New York Times op-ed today asks: Why Don’t We Know Which Democratic Candidate Can Beat Trump? This is not the question to ask. We need systemic change not just a regime change. The question that will get us on track isn’t how to get rid of Trump — which is a band aid until the next Trump in 2024 — but how to get rid of the factors that caused him? From the broken electoral process down to social issues, Trump is the symptom not the cause. The factors that caused him all very much remain. So the next president not only has to move us forward but undo so much that set us back AND address long term solutions at its core which still exist and have worsened.
In terms of political strategy: yes ask how to beat Trump because it’s a numbers game in terms of electoral votes; factors like districting and voter suppression affects numbers, which is why they’re partisan issues; how many people come out to vote etc.
In terms of us: NO. Worry about doing your part. For us, go out and vote for the person you most believe in. Trust me: it’s worse out there than you can think. Much worse. So why am I filled with optimism and continue working for pennies on this? Because the numbers are on our side—if we show up. You just have to show up and urge others to do the same. From the local on up.
Right now, droves of Republican voters are turning out for Trump. Why? “The massive turnout is a reflection of organic enthusiasm among conservatives and a sophisticated effort by Trump’s campaign to rev up its get-out-the-vote machine ahead of the general election. Read: support, enthusiasm, and showing up to vote.
Get rid of this “electability” illness. This “electability” situation is often predicated on what the polls say. “I want to vote for her but I don’t think she can win” is a cop-out and misinformed. The numbers we often hear in relation to “electability” are polls. Who conducted them using how many people in which region at which time asking which questions in a pool from which demographic? No idea, right? Thus: Not to be trusted much less go on as to who to vote for. Even Gallup has been wrong more times than right. JUST DO YOUR PART.
Independents: pick a side. The non-Trump base also suffers from “the independent.” Are you an independent as in Switzerland, who wants everyone’s money and stands for nothing yet has no skin in the game? Because that is not an independent. Or are you an independent in that you don’t want to affiliate with one party but have values you believe in and a candidate who most reflects you and your self-interests? That means: put your teeth into it.
There’s a lot at stake. There’s a sickness caused by our systems. It’s why crimes are now daily committed in our face and nothing is done about it. It’s why we even got to 2016. There is an economic injustice that is suffocating us, and most felt by communities of color and women across the board. Travel around to random counties and you will see. Hell, travel to San Francisco and step over tents of homeless on your way to the $9 coffee. Bernie and Warren get it to the core. As much as we all want to say vote any Dem, yes of course but not any Dem will get to the root problems.
Most people I’ve met live paycheck to paycheck. One diagnosis or accident away from losing it all. No way of coping, no support, no time to get informed as to how to deal with mental issues or whatnot. Fox is their only news. I don’t judge because many factors led up to their lives just as many have led to mine and we each are blinded by our own biases.
Most of all, It breaks my heart because my child will have so much access to basics that their children will not; access to support and healthcare and all of that which enables us to be thoughtful or generous instead of living with constant stress and trauma and fear. What a tragic loss of potential. It’s our loss as much as theirs. You cannot see it if you’re too busy living it.
Yet that’s also where they fight the most. And yes sometimes that fight is for Trump. Who else listened for decades. And like it or not, blame this or that but know this: We will not have any progress on any climate or social justice issue if their desperation is not tended to.
Voting in a Dem is one step in a long haul ahead. No one who benefits from systems—and that includes me and many of my social circle—are afraid of change. It will be a fight even from “good” folks. And def from the power structure. Grand plans will be meted out by legislation and fought in the Supreme Court. We’ll need 8-12 years to see any of it through.
So yes whatever: vote any Dem but know there are only two who get it and will do their level best to fix it at its core. And for me only one with the plans and ability to see a good chunk of it through: Elizabeth Warren.
It’s because I’ve met with so much anger and sadness and desperation I’m so invested in her winning. She not only gets it like Bernie but I’ve seen it. She connects. She can unite. Those qualities can not be underestimated.
Why Elizabeth Warren is our best choice for President
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders may share similar visions of progressive policies but ultimately record, history, political alliances, strategy, skill at navigating legislation and judicial branches are on the side of Warren. She has fought for the working class her entire professional life and as a Senator with agencies, laws, and policies that prove she can bring visions into reality. That’s why she’s the onlycandidate Wall Street, Silicon Valley tech giants, and mega-corporations who pay $1 in taxes fear.
This country needs structural change. It’s not enough to talk big, you have to actually know the structure. What is the new business plan? No social justice platform can be implemented if the majority of people are struggling to provide for their families.
No one knows it better than a tax and debt lawyer and professor. Warren has plans that appeal to working-class who haven’t had a raise that outstrips inflation in 30 years. She has plans for healthcare, childcare, Medicare, and college debt that has put a stranglehold on the middle and working class.
She has the temperament to guide the country out of years of turmoil while keeping a strong hand to ensure the corruption doesn’t go unanswered to restore faith and eliminate the cynicism and normalization that’s settled in.
