These are dangerous times. Never has it been so important for domestic and international human rights advocates and scholars to collaborate. Such action must be guided by past successes in promoting human rights, based on our best history and social science. I share Stephen Hopgood’s sense of urgency, but I disagree with his recommendation that we should only engage in domestic politics and abandon international human rights norms and law.
We will need even stronger domestic movements to protect vulnerable populations from hate and discrimination and to mobilize groups harmed by globalization. Domestic movements, as always, must frame their work in ways that will resonate politically. But human rights will continue to be one important language to mobilize both domestic and international publics. The US election did not reveal a tectonic shift in the electorate. Clinton won the popular vote and Trump received fewer votes than Romney did in 2012. This is less a story of a major realignment of US politics, and more about the electoral college, voter turnout and the impact of third parties. Sexism and xenophobia, nothing new in US politics, played a role. These issues are all important but insufficient to conclude that we should suddenly abandon human rights.