What next after Tuesday?

Since last Tuesday’s result, many have written to me asking “what should we do now?” We all need to process the events and that will take some time.

I’ll share some of the concerns that are at the top of my mind as a state legislator.

First, there are a lot of people feeling very unsafe right now. Our President-elect said many destructive things as a candidate. With his harsh insults, he encouraged Americans to disrespect one another. His words have had consequences, even on elementary school playgrounds. I will take every opportunity to send the positive message that Massachusetts is no place for hate.

Second, it does look like he will appoint one or more conservative Supreme court justices. He is not, himself, by any stretch, a social conservative, but he made clear campaign promises in this area and seems likely to keep them.

To the extent the Supreme Court peels away federal constitutional protections on civil liberties, state legislators and state courts will become more important in protecting those liberties. I am personally very deeply committed to equality and civil liberty and I believe that other Massachusetts leaders will step up to emerging challenges in this area.

Third, it seems likely that, with Republican majorities in both branches, he will seek to dismantle many things that were built by President Obama and the Democratic majorities he had in his first term, perhaps most notably in the health care and environmental areas.

In Massachusetts, universal coverage is likely to survive – we had our reforms in place before the Affordable Care Act. I do not expect the Trump administration to cut federal funding for health care (most governors would oppose that), but new federal leadership may create challenges for us since we need federal permission for many of our coverage and cost-control initiatives.

Tragically, on the environmental front, we do need national leadership to make real progress. We are going to lose another few critical years in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions. If our new President formally abrogates the Paris agreement, it will set us back even further.

Fourth, immigration policy is another area where state policies will become more important. We may be asked to support increasingly harsh federal enforcement. I will continue to work to make Massachusetts a welcoming place for immigrants — all residents of Massachusetts should be able to trust local enforcement to protect them from crime.

Finally, we do have to acknowledge and respond to the power of Candidate Trump’s economic message. While many in the district I represent are doing well economically, there are many who are not. Establishment free trade policies have devastated the work prospects of many Americans. Many people who had deep concerns about his hateful language voted for him because he spoke to that reality with persuasive passion.

Trade is a national dilemma and President Trump will find that there are no easy answers. But at the state level, I am more committed than ever to looking for ways to make sure that everyone has a way forward in our economy.

Our national leaders have a lot to sort out with the new balance of power. I will be watching closely and continuing to consider how national changes require new responses from state leaders. I welcome your guidance now and at every stage of the process.

What can I do?

Jeff and Linda Levin-Scherz held a wonderful discussion last Sunday (11/20) in Belmont. Congresswoman Clark participated as well as Democratic National Committee member Jim Roosevelt. Our national political leaders are sorting out strategy in the new landscape, but a couple of ways for people to be involved right away came out.

  • First, support the free press by paying for subscriptions to reputable news organizations. There is a lot of unreliable news out there in social media and it is harder and harder for serious news organizations to survive. Their investigate and truth-telling roles are essential in a functioning democracy. Subscriptions make a great holiday gift.
  • Second, join and support advocacy groups that stand for the causes you care about that may be threatened by the new balance of power in Washington. Again, this is also an opportunity for holiday giving.
  • Generally, become engaged and engage others in the many ongoing conversations about the future of our country.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

139 replies on “What next after Tuesday?”

  1. I wrote this in 2000, after Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election by the Supreme Court decision:

    Safe Harbor 2000

    This last safe harbor
    The High Court of the land
    Now lies in waste
    Its precious haunt polluted
    By stench of hypocrisy
    And narrow aim
    To dim the light
    Of freedom.

    Not blood, nor terror
    Have stained our country so
    As have these few
    Whose deeds defy
    Their sacred vow
    To hear the governed

    All is H O L L O W.

    For logic, now turned in
    Upon itself
    Has shaken, has cleaved
    These stones of history
    Now tumbled to a Broken
    Valley of Despair.

    Cunning rules and Shame
    Is exiled
    By writ of hand
    And ghastly pale hangs now
    Our patriots’ wretched shadow.

    What darkness loosed throughout
    The land
    Not seen in centuries two.
    For not by unleashed waters dammed
    Where all fair eye must knew,

    But silently, this poisoned cure
    Drop by drop,
    To still the sacred flame.

    copyright 2000 By Cynthia Tollen

  2. We are lucky in Mass to have a strong
    legislature unlike so many states which have been taken over by tea party governors and legislatures. Keep up your goo work in the Senate.