She is of our times. She has the endorsements and support of our times from the most powerful and vocal groups of their communities: African American civil rights leaders, Black Women caucus, the LGBTQI community, Latinas especially in relationship to immigration rights, unions, reproductive rights organizations who are thrilled a candidate says “abortion,” even parent organizations are thrilled due to her childcare policies. They all endorse her because her views and platforms are intersectional and comprehensive — and they trust she can get policies through.
Bottom line: she has the plans and experience for sure but as important, she inspires trust, exudes warmth, speaks to women, immigrants, and the working-class and upper middle class with the same confidence-inspiring charisma.
In order to transform a nation, similar qualities appear time and again. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for example, needed a vision with plans such as The New Deal, but also had to have the ability to execute, and alliances, political know-how, and a fighting spirit to battle it out whether it was a contentious Congress or Supreme Court. To do any of this you have to be able to foster trust in the government and governance.
Warren can do that better than any candidate because her entire professional life has been about anti-corruption and fighting for the working class, starting with forming the Consumer Protection Agency to combat the rampant housing mortgage corruption and recession of 2008 — that she had predicted as a professor in 2004.
Our nation is again in great turmoil: impeachment, almost daily news of corruption, human rights crises, rampant racism and hate crimes, weekly mass shootings, greater and greater economic insecurity. You must inspire unity and hope in a country battling intense strife. In these times, that is no easy task.
While Bernie Sanders may share some of this vision, he has yet to state how he can do it. He doesn’t have the political base to get it through legislation or navigate a conservative Supreme Court nor the alliances in Congress.
Elizabeth Warren can do it. Vision, policy understanding, political strategy, communication and negotiation skills, all describe a leader like Warren who has the temperament and ability to have a vision and execute it while being able to inspire the public to both heal and forge ahead. We need the temperament of a leader who can heal after these four turbulent years.
“It’s the economies, stupid”
We need a systemic change to address the growing income — and thus education gap. Yes, racism and sexism were at play in 2016 but that doesn’t discount that there is a lot of unrest in impoverished and languishing cities and towns with growing numbers of unemployed or barely surviving families juggling 2 or 3 jobs that foster the worst in people and draws them to candidates who use emotions and false hope to gain support.
Polls show Warren’s message that the economic system is rigged against ordinary people — and her willingness to unapologetically call for fundamental structural changes in the rules of the economic game — are very attractive to the working-class. Voters don’t want continuity or stability, they want change.
Who better than someone who knows just how to do it because she’s studied tax structure, communicated complex plans in simple terms for the public, and implemented into policies and laws.
Warren continues that fight. Her plans and visions are not socialist by far; they are those of most economists. For one, there is no singular economy in this country. The rural poor and urban poor have different reasons and solutions. And the economy is not booming contrary to Trump.
Since the crash of 2008, 75 percent of new jobs pay less than $50,000 a year, and a large percentage barely pay above minimum wage.
Eighty-five percent of post-recession income growth has occurred among the top 1 percent of earners.
The richest 10 percent of Americans own 84 percent of stocks. Barring a crash, which would reverberate throughout the entire country, the daily rise and fall of Wall Street has no effect on most Americans.
The unemployment rate may be at a historic low, but it does not take into account the millions of laborers who are “underemployed” — working part-time hours when they are in desperate need of full-time, salaried work or the “gig” economy where professionals, like teachers, have to take on night shifts as car drivers.
This doesn’t just create stress, it creates fractured families. With rising costs of childcare, who watches the kids as parents must take on second shifts? Where does the health insurance come from in a gig economy?
Millionaires and billionaires, like Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase who had to pay a fine for their hand in the housing crisis of 2008, Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge fund manager; and Microsoft founder Bill Gates all cry about Warren and that should make you suspect. Trump told his friends at Mar-a-Lago after signing a massive tax cut, “You all just got a lot richer.” Why are they crying when in January 2020, most Americans cannot afford a home and are one illness away from bankruptcy?
The public is not just overworked and underpaid but stressed and that means less innovation and more trauma, the kind that stunts national growth and leads to greater societal problems like crime. Jobs are not just about GDP. It’s about a public engaged in work that has a sense of purpose and provides the basics to their families.
Warren understands that deep need and has been a champion for the working and middle class from the start. So much so that as a professor setting up a federal regulatory agency, Warren fought with then-President Obama on his choice for Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers.
“I believe the recovery should have been from the ground up, and people with Geithner’s and Summers’ background would never see the world that way,” she said in an interview with Politico, because above all else she wanted the public to be protected.
In 2007, she predicted the housing crisis. In 2006, when the economy was booming and she was studying consumer debt as a Harvard law professor., she observed, “The great American middle class is fighting a battle for survival — and losing.” And in 2004, in a NOW interview, she predicted the recession of 2008. Each time, she had solutions alongside her simple explanation of complex economic issues.
Vox does an excellent job outlining just how Warren set up the CFPB and why it was so critical.
