THE NEXT STEP

1. It’s Monday, January 23, 2017. It’s the birthday of Ernie Kovacs and Gary Burton.

2. We’re supposed to be getting a big-time wind-and-rain storm today.

One way you can tell the weather is off is that here, about 40 miles from the Atlantic, it smells like the beach.

Nothing major has happened around here as yet, and my understanding is the worst of this will be in New York City and on Long Island. I hope people heed the weather warnings and stay safe.

3. It appears that, even by fivethirtyeight.com’s more conservative estimate, the number of people who participated in Saturday’s Women’s Marches surpassed the 2,864,974 more voters who chose Hillary Clinton over Trump.

That’s a reason to be optimistic.

Now what’s important is whether those millions of people are willing to do what it takes to fight this occupation of our government by thieves and scoundrels.

For one thing, these people have to vote. And not just quadrennially, when the presidency is at stake.

The Republicans have attained this level of dominance the same way good teams do in baseball. In baseball, you score when you get runners on base. In politics, you win when you get people into office.

4. No office is too small. Town council. School board. Library board.

These all count. This is how Trumpistas wormed their way to dominance. They showed up on election days – whether they were in November or April – and voted when our side didn’t.

They dominate state legislatures and governors’ mansions, largely because people get to know them from town councils and school boards. By dominating at the state level, they’ve redrawn the lines so that they control the House of Representatives.

That control gave them power to go after the Senate and the White House. And now they have it all.

5. But here’s what the 2,864,974 margin should remind us: We outnumber them.

Even when they systematically exclude people who are on our side: African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, the elderly. We outnumber them by at least 2,864,974.

And we need to demonstrate that every time there’s a vote. Every time. 

If you live in a place where people who support Trump hold office, you need to vote them out. It can be a school board where members oppose paying for after-school programs or art and music curricula. It can be a town council that denies climate change by refusing to impose restrictions on plastic shopping bags. Or a state legislature that thinks fracking’s a good way to bring in a few extra bucks.

Hell, if you live in a place where people who support Trump hold office, you need to make sure there’s someone worth while to replace them.

And sometimes that person is you.

6. What I would love to see emerge from the Women’s Marches isn’t just a show of solidarity, clever signs and those knitted caps.

I would love to see many of those women run for office.

From community planning board to Congress and the governors’ mansions. All the way to the White House, again.

Our society frowns on politics. It equates it with criminal behavior.

But politics is how we determine government. And we need good, smart people doing it again.

That is what will scare the hell out of the Trumpistas.

But, once again, keep this in mind: There are 2,864,974 more of us than them. If we vote as often and as fervently as they do, and for smart people who share our values, they lose.

That’s why Trump’s crowd envy led to all those crazy statements from him and his pet spokespeople over the weekend. “Alternative facts” my ass!

There’s only one fact that matters: There’s more of us. That’s what scares them.

So congratulations to the organizers and participants of Saturday’s big success. Lots of my friends participated, and I’m proud of them.

But now the 3-plus million of you who took part and those of us who cheered them on have to do something to make that protest sting. Vote. Vote every time you have a chance. No excuses.

Organize and, while it might take up to four years, these four years will go a lot better.

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