  3. I can’t help feeling that what happened on Nov 8 is a much greater threat to our democracy and our country than 9/11 ever was. It seems that Trump and his mob were willing to lie and cheat their way into taking over the executive branch of our government and in the process they did not demonstrate the slightest interest in abiding by the basic principles upon which our country was founded such as .. all men are created equal … innocent until proven guilty … freedom of religion and expression … a free press. They are more than willing to insult, threaten and denigrate those of us who don’t agree with them and those who they perceive as standing in their way. What would my parents think now if they were alive, as first generation Americans and children of immigrants who fled persecution and poverty in Europe? America isn’t perfect, but during their lifetimes, it survived a depression and a world war, civil rights were extended to all and laws were passed to protect our citizens from racial and ethnic discrimination. Things were definitely heading in the right direction. All of a sudden, it appears that we may be turning back to those rather dark days … with people being attacked or singled out because of their race, religion or ethnicity, with woman’s rights being curtailed, etc. I intend to continue to speak out for the America I believe in and I am hopeful that this is the case for many of my fellow citizens.

  4. Thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent message.
    I’m devastated by not only the election of this racist, misogynist and corrupt individual but also genuinely horrified by his choice of extremists for his cabinet. I will also never feel completely certain that he was legitimately elected given voter suppression, the questions about Russian hacking and other shenanigans.
    Grateful that my native state (CA) and adopted state (MA) did not go the way of so much of the country.

  5. Hi Will,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, as always. My vote for Clinton was a vote against Trump. Although I’d give anything to see a woman president in my lifetime, I am sick of the Clintons, and I think many others are as well. I supported Sanders in the primary because I feel that the democratic party needs to get back to its liberal (grass) roots. But the liberal bubbles on the coasts have lost touch with the rest of the country. I’m not sure if Sanders was the “right” candidate, but Clinton was definitely not.

    I kept asking myself how so many people could have voted for such an ignorant, ostentatiously and crookedly wealthy person. I believe it was a class issue before a race or gender issue, although both those had something to do with it. I think many people felt he was telling it like it is, which is why every time he said something that should have did him in, it instead worked in his favor. Hilary just responded with those stronger together platitudes which looked insincere.

    Within a week, Trump has already hired many of the kinds of people he criticized Hilary as cultivating. He is a liar, but also a performer. Maybe when so many of his promises go unmet, we’ll have a revolution from the other side. Hopefully the democratic party (that includes me) will be ready. The millennial voting map gave me hope.

    Some big worries:
    –the environment and the disappearance of other important species.

    –real immigration reform and fairness without pandering to illegal immigrants.

    –the electoral college reconsidered. It doesn’t seem to be all that relevant to either party.

    –the tilt to alt-right is happening in many other places in the world and Trump’s election gives credence to those elements. Let’s hope that a national catastrophe doesn’t lead to an international one.

  6. Since you started with people who feel uncertain and unsafe right now, let me offer a few words on behalf of immigrants, legal and otherwise, in our country and communities. I work with them, and have enjoyed their kindness, consideration and dedication. Some of the ones who are here illegally came as children, from some very violent, incredibly poor places. We, as a society, have benefited from their hard work. At times exploited and disrespected due to their precarious situation, we are lucky to have them and they would be outstanding citizens given the chance.

    While we may revert to Romneycare once Obamacare is repealed, the healthcare landscape in the Commonwealth is different from what it was in 2010. The MA exchange implementation was a disaster, I heard this first-hand from friends. This time the transition needs to be better. Quite frankly, most did not like Romneycare and Obamacare even less. The reason was the cost. Many prefer to pay a penalty and do without.

    Given the prominence of Pence, I am not sanguine that battles over social issues will be confined to the Supreme Court. Trump’s Cheney, with a focus on social issues instead of foreign policy. I wonder how this could play out the state level. This applies to climate change and the environment as well. Paul Ryan has had an agenda to go after Medicare and Medicaid for years, and I am sure he sees this as his moment to strike. This will affect our citizens, and I hope Massachusetts is able to counteract what may come from Washington.

    The only possible bright spot is a possible surge of infrastructure spending. Can the state plan and position itself to benefit? Rebuilding the MBTA’s physical plant would be my priority.

    Finally, on a lighter note, this Facebook post from a friend made me laugh: “ I PICKED A HELL OF A YEAR TO STOP SMOKING WEED.”

  7. DT won fair and square. Because DT and HC each had great baggage, the voters voted on the issues of greatest concern which are the $20 trillion deficit, the economy, national security, illegal immigration, and waste/fraud/abuse of tax dollars. Although you may disagree, the country voted DT is best able to handle those issues. Give DT a chance.

    1. Trump did not win “fair and square.”

      Firstly, Republican lawmakers passed voter-suppression laws in 13 states which each state formularized to always block more Democratic voters than Republican voters.

      Secondly, as it always does, the electoral college unfairly weighted voters in the rural Republican states more than voters in the urban Democratic states.

      Finally, regarding his tax returns, Trump violated long-standing American political tradition for all presidential candidates to voluntarily publish their returns. Trump made 3 astonishingly contradictory claims:

      1. “I’ll surely release them.”
      2. “Only after my IRS audit is over.”
      3. “No one’s business but mine.”