No other candidate aside from Warren understands the need for a new business plan for the country at its core, and not just provide band-aids and government programs or handouts, least of all because she lived poverty and single parenting upfront and personal.
It is rare that to have a leader and politician who will not only understand the briefs she is given but probably had a hand in writing them or in the research that underlies today’s policy experts.
For the moderates: She’s not out for your money
We do not need a watered-down Obama 3.0. Warren is not what so many Biden supporters fear: a democratic socialist. In a nutshell, her tax plan for the wealthy is: a 2 percent levy on assets more than $50 million, and higher rates on billionaires. Warren is merely saying that the tax system as it now stands benefits the 1% and many in the 1% endorse that they need to pay their fair share. That alone could provide the funding needed for programs such as greater healthcare coverage and student loan debt forgiveness.
Since when did Americans like to be taken for a ride? We are the kings of wanting everything to be fair! In sports like deflate-gate. In “American Idol.” We love underdogs and second acts, Robert Downey Jr!
So how is it we stand for the fact that Amazon paid $1 in taxes? Then gripe we don’t have money to pay teachers and fund schools? The richest 10% of U.S. households represent 70% of all U.S. wealth in 2018, according to a recent study by researchers at the Federal Reserve. How is it that as we watch our paychecks shrink and pay our fair share, more than our share as per statistics, while the 1% saw their fortunes increase from 23% to 32% in 2018? Home ownership is at its lowest since the 1960s; income is falling as the number of jobs Americans must work increase as wealth is consolidated into fewer hands.
Evening the playing field is not radical or progressive. It is 100% American.
For the Progressives: Visions need execution
If Warren and Bernie Sanders share a similar vision to restructure our economy, why Warren? For one, she can execute and two, the woman’s been obsessed. Her entire career has been fighting corruption through an obsessive analysis of power, taxation, systems, and the forces that keep the status quo. That’s why Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Big Business are frightened. Warren gets it. And has successfully fought them and won.
Visions are great. They will all be modulated by legislation regardless. So, what makes the great stand out? Execution.
As a lifelong social justice activist who has studied movements, from the Civil Rights movement to the suffragists and others, the one thing to be gleaned from all of this is that everything which was a win was planned. Behind every vision coming to life is hard work and a strategy executed by a team. There had been other people to board the bus before Rosa Parks. She was not a happy accident.
If you were hiring for a senior-most position in a company, would you want to take someone on who has knowledge of the policies and politics that underlie the job at hand, has the allies and know-how to navigate politics, and the experience to show all of that or a person who talks the same talk but has nothing to show for it?
That may sound harsh towards Sanders yet the proof is in their history. Sanders as per the nonprofit watchdog on politicians, has served over 30 years yet has one major bill to show for it, has the fewest co-sponsored bills (1) and was an Independent until political expediency made him a Democrat. That’s fine however what that shows is an inability to compromise or negotiate, especially with Congress, and it doesn’t do is give you any allies. Warren started a brand new, highly controversial regulatory agency with a Republican Congress to protect consumers while she was a university professor.
As economist Dean Bakers said, “Warren was able to navigate around the opposition from some Democrats and from the Republican Congress to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created, and to ensure that it would have real power to protect people from the financial industry.”
As Iowa’s largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register said when they endorsed her, “she is not radical. She is right.”
She will be a social justice President
Mass shootings are weekly in America. Warren wants to reduce gun deaths by 80% with reforms that a majority of this country already support.
Warren is the candidate for LGBTQ by far, the only candidate to consistently poll in double digits.
She has an ally in Julian Castro and even earlier made it clear she will make unifying families and addressing the abuse that has led to family separations.
She talks about women’s issues that other candidates do not. For too long, more than half the population must suffer through horrific statistics like 1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by 18. Maternal deaths in the US are rising. With the Trump administration, the overt sexism has reached all the way to the Supreme Court.
She deftly addresses major issues like “electability,” the silencing of women (“she persists!”), domestic violence (“you are not alone”), and reproductive rights (“abortion rights are human rights”). She reflects a nuanced understanding of the range of issues all women must face, like childcare citing her own aunt’s assistance when she was working as a single mother.
She’s a woman, mother, and progressive–and that matters.
It does make a difference when a woman is in charge—the right woman. Warren is that right woman out of the candidates. She’s the first to go to college in her lower-income Oklahoma family; a single mother for a time who credits her aunt’s childcare support as being critical to her success. As Justice Sotomayer said: it may not define you but it influences you. Ethnic identity like gender identity impacts how you see the world. Warren’s campaign is offering childcare on caucus night. Childcare wouldn’t be on the radar for most men—unless you’ve been a mother, and a single mother like Warren had once been.
Childcare costs have soared. So many parents have to choose to stay at home and have one paycheck or drop off kids at suspect but affordable care. With a widening income gap, that leaves millions of kids already behind their more well off peers. Warren has been doing this on her campaign trail to show she’s committed to this cause in practice as a candidate and it’s not just an off the cuff campaign promise.
