Robert Reich: We Need Republicans to Counter Trump's Tyranny

Senator John McCain, left, listens as Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, on December 28, 2016. Robert Reich writes that resistance to tyranny must not be seen in partisan terms. Conservative Republicans, he says, have traditionally been vigilant against tyranny, and they must be invited to the cause and become part of the coalition against Donald Trump. Ints Kalnins/reuters

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It's important to distinguish two lines of resistance to Donald Trump:

1. Resistance to Trump's Regressiveness

Repealing Obamacare, turning Medicare into vouchers (that will leave many elderly worse off) and Medicaid into state block grants (depriving the poor of health care); attacking Social Security; giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and to large corporations; eviscerating environmental laws, regulations and treaties; defunding Planned Parenthood; putting people in charge of departments who are intent on doing the opposite of what the departments are set up to do (Betsy DeVos at Education, Andy Puzder at Labor; Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency); putting a right-winger on the Supreme Court; and so on.

2. Resistance to Trump's Tyranny

Repeatedly telling big lies; demeaning government scientists and intelligence officials; undermining the freedom and independence of the press; threatening critics; creating "registries" of Muslim-Americans and a religious test for entering the United States; cozying up to foreign dictators; blaming economic stresses on immigrants and fomenting public bias and even violence against them; attributing acts of domestic violence to "enemies within" and using such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties; creating a personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public; and personally profiting from public office.

Related: Robert Reich: Twelve ways to resist the Trump presidency

Both resistances are critical. But the second has nothing to do with partisanship or the age-old fight between Republicans and Democrats over the reach or role of government.

Resistance to tyranny must not be seen in partisan terms. We need Republicans to join in resistance to Trump's tyranny. Conservative Republicans have traditionally been vigilant against tyranny, and they must be invited to the cause and become part of the coalition.

Robert Reich is the chancellor's professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All.