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Donald Trump, Meet a 21st Century Thomas Paine

A Washington, D.C. Attorney Issues a 2020 Call to Action

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Long before Twitter and Facebook arrived on the scene, there were impassioned political writers and theorists in America. At the front of the line was Thomas Paine, one of the greatest political propagandists in history. On January 10, 1776, Paine published a 50-page pamphlet entitled Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, on the Following Interesting Subjects. Although the title was staid, Paine’s prose was incendiary, calling for the colonies to break from England completely.

Common Sense was an instant success, selling more than 500,000 copies, at a time when similar tracts were being sold in the hundreds, In the judgment of The Encyclopedia Britannica. “More than any other single publication, Common Sense paved the way for the Declaration of Independence,” which was unanimously ratified later that year on July 4. Not a bad achievement for an Englishman who left school at 13 years old to become an apprentice to his father, a corset-maker.

Washington, D.C. Lawyer, Russell Bikoff
Washington, D.C. Lawyer, Russell Bikoff

Fast forward to 2020. Washington D.C. lawyer Russell Bikoff, furious about the President’s post-election actions, felt a similar need to issue a call to action. In November, Bikoff sat down at his computer (not with a quill pen) and wrote an angry resolution, “condemning President Donald Trump’s and Republican Claims of Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election and Efforts to Steal the Election and Delegitimize the Incoming Administration of President-Elect Joe Biden.” It took Bikoff several irate hours spread over ten days to polish it off.

“I have the Trump Administration to thank for making me a politically engaged citizen and Democratic party activist,” a determined Bikoff told The Insider. “I want to encourage organized pushback against Trump’s outrageous and dangerous campaign and the Republican acquiescence by another organized force, the Democratic Party and its affiliates across the country.” Continued Bikoff, ‘I hope that Republicans can be placed on notice that there will be negative consequences for them if they allow Trump to gather momentum and whip up his voters, sort of a threat of sanctions.”

While in spirit, Bikoff is a modern-day descendant of Thomas Paine, their paths to publication couldn’t have been more different. Bikoff never worked in a corset-making shop: rather, he honed his forceful rhetorical skills at the University of Michigan Law School. From there, he went on to become a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and a federal official in the foreign affairs community and the U.S. Department of Justice. For the past 15 years, he has practiced law in Washington, D. C., focusing on. criminal defense and civil litigation.

Insider readers who have been enraged by the President’s post-election antics, will be more than pleased to read Bikoff’s stirring resolution, which we have reprinted in its entirety here as a Word document:

Russell Bikoff - Resolution
Download • 21KB

Politically involved Insiders are invited to pass along the resolution to their own political organizations for adoption. The ultimate intended recipients: local elected officials, state legislators, governors, U.S. senators and members of Congress.

As roiled as the political waters are now, we are thankfully not contemplating a Paine-style revolution. The President’s reluctant exit will be on January 20, almost 244 years to the date that Bikoff’s forerunner, Thomas Paine, published his own fiery treatise. While the Trump era feels to many people as though it has lasted for centuries, the end is mercifully near.


Russell A. Bikoff Attorney and Counselor at Law 1620 L Street, NW Suite 610 Washington, D.C. 20036 Tel. 202.466.8270 Fax 202.293.4377 E-mail: Website:



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