A ‘loyal opposition’ can’t exist in perpetual crisis mode


A lot of people, especially a lot of women, remain furious that Donald J. Trump is president.

The arguments are well-known and understood. But barring something remarkable, he will be president for at least another four years.

An estimated 3.5 million people marched in all 50 states last weekend to protest his presidency, policies and personality.

And many asked during and after, what’s next? ‘How do we perpetuate this movement?’


Many have suggestions, few have answers. But there is one certainty: Years of experience working with CEOs, companies and non-profits demonstrate that no one can survive in crisis mode for very long. It’s too emotional and burnout is real.

There are many, many people who just can’t assimilate Trump into their view of a president. It’s an alternate universe they can’t reach. And with sales of Orwell’s 1984 booming, there are a lot of worried people.

There are some lessons we can draw from crisis management.

First, you can’t drink Niagara Falls all at once. And that’s what many critics feel like. If you’re on social media many times a day venting your frustrations, you’re only going to stoke those. Take small sips. Be strategic and thoughtful. Don’t condemn everything.

Second, develop your messaging and stick to it. Are opponents looking back to the election or forward to White House policy? Are they tying up the phone lines of Trump properties and resorts out of spite because, as Trump administration officials say, they’re sore losers? What is the “loyal opposition’s” strategy for this year, and next? Is it, we’ll see you in court? Develop one.

Third, since last weekend’s demonstrations were probably the largest popular protests since the height of the Vietnam War, look to history. What worked? What didn’t? What can opponents learn from the ’60s?

One thing is certain, no matter how dedicated, how distraught, how angry opponents are, they’re only in the first mile of a marathon. Stay out of crisis mode. Get logical.