity from polls has not been met with silence from the Oval Office. On a Fox&Friends interview last month, Trump also blamed Obama and his followers for recent embarrassing information leaks related to national security. In a Feb 25 tweet, Trump suggested a counter-protest. “Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally. It would be the biggest of them all,” Trump said.
Bennett observed that there haven’t been many pro-Trump rallies. “Partly because they haven’t been covered,” Bennett said. “Occasionally, you’ll see photos of people at rallies with pro-Trump signs, ‘Make America Great Again,’ that sort of thing.”
Bennett suggested protestors have genuine motives. “People are busy. It takes a lot of effort to go out and do that. There’s a cost involved. People were genuine when they were protesting Obama; they legitimately thought, correctly or not, that he was going to turn this country into a shell of what it once was. People now are concerned Trump is going to do the same thing,” Bennett said.
During a political climate where individual liberties seem to be in constant jeopardy, the American people are rallying to demand stability, equality and peace.