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No. Seriously. What if Trump Wins Again?

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Block & Build
Block & Build
No. Seriously. What if Trump Wins Again?

In spite of 34 felony convictions last week, there is still a very real chance that Donald Trump will once again be elected president of the United States in November or that he’ll contest the results and attempt another coup. Few of us were truly prepared for his victory in 2016. Many of us felt helpless in the wake of his 2020 blitz to steal the election. As a result, many responses were directionless and lacking in strategy. Experienced organizers Daniel Hunter ( and Katey Lauer are helping individuals and organizations alike be more prepared for the many possible outcomes of the November election through a new multimedia project and book, What If Trump Wins?

Convergence is excited to be the first media outlet to announce the project’s launch, which along with the book includes an individualized “pick your own path” interactive website and a brief role playing game which can be easily facilitated and run within your organization or comrades. Each of these tools invites participants to first notice what feelings they’re having about the possibility of another Trump presidency or reliving the general post election chaos and uncertainty of 2020 which led to the January 6th insurrection. From this space of emotional grounding, participants can safely strategize and tease out possible outcomes based on historic research of other attempted coups and autocratic governments.

Katey and Daniel joined Cayden this week to discuss the What if Trump Wins? project and how people can engage with it in whatever way is most useful to them.

Order the book here.

Support this show and others like it by becoming a Patreon member:

[00:00:00] Cayden Mak: Welcome to Block and Build, a podcast from Convergence magazine. I’m your host and the publisher of Convergence, Cayden Mak. On this show, we are building a roadmap for the people and organizations who are trying to unite anti fascist forces in order to build the influence of a progressive trend while blocking the rise of authoritarianism in the United States.

[00:00:28] Earlier this week, the New York Times revealed that Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs targeted constituents of U. S. law bankers in a frankly bizarre way. Watched social media misinformation campaign, the ministry spent 2 million on a political marketing firm that had hundreds of fake social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, posing as real Americans, expressing pro Israel sentiments, and urging US lawmakers to continue funding the war.

[00:00:52] So much for Elon Musk’s valiant effort to clean up the bot problem on Twitter, where some profiles had stock photos that just didn’t even match the identities they purported to represent. Additionally, election results have rolled in from other countries in the past week, and they’ve boded well for our allies around the world.

[00:01:10] In Mexico, climate scientist, feminist, and the former mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Scheinbaum, was elected president. And in India, voters repudiated Hindu Nationalist BJP. The BJP lost 68 seats in the National Legislature, making them short of being able to form a single party government. On Wednesday, a Senate vote seeking to affirm a national right to contraception failed to pass the 60 vote threshold to send it to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

[00:01:36] Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to no, allowing for the option of bringing The bill to another vote. This is coming amidst a conservative propaganda campaign seeking to motivate state Republican lawmakers across the country to pursue bans on basic contraception in at least 15 states, just to make perfectly clear what’s at stake in many races on the state level.

[00:01:59] The University of California was denied by court order for a second time this week, in its attempt to stop academic workers from striking on campuses across the state system. Graduate teaching assistants, researchers, and other academic workers at UC’s 10 major campuses are represented by United Auto Workers Local 4811, Which were represents 48, 000 of those workers last week.

[00:02:21] UAW 4811 President Rafael Jaime told our friends in these times, quote, we’re taking this unprecedented action because of the university’s serious unfair labor practices, which really go to the heart of our rights for freedom of speech and protest. and the ability to take collective action, unquote. He’s going to be joining us on this show next week to discuss this story further.

[00:02:43] Finally, President Biden issued an executive order on Tuesday which prevents migrants from seeking asylum at the U. S. Mexico border, a right wing immigration position almost as extreme as Trump’s effort to close off the borders in 2018. Here’s the thing. This executive order is trash. It’s xenophobic, pandering horseshit.

[00:03:05] It makes me wonder if the Democrats actually want to win this election. What it highlights for me, and I don’t see discussed enough, is how it demonstrates the urgent need for those of us on the left to really build our power. The reason that Biden’s Democratic Party thinks this is a strategic move is because they’re laser focused on old models of the balance of forces.