“The difficulty of accessing affordable and high-quality child care puts parents in a bind — forcing them to choose between breaking the budget, cutting back work hours, or settling for lower-quality care,” Warren wrote in a Medium post.
The countries right now with the most systemic humane and progressive policies from climate change to education to immigration are led by women: Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Iceland. (While we here don’t even believe women can lead as per half the country.) Such a long way to go—but this is the year we can do it.
On the pulse of the times
This is not the Obama years or 2016. MeToo, Time’s Up, climate change, mass shootings, trans rights and pronouns and gender fluidity– our world is changing and needs a cohesive approach to its solutions. Warren always has been and is intersectional. When speaking about gender violence, she mentions trans violence. When speaking about wage gaps, she reminds the public that black and Latina women face an even greater gap than their white counterparts. Black women are heard even less than white mothers when it comes to prenatal care.
As we bury black young adults, children in mass shootings, a migrant child, or another woman who has died from childbirth, we must remember social justice is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity for a progressive society and it’s time we had a President that embraced and will champion such reforms. Warren is the leader we need.
For the country: a reset
Warren’s first priority taking office: an anti-corruption package. Why? Because this country has been besieged by corruption from Trump’s Day 1. And given the lawsuit of him funneling funds from his inaugural committee to private family benefits, it’s even before his first day in office.
The Trump Organization has been involved with over 19 conflicts of interests, securing business deals using the Presidency, using the Presidency to secure access and meetings for money — for starters.
More importantly than bringing justice to Trump is healing the country and regaining public trust. Before we can forward any progressive policy, like healthcare for all, we need to have a public that trusts governance again otherwise they will not back any plan if it doesn’t believe in the executors of that plan and who better than Warren, someone who has emerged a consistent winner against corruption?
She calmly talks to a protester angry about her opposition to a war with Iran and to a father angry at her for her school loan debt forgiveness plan because he had to pay for his daughter’s tuition. (Her response was spot-on: a lot of things didn’t exist for a lot of people, say colored, queer girls for instance, that exist today. Doesn’t mean everyone in that boat going forward should get screwed.)
You can imagine Obama responding as calmly as she did. You can’t imagine Biden or Sanders. That matters. In these contentious political times when the leader of this country would threaten civilians, mocks them, or turns them over to angry, violent crowds, empathy and calm matter.
The leader in LGBTQ rights
Who supports you matters.
No need to foment discord but suffice to say we’ve already had toxic supporters of a male cult personality with questionable, or no support or endorsements of progressive and powerful organizations. Rather than go into that, there’s a long list of impressive endorsements that reflect who Warren is and what she stands for.
Warren has the most comprehensive platform dedicated to the protection of LGBTQI rights . She has been supported by the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization; by Out, Advocate; by Black Womxn For, a collective of black women and gender-nonconforming organizer.
We can’t afford to be moderate.
Right now, America is not where it was in 2016. That could be a good thing. There are more women and diverse Congressional members than ever before. The sexism and racism that pervaded society can no longer be hushed away. The ugly can come out but so can the forces against it. As the founder of a civics nonprofit, civic engagement can only be a good thing. Democracy dies in the darkness.
However: America is not where it was in 2016.
There have been significant civil and human rights rollbacks from the Muslim ban to a 216% increase in hate crimes to a UN human rights crisis at the border with family separation and unhygienic, inhumane jail-like conditions for asylum seekers.
Workers’ rights have been slashed from a higher threshold for overtime-eligible pay to a 2020 budget proposal with significant cuts for Medicare, Social Security, and SNAP.
It can get confusing at times whether or not a candidate is for you or not. There had been a Washington Post quiz going around to see which candidate you’re most aligned with, like an e-harmony between voter and candidate. This isn’t that.
Here’s a simple list of how to judge candidates given who has been President since 2016.
The Mueller Report makes it clear that: i.) the Russian government tried to help Trump win; ii.) the Trump campaign was eager to benefit from hackings targeting Democrats; and iii.) Trump’s campaign advisers had a lot of troubling ties to Russia.
See all articles and news clips dealing with “Trump Impeachment.” At televisions near you.
Trump paid a $2 million settlement to 8 charities admitting that he misused funds from Trump Foundation for his campaign and settle business debts.
25 cases of sexual assault and harassment and counting.
Trump faced two lawsuits in California and one in New York against fraud allegations that were wrapped into one civil suit against Trump University. A federal court approved a $25 million settlement with students who said they were duped by Trump and his now-defunct Trump University.
a) The US Department of Justice under the Nixon administration sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations. He signed an agreement in 1975 agreeing not to discriminate to renters of color. There’s a lot more where that came from! Here’s a full timeline. b) Senior advisor to Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday told a crowd of far-right French politicians to let people label them as “racist,” and to consider it “a badge of honor.” Bannon was the founder and once executive editor of Breitbart News, which he “proudly” told a Mother Jones reporter at the 2016 Republican National Convention is “platform for the alt right,” referring to Breitbart News. The alt right is a loose network of individuals and groups that promote white identity and reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Bannon was only let go by Trump due to seemingly disparaging remarks he made in a book about Trump and his family. c) Stephen Miller is a Trump senior adviser and architect of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda as well as a far-right political activist. In November 2019, over 900 emails were made public that reveal him to be a supporter of white nationalism. 59 civil rights groups cited Miller as a promoter of “white supremacy, violent extremism, and hate,” and demanded Trump fire him. Given the revolving door of his staff and inner circle, this should’ve been easy. Miller has yet to be fired.
