Next Steps: How to Push Back Against Trump

March 4, 2016

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The question always posed to the dog chasing cars is “What will you do with it when you catch it?” And although the letter published here on War on the Rocks yesterday (signed by, as I write, 106 Republicans) should not be considered an end state, it is an important statement of purpose upon which further action is required.

Many signers have indicated their willingness to continue to press the case against a Donald Trump nomination, and so I offer a few ideas for how this momentum can be sustained. Last night’s debate added additional urgency to the effort. Not only did Trump continue to assert his preference for blatant violations of international law, he arrogantly asserted that the military would follow these unlawful orders, with viewers left to imagine the consequences to those who might not follow the Will of the Great Man.

Here are a few ideas for signers of the letter and anyone else who shares our sentiments:

  • Op-eds — I urge signers to familiarize themselves with the schedule of remaining GOP primaries and try to place op-eds in newspapers read by those voters. If you lead with “Why I signed this letter and why you, citizen of this state, need to consider it before you go to the polls,” you can’t go wrong.
  • Online Outlets — Signers could replicate Dan Drezner’s laudable effort at the Washington Post and look to place pieces at National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Interest, The National Interest, Foreign Policy, Defense One, The American Conservative, and – of course – War on the Rocks.
  • Television and Radio — If you are one of the folks who are able to call upon bookers and producers at more traditional television and radio outlets, make the call and get yourself scheduled. We all know how hard booking is, so make their jobs easier and volunteer.
  • Email and Social Media — Signers should consider writing a personal email to as many people as they know in their own social networks, include a link to the letter, and explain why this is important to you. If you are on other social media like Facebook, proudly post a link to the letter and explain your personal objections. Be forewarned, you will get some spirited pushback from Trump supporters. Make the case for why you are right and they are wrong.

There is a long way to Cleveland in July, and many very positive outcomes remain. Now is not the time to rest.


Bryan McGrath is the Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group and is the Assistant Director of The Hudson Institute Center for American Seapower.


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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7 thoughts on “Next Steps: How to Push Back Against Trump

  1. earned media…social media? That’s all you have? Another Beltway solution that doesn’t impact average voters. If anyone really cares to do something effective, you should form phone bank groups for the campaign of your choice and dial up voters in key states for the campaign (they have the lists, scripts and if you get enough people they have phone systems to make it easier to track the data). Maybe kickstarts the activation of national security groups in key states: I’m sure many in think tanks know academics at colleges across the country who could form small groups, include college students to do the grunt work of putting up yard signs and going door to door to discuss security issues with voters. That’s just two ideas, but ones that are focused on conversations with voters. In this campaign, earned media and social media have less weight than in years past. Its an easy answer, but not effective. If you want to make a difference, it will require more than letters and tv interviews. You are going to have to actually do real GOTV work. Its not too late. Phone calls and knocks on doors that foster real conversations do impact voters.

  2. The hatred of the GOP national security establishment – the one that brought us such notable successes as the Iraq War – only makes Trump more popular with the average GOP voter (as well as a good many Democrats).

    Go ahead, pour it on, a$$holes.

    1. “A good many Democrats”? Your personal polling? HAHAHAHAHA. Trump’s supporters are united by their stupidity. He’ll get his ass kicked in November after completing his mission of destroying the Republican Party — which will spend the next 8 years howling in the wilderness. Good riddance.

    2. Your comment is the worst thing I have heard since the lead-up to the Iraq war when these Trump supporters you are talking about were parading around and waving their flags, they couldn’t wait to go to Iraq and get that oil pie. Now, Trump says Bush lied and there is not a peep out of you. You’re all perfectly happy to pin it all on W. I did not see or hear one of you speak out against the war, and that includes Donald Trump, himself, as I was right there and I was attacked for stating the very facts of which the Donald speaks. He has even concocted some absurd story, which he is prone to do, whereby a ‘delegation’ was sent to ‘see ‘ him as he was so ‘vocal’ about it. There is absolutely no proof of this, whatsoever.

  3. I feel this individual could spell one of the greatest disasters to hit our country. At first I thought he would be the ideal man for the job, not now. I think we should think twice before voting for this individual. Let’s put him back in the Trump Tower where he belongs!