[00:03:24] They think that siphoning off potential Trump voters is the way they can win in November, and this will play well with the on the fence voters who are fully bought in on anti immigrant rhetoric. Unfortunately for them, we know that the balance of forces is shifting. The fact the administration has had its head in the sand on this should come as no surprise, as their position on the genocide in Palestine so clearly demonstrates.

[00:03:46] The majority of our people, the people who, let me reiterate, actually help get people elected by volunteering, knocking on doors, phone banking, doing the hard work of getting out the vote for a national candidate, are against this kind of bullshit. The fact that the Democratic Party thinks it’s still correct to lean to the right in this way shows how far we still need to go to shift their analysis of who holds the power that lets us truly shape policy at the highest levels.

[00:04:16] As we rage and grieve about what this means for the real border crisis, and that’s the crisis of desperate humanitarian need, The climate crisis that’s driving a lot of this migration, and the crisis of racist xenophobic nationalism, to be clear. Let’s keep this in our sights. The Democratic Party does not take us seriously.

[00:04:36] I wish that the president and his advisors would read the book we put out two years ago, Power Concedes Nothing. And if you haven’t, check it out. You should too, by the way. Our feature segment today is a recorded interview I did earlier this week about the launch of a new project and tool to help us prepare for the possibility of a Trump win in November without plunging into despair or rigidity, co created by longtime organizers Daniel Hunter and Katie Lauer.

[00:05:01] Let’s dive right in. Choose Democracy has launched a multimedia project inviting us to ask ourselves, our colleagues, and our comrades a question many of us neglected to consider the first time in 2016, which is the question What if Trump wins? This project features 150 plus page full color book and an interactive choose your own adventure style website, which can be found at what if trump, as well as a brief interactive role-playing game with a free facilitation guide.

[00:05:29] All this good stuff is available at what if trump And I’m joined today by Katie Lauer and Daniel Hunter to talk about the project, where this came from, who it’s for, and how they envisioned it being used. First of all, thank you both for joining me today. And to launch into this, I think we should talk a little bit about each of your backgrounds and how you came to this project and what motivated you to create it.

[00:05:52] Katie, do you want to start us off? 

[00:05:54] Katey Lauer: Sure. My name is Katie Lauer. I’m an organizer and trainer who lives in Southern West Virginia and Choose Democracy actually predates me. So Daniel was involved with this previous work. Around past election cycles. And I got involved in this one and this project because I’m really these days interested in the question of what do we need to do to psychologically prepare for the future together to get ourselves in good emotional and spiritual shape for the many possible futures that might arise and working on this project gave me a chance to.

[00:06:36] Explore that for myself and explore that with a group of other people and also get to create materials that support other folks to do the same. 

[00:06:43] Daniel Hunter: And then I’m Daniel Hunter. I work at three 50. org as a goal trainings director. So I primarily work outside of the United States, supporting people who are doing work on climate change.

[00:06:55] And. Naturally, investment and understanding what’s happening in the U. S. matters on climate change. U. S. sets a lot of tone for the rest of the globe and as a major producer and major exporter and major user and major investor in supporting the fossil fuel industry, the U. S. empire has been a major target for lots of the work that we’ve been up to.

[00:07:18] So, well, four years ago as we were watching Trump regularly say he wasn’t going to peacefully transfer power, a group of us said, he’s trying to coup. This is what a coup, the beginnings of a coup looks like. And normally you don’t have a president announced their intentions to do a coup quite so publicly and so openly as this man did.

[00:07:38] And what we noticed was people were not taking him seriously at his word. And so we. Got together and said, let’s gather some information and knowledge about what are responses to an active coup situation. So we looked up what’s the literature, what’s the academic literature, which is very little given that third of the globe has lived through a coup.