I mean, how important is it to vote? It’s not like you’re marrying the person. That person will only be in charge of your health, like whether you die from diabetes or can afford insulin or are ever able to see a doctor or go broke trying to; if you can ever afford a home or watch as Jeff Bezos buys his tenth home paying a $1 in taxes as you fork over half your paycheck; whether you have clean water or fresh air to breathe; if your children can get a fighting chance in this world with a good education (if they aren’t traumatized due to school shootings or chronically ill due to an inability to pay for health insurance); and whether we are embroiled in a world war. So it’s not to the level of marriage but it does bear some importance.
An admirable quality of Trump supporters and enablers is their unflagging faith, whether due to fear, ignorance, or bullying, there is a resoluteness that Democrats lack. The sky can be blue, and yet if Trump says it’s green, so say they. What I am hearing as of December 2019, before even the primaries kick-off is a “woe-is-me” cry that Trump will win. “I don’t want him to but…”
But what? It is entirely within your control. The outcome may not be but let’s not forget three very important factors:
1. It’s not over until it’s over. Just ask Al Gore. Politics is an endurance game and you have to be like Serena Williams fighting down to the last point of the last game in the last set.
Part of me wants to scream and curse because WHY? There’s no hard data that he’ll win. It seems so obvious that if you are so against something then why believe something that will make it come true? Up until a month, even two weeks before the election, Hillary Clinton seemed a “shoo-in” even by the Trump campaign internally.
There will always be doubt as to an outcome, so fight to the tooth for the candidate you believe in — or do your values mean so little? Does a candidate have to razzle and dazzle with oratory flair in order for there to be groundswell of support? Doubts weaken your candidate. In either case:
Stop Saying He’ll Win.
2. In February 2017, Ezra Klein wrote the “real reason” Hillary Clinton lost which applies today. She lost due to us. Put aside the numbers and Wikileaks and emails and Russia. Swing states, electoral votes, and scandals aside, Trump was Trump. The candidate who said that the Mexicans are rapists, made fun of the disabled, was heard saying “grab’em by the pussy,” rife with sexual assault allegations and corruption lawsuits, links to white supremacists on his team, riddled Russia and mafia ties, and with zero qualifications (almost as an aside). None of that was fake news. He said it. There’s footage. We all heard all of the above. And half of us didn’t. And he won.
Republicans aside, it’s not that Clinton lost due to a narrow margin that should give us pause. It’s that Trump won due to a narrow margin.
Much of that was due to half the country not voting. Nonchalance. The kind of thinking then fueled by “she’ll win but I don’t like her for some vague reason,” that pervades to this day.
Whether sexism is involved or not (it is as polls and data show but that aside), that senseless purity for candidates had once been fueled by “I don’t like her” to now “I don’t want Trump to win, but I don’t like any of the others. No one can win.”
Well, progressives and any champion of sanity, due to that thinking in 2016 we not only threw the baby out with the bathwater but we burned the house down. If we still insist on having “tests,” here’s a list of qualities candidates to judge candidates by since 2016 , ex. have any of the other candidates been found guilty of less than 3 corruption cases? DING! Better than Trump! Less than 25 sexual assault cases? DING! Whiffs of treason? DING! White supremacist ties? DING!
If anyone you like has any of those qualities, then Stop Saying Trump Will Win.
3. Even if Trump is in the lead: what will you do to stop it?
Here’s a guide as to what you can do to be proactive in getting a Democrat elected. Think what you will of Dems, but as our current 2020 party system stands, it will either be a Republican or Democrat as a winner so given all you know of Trump and the GOP, if they don’t sit well, then do what you can. This guide shows you how and what with links, everything from how to submit a vote to actively campaigning, there’s a wealth of options to choose from based on your resources, time, and level of involvement. Choose ONE.
And Stop Saying He’ll Win.
4. Politics is a number game: voters, electoral votes, gerrymandering, districting. I’ve outlined this in another post but this ties into “it’s not over until it’s over.”
Rail against the electoral college all you want but it’s here for 2020. Nothing at the systemic level, like the electoral college, will change unless we have the right judgeships which can only happen if they are appointed, which takes a steady stream of progressives in the Executive and Congressional branches. Why do you think Mitch McConnell is so focused on judgeships? Voter suppression, gerrymandering, the electoral college have all worked in the GOP favor so they won’t make any changes.