      These are not the comments of someone who is honest, serious, or reliable.

  8. Dear Will, secretary Clinton won the popular vote. 10 states and the District of Columbia have in effect put the popular vote ahead of the electoral college. The latter doesn’t count anymore. Is MA among those 10 and if not why not? It is high time we do away with a process that is so undemocratic. And we purport to go around the world like bullies to teach democracy! How ironic. The second thought I have is that a Secretary Clinton was not likable.

  9. One of the (presumably) unintended consequences of employing demonization as an election strategy is that if your opponent prevails you have to live with the fears—false and otherwise—that you tried to create in others. If you prevail, the fears will inform your governance.

    Demonization is corrosive; it rots the social fabric. Its use in elections is, I believe, one of the contributors to our polarization. That it works—and, undeniably, it does—is, in my opinion, not a admirable comment on who we are as a society.

  10. We should be prepared to shift more economic rebuilding to the state level.
    We need to address climate change here as well, as best we can at the Commonwealth level. We must do everything we can as individuals to conserve energy. State policies are going to be critical. We cannot control what other states do, but we can be a beacon of hope.

    1. Climate change has been happening ever since the Earth was created. Man and industry was not around to cause the North American Glaciers to melt. You, dear lady, would not be here if it was not for climate change, or global warming.

  11. I am wiling to give president-elct Trump a chance; his 60 Minutes interview showed him to be be more sane and conciliatory.

    All campaigns are rough and abusive.

    I would like to see democrats speak more to the idea of higher training, vocational work for young people, rather than insisting of the right to a college education.

    Few people in this country know how to build or fix anything in this country, including computers, elctric work, plumbing, carpentry. I suspect that unions have excluded a large group of young people from entering well-paying trades work.

    In addition, I believe much of the electorate does not understand the college electoral delegate system which appoints presidents without a popular vote. This should be changed or abolished. It happened with Gore, and now Clinton. What ever happened to every vote matters?

    I agree with Trump that every illegal alien active in criminal behavior should be deported, and their own country of origin should pay for their incarceration. The cost of incarcerations in this country is already too high for citizens here.

    I supported our new so-called Obama care health system, but with rates suddenly increasing by about 25% I need to question that also.

    Although I voted for Clinton, the United States needs major change in a different direction, and if Trump can deliver some positive change. I support him in his presidency (even if still a bit concerned about him).

  12. How about we work on outlawing negative ads and attacks on our candidates and force them to all talk about the issues that face us all as Americans. I found it very hard to concentrate on what was important to me with each candidate spewing negativities about one another. That, I believe, is the only way we will really be informed.

    PS. Everyone has skeletons in their closets.

    1. Indeed, we are all human and vulnerable. It did get ugly. I’m not in favor of outlawing negativity though. Sometimes one has to talk about the negatives (although I completely agree we’ve seen too much of it).

  13. 1. Tell bourgeois Dems Whole Foods shoppers to stop contemptuously lecturing working people on their manners. Pro-Wall Street policy + identity politics no longer = victory. It’s all just cheap social-justice-warrior virtue signaling and anti-white rhetoric, and it does not address legitimate civil rights concerns at all. If Dems don’t get themselves on the right side of the class war, MA could go red: Trump got 40% of the vote in deep blue RI. If your “Progressive Bill of Rights” turns into one big self-congratulatory middle finger to the working class, expect them to flip you the finger right back.

    2. Do something to cut healthcare costs now. They’re killing the middle class. We self-employed workers combined with the people we hire make up 30% of all U.S. jobs, according to Pew. I’m self-employed and on Obamacare with no subsidies. I pay $13K each year for a single individual before I see the first dime of coverage. I couldn’t even get Obamacare until awesome Andrew from your office helped out. We need immediate cost reduction measures (as opposed to massive transfers from middle-class policyholders to the poor). Explore single payer, maybe a plan run through a consortium of multiple states, if need be. But something needs to happen.

    3. Stop ignoring the the rest of the state. Outside of 495, MA is literally dying; the opiod crisis is just a symptom

    4. Introduce ranked choice voting like Maine. All the establishment Dems will be horrified to see their gravy train end, but getting a few Greens or whatnot into the legislator could be a lot better than the alternative that may be shaping up

    5. Accept that we’ve got a constitutional crisis on our hands. The system has failed (and not because Hillary lost). We are looking at electoral college reform at minimum, and at the far end, potential for violence and/or breakup. This is enormously complex and somebody at the state level should be dedicated to studying how to protect our interests against an unpredictable and potentially unstable federal government

  14. Yes, I’m waiting for Trump to make good on his pledge to “Make America great again” by bringing back offshore jobs.

    Will- WHAT ABOUT eliminating the Electoral College that delivered Bush II and Trump , whose opponents won the popular vote?