[00:07:58] You would think more people have written about how to stop coups. We looked at what our experiences with other activists that we had worked with since myself, George Lakey some of the other folks that we had worked with, they’ve all been involved in supporting people who’ve had active coups. And so we wanted to learn from folks who’ve lived through it, and particularly from people who’ve had successful experiences.

[00:08:18] So we shared that out. So she’s actually we trained 20, 000 of our closest friends about what do you do in an active coup situation? And that became the base of to democracy. It was a volunteer project for us. I joined it on the side and it became a project. We trained a lot of people. We had a lot of pieces in preparation, things in motion, and we closed up shop.

[00:08:42] We decided not to be an organization permanently. We think that there’s enough organizations out there. This is a fly by night operation. We did our job and we’re done. So we didn’t want to be here. And the only reason we restarted was a similar acknowledgment that like last time people weren’t taking the Trump coup possibilities seriously enough, and therefore we weren’t prepping, preparing, we weren’t considering the possibilities, considering our reactions.

[00:09:07] And in fact, there were factions on the left who kept saying don’t even use the word coup. And we’re in fact, urging us to not acknowledge the reality of what was, and so again, here we are where denial is in front of a lot of us and for good reason, who wants to think about what a Trump autocracy might look like, but denial isn’t a great strategic framework.

[00:09:30] So that’s why I choose Roxy came back around again to create some resources to help us just think through what might this look like in a way so that we can be more thoughtful planners. More attentive to what might happen and get ourselves psychologically and spiritually ready for that possibility because we can’t do what we did eight years ago and be in shock for months and months where people keep saying, I can’t believe he’s doing that dot now we got to believe it.

[00:09:54] He’s telling us what he’s going to do. 

[00:09:57] Cayden Mak: We won’t have the time this time around also to spend that much time not believing it, because he’s telegraphed very clearly what he wants to do. So I guess let’s get into the meat of the project. What is the nature of the project? What came first in the sort of like design decisions around it?

[00:10:14] And who were you thinking about as your ideal users when you were designing this? 

[00:10:19] Daniel Hunter: So we initially started by running some internal scenario planning sessions to just get ourselves in motion. So we started to ask ourselves, okay, so what would happen? So we created hastily some strategy plans and then created, ran a strategy game where essentially people play the role of Trump and people played the role of MAGA and people played a number of different roles to see some of the dimensions of how these things might unfold and to get a sense of our own reaction.

[00:10:46] And it was sobering. A lot of our left instincts, I think, didn’t do us well the degree to which we talk about, I think a lot of the actions were reactive and attempting to after an announcement, get behind it. Maybe we can undo that announcement. And so there’s a lot of reactivity, which is consistent with what we see.

[00:11:08] And we realized that’s not going to serve us particularly well to be in a reaction after each proclamation to then go into the street. Stop. Don’t do that thing. It exposes our weakness, it exposes our degree to which we haven’t organized, and it doesn’t actually set us up well to do what we need to do, which was to gain power in order to kick this man out.

[00:11:28] So what we realized was we need some different kinds of resources. And so one was the scenario writing, which Katie ended up taking on and leading that. And another route was beginning to do more interviews, just like last time of people who’ve. Thought and kicked out autocrats in their own country, since there is a good history of that around the globe.

[00:11:50] What are they learning? What advice do they have for us? And then the third was more imaginative book in the form of what might be called a pick your own path or choose your own adventure style book that just allows people to imagine what if without having to debate about Will it look exactly this way or exactly that way but just to enter into the realm of imagination without attempting to be prescriptive or foresee the future there, there’s a lot of different ways this thing could go and acknowledging that.

[00:12:17] And so rather than having debates about it, really asking ourselves, what would you do? So Trump makes a move in the choose your own adventure, and then you make a move. And then Trump’s people makes a move and then you make a move. And so we keep getting asked the question, what do you want to do? What’s the piece that’s inside of you?

[00:12:34] What’s the action that you think will be effective? And then we get to, again, play it out. Imagine what that might do. 