To make any of that happen, we need the votes. For the votes, we need voter turnout. For voter turnout, we have to fight for every vote — at the mass media, social media, mailbox, door knock, phone call levels.
And we have to Stop Saying He’ll Win.
5. The data does not support that Trump is a shoo-in winner. Not only do I firsthand speak to thousands of voters and know it not to be true from my slice of life but national and state polls do not bear this up. By the way, merely three weeks prior to the 2016 election, Trump’s own team told him that he had a 15% chance of winning based on polls. It’s not over until it’s over.
More importantly, we need to go forward with steadfast resolution. What has happened — whether it’s climate change, the environmental policy deregulation, the corruption, the inhumane immigration policies — pick one that most resonates and fight for it.
I don’t believe much of this country is Trumpland. I don’t believe most of this country is seething with racism and predators. I believe any country can bring out its ugly with the right cocktail at the top and we now have that cocktail of hate and vitriol, shaken not stirred. Don’t drink it.
Go into this election year holding your values close and speaking out loud for those values with the confidence of a rich, white man or Lizzo.
Do you want systemic change? You don’t have to do too much else but vote. And there’s proof. Community Change Action, along with three others reached out to infrequent and never-voters in Michigan, Nevada and Florida. What they found was astonishing:
When you add new voices and change the electorate, you can shift what is politically possible. ..This method of deep organizing blows up business-as-usual electoral politics. It threatens the huge paychecks of political consultants and strategists on both sides of the aisle who parachute into communities for elections. The progressive political industry spent $5.7 billion on congressional races alone in 2018. Much of that went to the usual Beltway power brokers who focus on tired attack ads or the vote for so-and-so emails.
“Now is not the time to give up. It’s not the time to be silent. And it’s certainly not the time to quit….we can’t afford your disillusionment, no matter what side of the political aisle you are on….
Do something. Do anything! Truly, anything. Sign up to make calls for a local candidate, or your favorite presidential candidate. Commit to canvassing one day a month. Text five friends asking if they’re registered to vote and helping them figure out how if they’re not.”
Join the millions who have protested in Hong Kong, India, Chile, and other countries who are tired of governments bordering on fascism, fueled off hate, supportive of gender and ethnic violence, denying climate change as our earth burns, and preventing progress into a more inclusive, economically and socially just world.
But a lot more seats are empty in Congress and real change with the steps necessary to undo the harm caused by the Trump administration as the nation heals and thrives — needs a progressive Congress that supports a progressive President. Here are the people you can vote out of office, who have been Trump enablers no matter the cost down to overlooking racism, sexism, even crime and their Constitutional duties — and who to support instead.
CAMPAIGNS: DONATE, CANVASS, OR CALL
The biennial election for representatives from all 435 Congressional Districts will take place on November 3, 2020. The Democratic Party currently controls the U.S. House, where 218 seats are needed for control (when there are no vacancies). We need to keep that lead.
Tedra Cobb (D, NY-21)who has spent the past 30 years in public service jobs is running against the incumbent, Rep. Elise Stefanik, one of the leading GOP defenders of President Donald Trump in the House impeachment inquiry.
Democrats need to net three Senate seats — and win back the presidency — in order to control the chamber after Inauguration Day 2021.
M.J. Hegar (D, TX) running in the most flippable Senate seat against Republican Senator John Cornyn. Hegar is a former Air Force helicopter pilot and mom who nearly beat an incumbent Republican House member in the heart of Texas last year. Donate here.
Sara Gideon (D, ME), the Speaker of the House for Maine is running against Sen. Susan Collins, Trump enabler who voted for Kavanaugh and for tax breaks for the wealthiest. Gideon isn’t just against Collins, she’s for progressive policies.
Jamie Harrison (D, SC) running against Trump’s #1 supporter, Sen. Lindsey Graham. Harrison rose from poverty to become a teacher then became the first African American man to become South Carolina Democratic Party chair from 2013 to 2017, and is an associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Amy McGrath (D, KY), former Marine fighter pilot and 2018 congressional candidate coming in strong as a contender for the uber-GOP Trump enabler’s top spot, Mitch McConnell aka #MoscowMitch whom Julian Castro rightly described as the leader who “has done as much or more damage than Donald Trump over the years to our democracy” by packing courts with conservative judges while ignoring hundreds of bills languishing in the Senate, playing dirty to prevent a Merrick Garland appointment while rushing through Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and making obstacles at every step of the way for the Mueller Report and the impeachment trials rather than do his Constitutional duty to investigate a President who may have conspired with foreign powers.
Mark Kelly (D, AZ)runs against Sen. Martha McSally, appointed after the election to serve part of the late Sen. John McCain’s term. Kelly is a Navy veteran and retired astronaut married to former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded at a constituent event in 2011.
Cal Cunningham (D, NC) and State Senator Erica D. Smithare running against Sen. Thom Tillis , “a man with the backbone of a squid and zealous supporter of President Definitely No Quid Pro Quo Donald Trump, has the lowest approval ratings of any sitting member of Congress, according to a poll from Morning Consult.” Cunningham is an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, an environmental services company leader and former legislator who served as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission. Smith currently represents Senate District 3 in her third term.
