Seattle is suddenly national HQ for the Trump resistance. Unlike in some past protest movements around here, this time we’re showing how to do it exactly right. (Hint: no need to smash things.)
Every time you turn around now, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is hugging someone.
Here he is hugging his lawyers on the courthouse steps. There he is down at the airport, hugging refugees. On television I half expect him to reach out and try to hug Anderson Cooper, even though they’re not in the same studio.
“Every night I flip around cable — CNN, MSNBC, PBS — and he’s on them all. It’s like ‘The Bob Ferguson Show,’” says longtime Seattle political consultant Ron Dotzauer.
“I’ve never seen such an explosion onto the national scene,” Dotzauer said. “Overnight he’s going to be the hottest fundraising ticket in the nation, in Democratic circles. They’ll say: ‘Come see the lawyer who took on Trump — and won!’
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“He has no idea what’s about to hit him. He’s going to need to hire an agent, like the William Morris agency in L.A. or something, just to deal with it all.”
Such is the hunger — or sheer desperation — among liberals in the age of Trump. Stand up to the president in any way, and whoosh: instant celebrity.
Seattle was declared last week by the national press to be the “epicenter of resistance to Trump’s agenda.” Partly through circumstance and partly by design, we’ve got the lawyer who took on Trump, the judge who ruled against Trump, and now, oddly, the clothing retailer bullied by Trump.
In all cases, liberals everywhere fell head over heels.
“Nordstrom Strong” and “Je Suis Nordstrom” became cause hashtags on social media. Some posts showed photos of “solidarity purchases,” from boots to sweater dresses, made to support the retailer after the president bashed it for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line.
“You are an American hero at a time we urgently need one,” reads one gushing message to the “so-called judge,” James Robart of the U.S. District Court in Seattle, who first put a national hold on the president’s travel ban. From “Erica, in Utah,” it was signed “XOXOXO.”
“Marry me!” read one of the more than 7,000 emails, calls, letters and other messages that poured into Ferguson’s office.
The AG’s office was getting so many phone calls on Thursday and Friday that it set up an answering tree to handle them all. (“Press 1 if you’d like to glorify us about how we kicked the president’s …” OK that’s not actually what it said, but you get the idea.)
The euphoria isn’t so much happiness as a primal scream of relief.
“What you’re seeing is the release of pent-up desperation,” Dotzauer says. “Democrats are a completely discouraged body politic. They’re desperate for a win, any win, and nobody expected to get one this quickly.”
The winning part is almost certain to be temporary. But still, Washington state showed not just how to resist, but how to do it right.
Missing was the juvenile routine of smashing storefront windows that Seattle resistance regrettably is known for. Instead, it was about making constitutional and policy arguments both in court and to members of Congress, backed by the testimonies of real people as well as dozens of businesses.
This hasn’t resonated with just liberals, which is crucial. Example: U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, finally said Thursday that Trump’s travel ban “did not uphold our values” and he called for it to be scrapped in favor of more workable immigration legislation.
Of course being all rational won’t satisfy the extremes, probably in either party. Take former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. After the court rulings, he wasn’t urging Republicans to craft better laws but rather to go after the judges.
“It is a lawless judiciary that needs to be stopped. And the House of Representatives needs to stop it, and they ought to start by impeaching James Robart,” DeLay exhorted.
Good grief. Does he know Robart was nominated by Republicans? Or that we even have a system of checks and balances in this country?
Anyway, some measure of hope, seeded right here, has sprouted in the demoralized half of the nation. To Bob Ferguson and the rest of the budding resistance: Don’t go getting big heads about it. Instead, keep it up.