[00:12:40] Cayden Mak: Yeah, I find this really interesting because actually in the early 20 teens, I dropped out of a grad school program where I was working on games and play as tools for popular education, but I dropped out of grad school to become a full time professional activist, so, whatever.

[00:12:56] So the process here is really interesting to me because one of the things that I remember reading a lot about is the way in which designing a game system often leads to deeper learning on the part of the designers, and then translating that learning to the people who then play the game or go through the scenarios can be a little challenging.

[00:13:14] Were there challenges like that in designing this or did some of those come come out in the wash in terms of your Not necessarily writing this for an organization, but you’re writing it for, like, how do you as an individual think about this? Can you talk a little bit about that process?

[00:13:28] Like, how did you, how were you able to distill some of those learnings from your own scenario planning into this document? 

[00:13:34] Katey Lauer: I think I want to echo the thing you just said, Caden, which is that it’s our belief that there’s Something about play or games can get us to be immersive about a topic or a challenge in a way that thinking about it doesn’t quite do.

[00:13:50] So I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read at this point or headlines I’ve seen about a possible Trump presidency. And there’s something that happens differently when we immerse ourselves in a scenario and then get to see what comes up and notice like what’s emergent. And there’s other things that get revealed when we do it.

[00:14:10] So in some of these pilots that Daniel was describing, where a group of a couple of dozen of us, were trying out scenarios and trying out how we would react to them. There were a lot of surprises about how, things I wouldn’t have guessed anyway, about what behaviors we chose or what we noticed that this hypothetical Trump character did, because we were doing it in real time.

[00:14:32] We were doing it immersively. And the other benefit of that, and I think this is, to some of the psychology that we’ve been talking about, is that it also lets us be in an emotional experience about what’s going on, as opposed to intellectualizing it. And so we also got in some of these pilots that we use to bridge from and design their tools, we got to notice, what is the feeling that’s coming up for me as I choose this reaction, or as I watch this reaction?

[00:15:03] These steps of our opponents unfold. I remember one of the, one of our co players saying after the fact that it felt like there was some like new pathway that got opened up in his mind, because there was something about the immersion of it that was really helpful. So each of these tools does something as immersive.

[00:15:22] So the group scenario game play, let’s that happen on a group level. And then the the sort of choose your own adventure game lets that happen on an individual level. And the spirit of both of them is, let’s just put ourselves in a situation and try it out, as opposed to thinking it through. 

[00:15:38] Cayden Mak: Yeah, that’s one of the things that we noticed, going through some of the materials, is that there is such an emphasis on noticing, which is such a it’s very clearly drawn from a lot of mindfulness practice. That and I think that Especially when you think about the discourse online and the way that we talk about these things that being angry on twitter.

[00:15:57] com is such a head experience, actually, even though we think of it as an emotional experience because we’re mad, right? But it’s not it’s not an embodied emotional experience in the way that it seems like you all are asking people to be vulnerable. with this about a little bit.

[00:16:12] And I think that’s really interesting. And I think it’s important to think about the kind of emotional preparedness that’s not just bracing, right? I think that, I’ll use I statements on this one, but when I think about these eventualities, these possibilities, that I feel a lot of bracing in my body, right?

[00:16:32] And I know that does not necessarily put me in a sort of The most creative, strategic, and responsive mindset that if we’re literally locking ourselves down in body and mind, I’m curious about the sort of thinking behind some of that mindfulness stuff and what were their discussions about the sort of like affective impact of gameplay and rolling through some of these scenarios in how you prepared the materials?

[00:16:57] Well, strategy 

[00:16:58] Daniel Hunter: is an art. It’s not a intellectual experience. It’s something that really comes through how we are moving through our entire body and our entire sort of way of. And so strategy rather than separated as a kind of intellectual activity, as Katie said, we got curious about the question of, it’s about what do you really want to do?

[00:17:21] And so one of the conversations I have regularly with people when I say, I ask people, so what do you want to do? If Trump does win. People say, I want to flee. I want to go to Canada. I want to go to Panama was most recent when I was told yesterday. And I want people to acknowledge that. Okay. How will that go for you?

