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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 11:35 pm | Fair 47º


Susan Estrich: So Now It’s Real

On Monday, the Electoral College elected Donald Trump. There were more defectors than usual, but not enough to be more than a blip.

As everyone who is grinning right now will tell you, more electors defected against Clinton than against Trump.

Who cares? One vote does not matter in the Electoral College.

Trump will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017. God help us all.

At the end of the famous movie "The Candidate," the newly elected senator says, "What do we do now?"

Donald Trump will never ask that question, because, of course, he knows everything. For myself, I've decided to show Donald as much respect as he has shown the presidency.

I'm going to keep calling him Donald. Donald and the first lady. Donald and the chief justice. Donald Duck. No, that's not fair to the duck.

But seriously, it is so tempting to tell jokes about Trump because the truth seems like it must be a joke. It isn't.

On Monday, the electors voted. The last step. Donald Trump will supplant Barack Obama. Seriously, what do you do?

If you're sitting in Washington, D.C., especially if you're out of work and trying to figure out how you are going to survive, the answer is easy. Go home.

I don't mean move home to your old bedroom covered with Obama posters, although you may camp there. I mean go home and organize and run.

That was the message Jim Hightower, then-commissioner of agriculture for Texas, delivered to a group of moaners back in 1981, after the Democrats lost the White House and the Senate.

Unless you have a job fighting Ronald Reagan, go home and run against Reagan's local guys, Hightower told us. Of course, he was right.

Staffers on the Hill and in agencies are not swamp denizens. For the top salary of a first-year firm lawyer, these people make billion-dollar decisions from crammed, shared offices with no real amenities.

You can hit the ceiling very quickly. Most of them do this work because they think it matters, and it does. 

But if you really want to change things, if you think the man in charge doesn't know what he's doing (who knew we would be yearning for Reagan so soon?), then go home and build from the bottom up.

If you start in Washington and stay too long, you'll never leave. You'll forget that there are people who don't include their bosses in their names.

There are people who worry about things other than elections. Go and run.

And if you're standing on a bridge waving a sign, blocking traffic for working people and yelling obscenities about Trump, get off the bridge.

You are accomplishing absolutely nothing, except to make people think you're doing exactly what Hillary Clinton condemned: refusing to accept the results of the election.

Trump won, OK? He didn't win the popular vote, but it only matters if you win the Electoral College vote — unless the Constitution is changed, which it won't be, for the same reason it's written the way it is: to avoid becoming the United States of California and New York.

So get off the bridge. You're blocking traffic and making Trump supporters happy. (Are you familiar with the term "counterproductive"?)

Instead, register to vote (half the kids who were arrested protesting in Portland). Then get 10 other kids to register to vote.

Already you'll have accomplished more than you did on that bridge.

And if you can get each of your 10 to contact 10 more, you now have a political organization. And if they each contact 10 people in turn, you are now a voting bloc.

You are a power player, with the power to do more than slow down traffic. You might even be able to get something passed. Power, anyone? 

Trump isn't the only one who can play this game. Start practicing.

We old-timers will teach you everything we know; we will help you and support you.

It's the least we can do for giving you Donald. I mean Trump.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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