FAIR & JUST REPRESENTATION
Support Fair Fight. Efforts to discourage and disenfranchise voters—in voter registration, ballot access, or counting of votes—have a catastrophic effect on our democracy and our communities. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than in Georgia’s gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, who was the Republican secretary of state in charge of state elections before he beat Abrams to become Georgia governor–in charge of the very elections in which 1.4 million voters were purged, majority black voters. Now Stacey Abrams is taking voter rights protection nationwide through Fair Fight.
Support All on the Line. With the redistricting process less than a year away, All On The Line is already in full swing — especially because 2020 is a census year. Here’s what you need to know about the role that the census plays in redistricting.
→ The census is the foundation for redistricting. Without an accurate count, it will be impossible to create fair maps that truly represent the communities who live there.
→ The census count will determine how many congressional districts each state will have for the next decade. With 435 representatives total, that means states could gain or lose a district based on population changes.
→ The Supreme Court stopped the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the census, but we expect that map manipulators will try to find new ways to suppress the power of certain communities in an attempt to maintain their own power.
Protests have been ongoing this week after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied doctors’ requests to give flu vaccines to detained migrants. Three of the six children who have died under US custody died of the flu in overcrowded, unhygienic detention camps.
Despite the conditions and these deaths and warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal authorities prevented doctors from entering the premises to administer flu shots. Six doctors were arrested.
Doctors for Camp Closure, an organization that opposes the detention of migrants and refugees attempting to enter the United States, protested with upwards of 70 people, including physicians, outside the Chula Vista, California, facility Monday.
A History of Negligence by the US Government and CBP
A June report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general that found inhumane, disease-prone conditions at the centers, with immigrants packed in standing-room-only areas with limited access to baths.
In August 2019, as reported by CBS News, doctors associated with Harvard and Johns Hopkins called for an investigation into health care at border facilities months ago in a letter to members of Congress. The letter came in response to the deaths of six migrant children either in government custody or soon after their release.
Later that same month, a report by the CDC detailed at least 931 cases of mumps at CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities . The CDC called for immediate reform of the camps and vaccinations.
“In general, due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in custody,” a CDC spokesperson said in a statement.
The request was given this week by Doctors for Camp Closures — and denied.
“This is intentional cruelty. People are needlessly suffering and dying. You can’t lock people up in inhumane conditions, watch them get sick, and then refuse them access to medical care,” said Marie DeLuca MD.
At least three of the children died from the flu, according to autopsies. The doctors wrote in their letter that flu deaths “are fairly rare events for children living in the United States.” That’s nine times the mortality rate of the general pediatric population, according to Doctors for Camp Closure.
The three children who have thus far died of the flu are:
Several healthcare providers —supported by Doctors for Camp Closures (D4CC), Families Belong Together (FBT), and Never Again Action, as well as advocates, fellow physicians, and local community members— will continue rallying through this week to demand a meeting with CBP. They hope to discuss the urgent need for immigration officials to end their policy of denying detained migrants access to routine flu vaccinations.
The United Nations has called what the United States has been doing to migrants at the border “a human rights abuse.” Congress has done nothing despite visits to these overcrowded detention centers where malnutrition, sexual abuse, disappearances, and deaths have rampant. The most traumatizing aspect of the process has been family separations where even babies have been separated from their caregivers. Many of these children have disappeared, many more have been abused, and all have been traumatized.
Defendants of these laws say that it is “the law” and the law has been broken by these migrants. That is false. Before getting into the laws, let’s debunk the myths with data.
The biggest problem with our immigration is that our policies and public understanding of immigration is circa 1997 instead of 2019. Consequently, we are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of the current immigration crisis.
MYTH 1 The number of migrants is unprecedented. FALSE.
Border crossings are at their lowest levels in decades, and current research estimates more unauthorized immigration is caused by visa overstays than illegal entry.
Foreign population breakdown 1997 vs 2017:
1n 1997, European descent 17% in 1997 substantially declined to 10.3% in 2017.
In 1997, Asians accounted for 26.1%; today, Asians account for 30%.
In 1997, Central Americans accounted for 6.3%; today, they are at 8.1%
In 1997, South Americans accounted for 5.9% and increased to 7.3%.
There has not been major growth in the unauthorized population for many years.
MYTH 2: Those damn Mexicans. FALSE
Today there are more Asians than Mexicans living in the United States. Mexican born population has remained steady for over 20 years, between 27-29%. Mexicans are a smaller percentage of the overall U.S. population than they have been for many years.
The Pew Research Center has reported extensively on the undocumented population and estimates that there are approximately 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States. The “Northern Triangle” countries—Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—have all consistently increased as shares of the undocumented U.S. population. India has driven the growth in the Asian undocumented U.S. population, as the levels from countries like China and Korea have largely remained constant for the past 15 to 20 years.