[00:17:42] What’s that feeling stayed inside of you and I want to honor. So I think one aspect of the choose your own adventure is it allows people to honor whatever’s true for you. I want to. I want to run away. Got it. Okay. Choose that. It doesn’t work out for us. If the entire left decides to just abandon itself and go to Canada, right?

[00:18:01] That doesn’t work out politically for us, but if that’s the instinct and it goes unacknowledged, then it doesn’t give a chance for people to just note it and then try the next thing. So they flee to Canada. You can see what happens if you flee to Canada and then you get offered a chance to try it again and to try a different choice.

[00:18:21] And see how that goes and put on that thing. And it’s a little bit in that way. It’s like the lightness of trying on some different clothing. If you’re not sure what you want to wear, then you just get to, you get to put something on, see how that looks in the mirror, take it off, try something else.

[00:18:35] And that’s the advantage of a choose your own adventure, which it just allows a kind of exploration. That’s what the resource that Katie created of the scenario planning tools. Again, it just allows people to try things on. And I think that invites some space and space is the thing we need if we’re not going to just be braced.

[00:18:56] Is that? And what that space is that space is the off the space to reflect and consider, I think more fully what kind of choices we want to do. And to also see how some of our own instincts may not serve us. If our instinct is to hit the streets right away. Maybe that doesn’t do what we needed to do.

[00:19:17] Maybe we need to find a more strategic route if our instinct is. But again, we’re not trying to fight people at their instinct. We’re just allowing people to acknowledge. So the style here is not combative. We’re not attempting to tell you this is the way you have to fight this thing, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:19:32] It’s more an exploration because we don’t, this is uncharted territory. And so we’re feeling very humble about that. We don’t have an attitude of. We have the strategy, the route where it’s really open invitation for people to find their strategy, their route, because we do, fundamentally, Katie and I both share beliefs and people we believe that people can be very smart and when given the right tools and space and opportunity that they can be smart about their own situation.

[00:20:01] So I want to just invite that as much as possible. 

[00:20:04] Cayden Mak: Yeah, I love that. Yeah, well, maybe it might make sense to talk through some of the scenarios that the project plays out because I think there’s some very obvious things like as you say that are the instinctive stuff that’s Oh, I’m going to leave the country.

[00:20:17] Oh, I’m going to hit the streets with all my comrades. What are some of the scenarios that this has given you space to explore and that you’re excited to share with folks on the left? 

[00:20:27] Daniel Hunter: What is about just continuing to march in the streets? So after the, eight years ago, the women’s march and various other marches began developing and marches are fantastic opportunity for us to see who’s out is with us.

[00:20:43] It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to feel. Connected to other people, especially those of us who are in isolated areas and pockets, that can be a chance to feel more connected and part of a community where we might feel very isolated, particularly after an emotional loss like this. Again, if it was to come on the other hand, they’re not great power builders in a long term strategy.

[00:21:07] They’re not a threat. To the opposition. In fact one of the things that we learned is we’re chatting with people who’ve fought autocracies. It’s a very common technique for autocracies to support their opposition to show up in concentrated places where they can then beat them up, oppress them, show chaos.

[00:21:27] In Serbia, for example Milosevic used to regularly order his paramilitaries to show up at the same place as protesters in order to create a chaotic scenario so that he could then walk in and say, see, it’s chaos. This is why you need a strong man. So we can fall into a bunch of those traps. I think that’s one of the piece that I began watching was we could fall into some of the traps of Just doing regular marches without some other power building approaches without, especially for those of us in the disobedience wing of things to identify some other ways to exert our power that aren’t just concentrated moments in time in which we take a physical space, but also expanding our vision of using strikes, wildcat strikes, using our symbolic acts of protest and Denmark.

