America’s Nonprofit Sector – It’s Time to Declare War on Donald Trump and His Supporters

President Trump is trashing America!
“I don’t want to abolish the government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” – Grover Norquest, Americans For Tax Reform, NPR interview, 2001

“Koch Brothers network planning massive spending increase for 2018” – PBS News Hour 1/29/18

“FBI Condemns Push to Release Secret Republican Memo” – New York Times 1/31/18

America’s nonprofit leaders – wake up before it’s too late.

President Trump may well be a traitor doing the bidding of Russian politicians and plutocrats. He may well be dismantling our government in order to enrich himself and his investors.

But we really don’t know until we see his income tax returns.

While we wait to see what economic interests he is serving, we are watching high crimes and misdemeanors play out in the White House the likes we have not seen since President Nixon actively sabotaged the Watergate investigations from the Oval Office.

Now President Trump is actively suborning an ongoing investigation by the FBI into his connections with Russia.

He has put people in charge of federal departments who are hostile to their purpose. The latest scandal is the resignation of Brenda Fitzgerald, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, after it was revealed that she had bought tobacco company stock AFTER she became the leader of the agency. Lest we forget, one of the jobs of the CDC is to reduce American use of tobacco products.

This President is wrecking our democracy and is attempting to return America to the wonderful 1830’s where slavery was legal and women and children were chained to the loom and there were no restrictions on business or profit seeking.

I see little hope that a Republican Congress will criticize any of this, let alone rein him in. It’s a far cry from 1973 when a bi-partisan threat of an impeachment trial in the Senate drove Richard Nixon from power (only to have him pardoned by President Ford).

It’s time to declare war on him and his supporters.

I’m calling on all nonprofits in America to take up this cause. Rise up and work to defeat the policies of Donald Trump.

Start by working to fire all of his Republican and Democratic supporters at every level of government in the 2018 elections.

Continue to work to defeat President Trump should he seek re-election in 2020.  If he is not the Republican nominee in 2020, then work to elect the Democrat – whoever it is.

Start now.

A few suggestions on how you might do this.

Register people to vote. Drop EVERYTHING your agency does and collaborate across your communities to get ALL people over 18 registered. Work to overturn laws that disenfranchise folks, suppress voter turnout, or contribute to purging voters from the roles. And then work to get people to the polls to vote.

Inform your constituents and allies that you all must work together here. Educate, agitate, and activate. Hold public forums to explain how your work is being sabotaged by the Republican agenda and that soon your work will become IMPOSSIBLE to do if President Trump’s agenda is unchecked.

Hold candidate forums for offices up for decision in your jurisdiction. Demand that candidates show up and declare their intentions to support social justice and take care of people. Don’t accept the narrative that we are broke and can’t afford to fix what’s broken in America. That is plain nonsense. The United States has PLENTY of money to prepare for and wage war. We shower the wealthy with tax breaks and outright gifts of subsidy. We allow companies to offshore trillions of dollars and escape taxation. We waste trillions and don’t collect trillions of dollars.

Finally, send messages to your constituents with all this call to action. Endorse candidates who will work to repair and save America – not to fleece her and to sell her to the Russians.

But wait, won’t this endanger our nonprofit status, you ask?

Everything I want you to do is permissible under current law right up to the call for endorsing candidates. But heck, the President wants to give that privilege to churches (who, he feels, will on the whole support him and his allies) – so what are YOU waiting for?

So – go for it. Declare war on President Trump and ALL his allies.

After all, what good does it do being a nonprofit in the Capital District of “The Hunger Games”? Or in George Orwell’s dystopian “1984”? Or in Nazi Germany?

Tom Tresser
February 1, 2018

Tom is a civic educator and public defender who has been doing grassroots democracy work in Chicago since 1990. He is the co-founder of The CivicLab (, a do-tank devoted to building power for justice.

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