    We must work together to change this archaic system. If California had its 200 proportional number of electoral votes instead of 50, the outcome would be much different than the nightmare we’re in now.

      1. Dear Senator,
        I respect your opinion, but I disagree that the National Popular Vote movement is a “gimmick.” I feel like as a voter in this blue state, my vote is worth less than voters in other parts of the country, with a disastrous result. Unfortunately, I think your hypothetical of George Wallace isn’t far from what happened in this election…

  15. Hi Senator. After watching Trump on 60 minutes, I would say that we now have a new Trump; a chameleon, who is a good guy. But, then, today, we find out that he appointed “Brennan” a white supremacist, as one of his team.So, this confirms, that Trump is still the guy who showed us originally, who he was. And that is clearly, no matter what he says, someone who depends on lies in order to convince people that he is likable. So, my response further, is that we’re on a roller-coaster ride for the next 4 years. So, we better become extremely energetic and clever to find someone like Bernie Sanders for our next attempt at winning the White House. In the meantime, we’re still awaiting the results of “Moveon.org’s” petition to have the delegates vote for Hillary on Dec. 19th. I trust all of your constituents are signing up to do just that.

  16. Thanks for your perceptive commentary which I fully support. But I would like to add to your burden by listing several state wide
    issues. First, increased education funding such as monies for early education, after school enrichment and even summer programs for failing schools. Public transportation. Okay effective management is necessary, but that is an ongoing and lengthy process. We desperately need additional monies for improved maintenance and more and better equipment. Criminal justice reform. This is an area I know you are well acquainted with and a leader in this area.

  17. Well said Will. Thank you for all your good work. May everything proceed in Peace as superbly as possible.

  18. If every vote counts, why do we have the electoral college delegate system appointing presidents without the popular vote of USA citizens?

    Feel free to explain this discrepancy to me.

  19. We’re with you Will, thank you for the clear analysis. I think we need to focus on the local and we need to unite–not only with those who agreed with us during this past election but with all of our neighbors. Actions speak louder than words! WE are the people, and if we don’t like the election results, it’s up to us to make changes in 2018. Keep the faith.

  20. Concise summary of the bad news. Get someone to explain to you what “cooling out the mark” means. To turn Keynes upside down, if we survive the short run, in the long run we’ll all be dead. A last note. Foreign competition and technology is going to lead to permanent low employment. So take a leap frog forward and pass a guaranteed annual income, which I have seen somewhere is not economically impossible – just politically. I am so glad lyou are doing yo9ur job and that all four members of the peoples republic of NH in Congresss are Democratic women!Best, John M.

  21. Anyone posting or reading to Sen Will’s site should be aware that members of congress have the best taxpayer health coverage in the world for themselves and their families. The coverage is all inclusive.

    In addition to their salaries, taxpayers spend approx, $100,000+ for their office budgets.

    While they argue about what health care option should be available for ordinary citizens, I suggest a petition to cut their health care benefit down to the same options as the citizens they allegedly represent.

  22. Please speak out, and encourage your colleagues and our governor to do the same, against the appointment of Steve Bannon and the proposed Muslim database and do everything in your power to stop both. The canary has died in the coal mine. The time to act is now.

      1. Maybe so, but please speak up loudly and do all you can to oppose Bannon and Trump’s other cabinet nominees anyway! Thank you for your commitment and

  23. You may have seen Timothy Egan’s 8/26/16 NYT column about the state of civic literacy in the US:

    I can’t help but wonder what real civic literacy would have affected the entire election process. An informed public would have demanded –and gotten– serious attention to issues that affect humanity today. An informed public would have pressured the media to present serious information.

    Is it possible for you to develop a civic literacy program so that citizens –as well as prospective citizens– could learn how government works (or is supposed to work)?

  24. I too am very concerned about the people president-elect Trump has put into office with him, they worry me because they seem hateful & ultra conservative. I and many other advocates are trying to make other senators in MA aware of the need for prison reform, especially Raising the Age Majority. Doing away with LWOP, & definitely getting rid of the death penalty. Do you foresee any of these newly elected individuals Trump has chosen pose to be a threat to make it more difficult for future legislation to pass hope for positive prison reform? These appointed individuals have me deeply worried.

  25. Thank you for your commitment to the people of MA and throughout the US, as well as to other important issues, including protecting the environment, which is in many ways also a human rights issue.

    What can I do as a constituent?

  26. I want to commend you on this powerful statement defending civil rights. I feel the Massachusetts legislature is our defense against unwarranted federal actions. Thanks for making your position clear.

    Also, I want to support your backing of Senate No. 808, an act to decriminalize being in the presence of heroin. This is very important and thanks for being a co-sponsor.

  27. Thank you so much for your response and advice. I will do as much ch as I possibly can. Happy holidays and may love and peace prevail.

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