[00:22:23] They resisted Nazis by wearing paper clips, very non confrontational, low bar entry to a political resistance movement. You just put a paper clip on your lapel or on your shirt and that became a symbol. So we explore some of those different realms or options because I think we have to expand our mind away from some of the trajectory that the left has gotten a little hooked into.

[00:22:48] You mentioned Twitter spending a lot of time in reactive mode on Twitter, trying to just Prove our point or make our whatever, those aren’t, those won’t work out for us in the long term because those aren’t power building measures that we need to take. And in fact, we need to help our own movement dissuade ourselves from some of the knee jerk reactions.

[00:23:07] Cayden Mak: That’s great. I think that the, this, the thing that this conversation is also highlighting for me is just like how deeply researched, the setup for these scenarios is. And then knowing that part of the design process was to play out a similar like multiplayer version of those scenarios is really makes it feel different to me than I think some other similar projects I’ve seen or studied in the past that maybe don’t have this sort of like depth of just like intimate knowledge about.

[00:23:38] Like what we’re talking about here that seems like really helpful and potentially really powerful experience. 

[00:23:45] Katey Lauer: Katie, it makes me want to say a bit about just one more resource we leaned on for this. So in the, those, these pilots that we mentioned that Daniel and a small team led to like just try out, how do we react?

[00:23:57] Or what do we notice about ourselves that might inform some of these game designs? And then there’s all the research that Daniel’s naming that especially informed the Choose Your Own Adventure tool. So this I do this and then what happens next? And then I do this action and then what happens next?

[00:24:10] Sort of individual gameplay. And then one more resource we leaned on that especially informed the group scenario planning is a report and presentation. And then what It was facilitated by Future Currents that outlined what are the major six major sort of threat areas under a potential Trump presidency.

[00:24:33] And so when folks play the group scenario game, what they’ll see, what you’ll see in that game is those six major areas outlined. So examples of those are Trump uses pardon powers to allow for violence and lawbreaking. So this is the scenario where. Trump pardons January 6th Instructionists and then continues to use his pardon power to pardon other loyalists of his that commit crimes on his behalf.

[00:25:00] Another example is that, and I actually just read an article about this yesterday, but Trump investigates critics and rivals to quell dissent. So this is the situation where retribution is most on Trump’s mind, and he uses the powers of the Department of Justice. Yes. to go after political opponents. So anyways, there’s six of these scenarios and the way that the foundation of this scenario game really leans heavily on the good thinking and research of those other institutions to give us a chance to think through so if this, if we’re dealing with this major threat area, what are the choices we might make in that scenario and how do we want to move as a group and what might our opponents do?

[00:25:40] And so yeah, just one more big thank you to the folks who contributed. We’re putting together those materials. 

[00:25:46] Cayden Mak: My last big question for the two of you is that one of the things that we noticed going through, especially the like individual website version, is there not a lot of end results that what you might consider like total defeat or victory, right?

[00:26:00] That there’s a lot of ambiguity and there’s a lot of sitting in the like trade offs of what certain choices lead to versus others. Could you talk a little bit about the importance of that and like your thinking behind setting up these scenarios in ways that are certainly realistic, right?

[00:26:18] In terms of like total defeat or victory is not something that’s going to happen in the next 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, but how did you negotiate that territory? And what is your thinking behind giving these Sort of end states that do have a little bit of, a little bit of push and a little bit of pull.

[00:26:38] Daniel Hunter: I’ll give you two, two answers. So one, one an honest answer, which is we put this resource together very quickly. And so I think having read it, I have my own takes of oh, maybe I would’ve written this a little. Like I have my own and I’m sure others who go through it will have their own I would’ve put it that way or framed it this way and changes in, in terms of some of those.

[00:26:58] So I, I have my own kind of analysis of that. But as I was looking at it, and I’m glad you picked up on it. It’s not a dire all or nothing moment. And in fact, I work closely with colleagues who work in autocracies and they continue to live lives and their lives are filled with great joyous moments and sad defeats and moments of fear and moments they’re not scared.

