Do anti-Trump protests make sense?

Over the past four days thousands of people have taken to the streets carrying signs bearing the words "Not my president" - also outside the US. Commentators take a sceptical view of the protests, and some even believe they're counterproductive.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Focus on the next elections

The demonstrators should look to the future instead of protesting against the democratically elected President Trump, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung urges:

“Protesters would do better to put some thought into how they can prevent a similar surprise in the congressional elections in two years' time and the next time a president is elected in four years' time. Who are the most presentable candidates? But above all: what problems preoccupy voters and require an answer? There's plenty to do - for Democrats and Republicans alike. The solution can't simply be to say what 'the' people want to hear, as candidate Trump did. He won't be able to keep all his promises. That makes it all the more important for his opponents to think ahead and present a better alternative.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Protesters just reinforcing Trump's populism

If Trump's opponents don't recognise his election victory and show respect for his supporters they will be playing right into the hands of populists, political scientist Jan-Werner Müller writes in the Irish Examiner:

“Had Clinton won, Trump most likely would have denied the new president’s legitimacy. Clinton’s supporters should not play that game. ... This is why it is crucial not to confirm Trump’s rhetoric by dismissing or even morally disqualifying his supporters. This only allows populists to score more political points by saying, in effect: 'See, elites really do hate you, just as we said, and now they are bad losers.' Hence the disastrous effect of generalising about Trump’s supporters as racists or, as Hillary Clinton did, 'deplorables' who are 'irredeemable'.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

A brutal presidency is more likely

Trump has the choice between tackling the protests or ignoring them, Corriere del Ticino observes, fearing that he will choose the latter:

“It is an illusion to believe that Trump will surprise the Americans by deciding one day to address the nation and apologise for his brash words or his insults against certain groups, particularly the minorities. … Yet this would be the right course, not just to prove that he can be magnanimous after his victory but also to reach out to those who still haven't recovered from the shock of his election. … The second course Trump can take would be more difficult and bloodier. It is that of a brutal presidency that doesn't care what its opponents accuse it of and that wants to settle scores with those who are still refusing to accept his election.”