A progress report—of sorts
Let’s get one thing clear before we dive into this list: We are in no way suggesting Donald Trump’s presidency is a *great—or even remotely good—thing.
But there is a positive outcome, relatively speaking, to his administration’s hateful, sloppy, reckless, and menacing policies: Millions of American citizens have snapped into action like never before. After all, Trump didn’t invent racism, misogyny, corporate greed, or Islamophobia—he just pushed these gnarly issues to the surface. The upshot? His spontaneous whimpers of authoritarian expression are making those who resist him smarter and more determined to forge progress, which probably should’ve happened decades ago. Here, a rundown of how the misdeeds of Trump and his administration are inadvertently leading to positive change.
1. The ACLU is now a household name—and a well-funded resource
Over a single weekend in January, the American Civil Liberties Union received more than 350,000 online donations totaling $24 million, or just over six times the amount it typically raises in one year.
2. Trump’s dopey screwups about Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Susan B. Anthony nudged the rest of us to Wikipedia
Trump managed to white mansplain some backhanded praise during Black History Month by suggesting a certain 19th century abolitionist and statesman was a contemporary figure: “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.” Following the bizarre statement, “Frederick Douglass” shot up in popularity as a Google search term, most likely so people could make smart Twitter memes.
3. Planned Parenthood is receiving unprecedented donations
The women’s health nonprofit has been on the bubble of Congressional cuts for years, but public fury over the staggeringly restrictive efforts by Trump and Vice President/Handmaid’s Tale Commander Mike Pence resulted in 400,000 private donations.
4. Activism is motivating the masses
Pussy hats, protest signs, and weekend marches are the new normal.
5. The arts and crafts industry is killing it
Those Trump signs don’t paint themselves. According to Bloomberg Americans spent an estimated $6 million on art supplies in the week before the Women’s March alone. Sales of foam boards are up 42 percent.
6. People are realizing affordable health care is a human right, not a wealthy privilege
Obamacare was never more appreciated than when Congress threatened to take it away. Despite the bashing the ACA gets, it generated the expectation that Americans deserve health care—and the government failed to replace it.
7. We got super geeky about the electoral college
Following the shocking results of the presidential election, millions of Americans were stunned to find out that there was one more, albeit miniscule, chance for Hillary Clinton to still be president: the Hamilton Electors. A group of renegade electoral college members even banded together and promised their vote wouldn’t go to Trump. Obviously, it didn’t work, but, hey, maybe next time.
8. The role of science is on the forefront
In a matter of weeks, we went from thinking the Paris Agreement was a 90s rom-com starring Meg Ryan, to thousands demanding Trump’s administration restore and protect essential funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, among dozens of other threatened organizations.
9. SNL is better than ever
The late-night comedy show posted its highest ratings in 20 years following Trump’s inauguration.We’ll sum up the awesomeness in one word: “Spicey.”
10. Justin Trudeau replaced Justin Bieber as the most popular Canadian
Where Trump wants walls and secured borders, Trudeau offers asylum, particularly for Syrian refugees, thanks to groundbreaking public programs.
11. Women are pursuing political office in record numbers
Emerge America, a group that trains Democratic women to run for office, has seen an 87 percent increase in training session applications since Election Day.
12. Stephen Colbert is back
After leaving his Comedy Central archconservative character behind, Colbert lost a bit of his edge—and his ratings. But with Trump in office, he too is seeing a ratings boon and is now the most viewed show on late night.
13. But Samantha Bee is even better
While Fallon and company treaded lightly during the election, Bee committed to skewering Trump, which made for essential TV (and great therapy for viewers).
14. Visits to the Manzanar National Historic Site are at a record high
The former WWII-era Japanese internment camp is just one preserved site benefiting from renewed public interest, just as Trump threatens other monuments.
15. George Orwell bumped James Patterson off of the bestseller list
Ok, that’s not entirely true, but Orwell’s 1956 dystopian satire 1984 cracked the top of Amazon’s top book purchases.
16. Journalism is now an honorable vocation
The concern over alternative facts and fake news—whether propagated by Macedonian teenagers, Facebook, or Trump himself—has led the public to think more critically about the Fourth Estate and to support reliable and ethical institutions. This is particularly true for outlets who have earned Trump’s vitriol: The “failing’ New York Times added 276,000 digital subscriptions since Trump’s victory. After Trump blasted Vanity Fair, the mag’s subscriptions soared.
They wisely capitalized on the moment with a marketing campaign boasting the tagline: “The magazine Trump doesn’t want you to read.”
Along with that, GOOD’s Winter 2016 issue, which featured our Survival Guide To Donald Trump, won us a National Magazine Award, though we’re not going to thank him anytime soon.