[00:27:22] And there are, I think just those of us who have not yet gotten that experience to hang out with other people who experienced autocracies. And in extremely repressive environments that I think we can catastrophize and catastrophizing is very much in the atmosphere and I work on climate change.

[00:27:41] So I certainly believe in catastrophe as an option, but I think it as a instinct, catastrophizing doesn’t do us a huge advantage and it isn’t a great descriptor of what might come in terms of the, as you say In 12 months, in 24 months, how exactly, does the entire people talk about this in large terms of democracy falling apart?

[00:28:03] And I agree that whatever paper, wallpaper version of democracy that we have might in fact be falling apart. And I don’t think it necessarily means therefore X, Y, and Z. Everything is falling apart. The Civil War chaos constant that and there may be middle ground. That we experienced. So I acknowledge it could go in some extremes, and there are some versions that are more extreme than others.

[00:28:29] But I think we’re in a moment of tension. That’s what we’re going to experience. So we have to gear up, not just for catastrophe. That’s the bracing. We have to gear ourselves up for tension, for ongoing polarization, politicization. I, everything is going to get more politicized and there will be more tension and we just have to be able to sit in that fire.

[00:28:55] Cayden Mak: Yeah. Thank you for that. I think that’s the thing that this comes back to is what you both said at the beginning about. practice. It actually, one of the things I love about being at Convergence is we are not in the catastrophizing kind of space generally, and like the way that we choose to talk about things, the way that we’re thinking about things.

[00:29:15] But then you go into the wider internet, and I think that’s as you say, it’s in the air. And I think there’s something that’s very human about it, right? To go into the unknown and be like, very frightened about it, but it does not necessarily serve us strategically. 

[00:29:27] Katey Lauer: And I think one reason it doesn’t serve us is because sometimes when we’re in that sort of heightened state, it can encourage us to look for one right answer, like what is the super solution?

[00:29:38] What is the one way? What’s the right way to respond to this moment? And a thing that’s a bit implied in these tools is there isn’t one. And we don’t mean that to mean that there’s nothing will help. It’s not that’s not the spirit of it, but rather that Let’s, I just so appreciate your word noticing, Caden, let’s notice what are the reactions we have, what are the options available to us, what are the feelings that come up, and given those things, what’s the choice we want to make then next?

[00:30:07] Not what is the exact right strategy that we have to have an allegiance to that is perfect and will work. We don’t actually know that there is one and that in our, when we’re in a vigilant state when we’re in a catastrophizing state. It can get us into more of that black and white, right or wrong, got to solve it, thinking, and I think some of this, the spaciousness that we’re rooting for is that we can act, we want to be able to move with more awareness so we can make the best choice that we can make in the moment and then we can make another one because we have, we’re moving with enough awareness.

[00:30:45] That we can be choiceful as opposed to attempting to be vigilant and right and just get tighter and tighter. 

[00:30:54] Daniel Hunter: Yeah, I was just going to add like another piece that I think is so helpful is what you’re saying, Katie, in terms of noticing the different roles out there that in an autocracy movement, an anti autocracy movement, far more mainstream people than we’ve ever aligned with before are potential allies in the cause.

[00:31:13] And so. Right. Liz Cheney is on the list of people who might get arrested by a Trump presidency. I’ve never imagined myself to be in a boat with Liz Cheney resisting together, but here we are, right? And she’ll resist in a different way than I will. And we have to get some alignment. And so some of it is just tracking.

[00:31:35] It doesn’t mean we have to, we’re not sitting down and agreeing that doesn’t necessarily have to happen. And there may be spaces for that, but that what we’re going to need to do is more observation. And I think one thing as a someone who’s a disobedience direct action person, I’m aware of having to wait and listen more carefully for are more mainstream people ready to go in and join and framing my actions in a way that can have more people be invited into them than I may have before.

[00:32:03] And so all of those are just noticing our role. Opens up space and what Katie’s talking about opens up our strategy. And so one, one reason we were excited to launch this with Convergence is because you all are, I think of you as so practical and have some practical resources. So we just wanted to be so transparent about we’re releasing the resource that Katie was talking about of the, this, these guides that you could use with your own group.

[00:32:32] So facilitator guide that you could use with your group. Your own facilitation, your own team, think through to just do some of this imagination prep work. And we’re just delighted to get to announce this is now live on our website. What if Trump wins. org now, and we’re releasing it on Convergence because of, what you all do, because you’re not that catastrophizing place or place for people who want practical answers for the challenges in front of us.

[00:33:00] Cayden Mak: Yeah, and I think that we’re also in deep alignment with you in this thinking about this broad front against authoritarianism that it’s like really, it’s a complex ecosystem, actually, and that we also need to be prepared to figure out how we flank each other, and how we protect each other, and how we utilize those sorts of moments where people are drawn in who might not be the, usual suspects, to then protect some of the usual suspects, right?

[00:33:24] Some of us will be very vulnerable in, in a lot of these scenarios, organizationally as well as personally, in that a tool that helps us think through what participating in this kind of broad threat practice. is also something that we need, because I think on the left we lack we lack that practice as well.

[00:33:40] Right? It’s not just about the authoritarianism piece. I think there’s also a piece where we are just now getting into formation and trying to understand what United Front practice might look like in the United States. 

[00:33:51] Daniel Hunter: That’s right. That’s right. And so when Liz Cheney gets arrested, we may be in formation with her.

[00:33:57] Right. Right. 

[00:33:59] Cayden Mak: And that would be, I agree, it would be surprising, but also, like Could be new. And yeah, 

[00:34:04] Daniel Hunter: we also have a different expectation of allyship from others that when some of our, more marginalized communities also get targeted, we’re going to need people information with that too. So, so it’s building those relationships.

[00:34:18] And one reason we’re launching this, not in November, but ahead of time is because we do have to build some of these now. 

[00:34:26] Cayden Mak: Yeah, that’s right. So we’ve got to 

[00:34:27] Daniel Hunter: be on the lookout and building these now. And so we’re trying to support the, that organizing, that instinct, both at local and regional and national levels to let’s get information ready for what’s coming, what might be coming.

[00:34:41] Cayden Mak: Great. Is there anything else that either of you would like to share about the project or other reflections that you’d like people to think about? 

[00:34:48] Katey Lauer: I think my only last comment is just I hope folks will check out the website now. These are great tools to use with yourself and with your groups this summer, especially before election season gets underway.

[00:34:59] More underway than it is already. We think that some of the imagining and noticing work that can happen in the short term can really serve us in an ongoing way. So, I hope folks will check out the website soon. I think this is the season to try some of this stuff on. Yeah. Awesome. And let it simmer too.

[00:35:21] Yeah. And try it again. Try it again on the ball. These are tools that are going to stand up for a while. Yeah. 

[00:35:28] Cayden Mak: Yeah, and conditions are going to change a lot between now and even say August or September. That’s right. Yeah. Great. Well, again, Katie, Daniel, thank you so much for joining us making the time to chat.

[00:35:39] We’re really honored to be the first sort of like media outlet that’s carrying this and we really appreciate your work. Thanks so much for having us. Thanks for your great questions. Once again, you can find all the components of the What If Trump Wins project, which includes the book, the Pick Your Own Path interactive web tool, and role playing game facilitation notes at We’ll also provide links in the show notes. This show is published by Convergence Magazine, a magazine for radical insights. I’m Cayden Mak, and our producer is Josh Elstro. If you have something to say or a question for me, please drop me a line. You can send me an email that we’ll consider running on an upcoming episode at mailbag at convergencemag.

[00:36:24] com. If you’d like to support the work that we do at Convergence, bringing our movements together to strategize, struggle, and win in this crucial historical moment, you can become a member at patreon. com slash convergencemag. Even a few bucks a month goes a long way to making sure our small, independent team can continue to build a map for our movements.

[00:36:42] I hope this helps.

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