The growth in Mexicans’ usage of legal visas (evidenced in the growth of H-2A and H-2B visas), coupled with a major decline in Mexican illegal immigration based on total apprehensions from the US Customs and Border Protection, has changed things dramatically at the border compared with the mid-1990s.
MYTH 3 Illegal immigrants are uneducated. FALSE
Currently, almost half of all immigrants in the United States have more than a high school education. A recent Migration Policy Institute study found that between 2011 and 2015, nearly half of all new immigrants were college graduates.
On May 19, 2019, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year old Guatemalan migrant was taken into custody by US Border. Last week, a video obtained by ProPublica shows Border Patrol officials held the sick teen, who had already been diagnosed with a 103-degree fever by a nurse, locked in a concrete cell without any medical attention where his condition worsened. He died by the next morning and his body was not discovered until his cellmate alerted guards.
Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) acting commissioner at the time, John Sanders, called Carlos’ death a “tragic loss.” However, this damning video shows that guards ignored him despite an obviously ill Carlos, writhed in pain, vomited blood, and collapsed on the floor where he lay for four-and-a-half hours until his cellmate notified guards when he discovered Carlos’s collapsed body in the morning.
“Why is a teenaged boy in a jail facility at all if he is sick with a transmissible illness? Why isn’t he at a hospital or at a home or clinic where he can get a warm bed, fluids, supervised attention and medical care? He is not a criminal,” said Dr. Judy Melinek, a San Francisco-based forensic pathologist who reviewed records of Carlos’ death at the request of ProPublica.
Carlos crossed the border along with 144,000 other migrants. Once in custody, he was separated from his adult sister to be processed at the McAllen processing center. That warehouse was already beyond capacity. When a nurse diagnosed Carlos with possible flu given his high fever and chills, rather than take him to a hospital and notify his sister, he was put into isolation to avoid contaminating other held migrants.
Children and teenagers crossing the border illegally without parents or guardians generally must be placed with the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours. But in May, HHS and CBP were at overcapacity.
In a spot check soon after Carlos died, the DHS inspector general reported that a third of the 2,800 unaccompanied minors in CBP custody in the Rio Grande Valley had been there longer than 72 hours.
Why are any children or people seeking asylum in cages as if they were inmates? Also, the agency held Carlos for six days, though the agency is supposed to transfer children within 72 hours. Within 72 hours? That is not acceptable.
The entire legal framework of the processing and holding of migrants is unacceptable, unethical, and a human rights violation as designated by the United Nations. More information as to the laws and regulations can be found here.
The question must be asked:
WHY ARE CHILDREN SEPARATED AT ALL?
The border situation has changed since Carlos’ death. As reported by ProPublica:
CBP now has 250 health staffers at its facilities across the Southwest
Border Patrol cells have largely emptied out since July.
HHS is building out its shelter capacity from 15,000 beds to 20,000, with emergency influx facilities that can handle thousands more.
The number of migrants crossing the border has declined sharply due to the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which sends them to wait in dangerous Mexican border cities while U.S. courts consider their immigration and asylum claims.
John Sanders resigned soon after Carlos’s death, citing unprepared agencies and an unresponsive Congress that allowed children in custody to suffer in harsh conditions
“I really think the American government failed these people. The government failed people like Carlos,” Sanders said. “I was part of that system at a very high level, and Carlos’ death will follow me for the rest of my life.”
When I say RIP, I mean Rest In Power. Carlos’ and other kids’ deaths and abuse and trauma should not be in vain. When will Congress respond?
We vote because we have a voice. That voice may not win out but our democracy is based on the constant struggle to make this “a more perfect union.” That’s why so many of the ills of society could be amended: to make way for the African American voice, to make way for the voice of women. That is what our vote should be. That is at the heart of how our system works and why we critique it to make it better.
Right now the biggest obstacles for a fair election are:
Election security: given 2016, not to mention issues in other close elections, foreign government interference and our own methods of counting votes needs major security beef ups.
Voter Suppression: not everyone is able to vote, which Stacey Abrams is tackling;
Gerrymandering: which manipulates how votes are counted giving an unfair political advantage to one party, the GOP in this case, that therefore ensures the other party’s voice is never heard
Special interests: the money driving candidates and elected officials.
This last issue of money is the major factor of what has driven Senator Kamala Harris out of the presidential race. Whatever you thought about Sen. Harris as a candidate, her departure was abrupt, and her voice was crucial, especially in an election where the black electorate is heavily coveted and she was a black and South Asian woman that gave voice to that community — the very demographic being wooed.
If money is the sole determining factor in elections, then it will continue to reflect the economic gaps based on racial inequalities. The only other minorities left are Sen. Corey Booker who is struggling to stay in the game, and Julián Castro, a candidate already active in the black and Latino communities and in touch with the issues of the times, who had to drop out but now is back in for the next debate.
That Castro was forced out so early is also a sign of inequity. While the black population may be the target of candidates, Hispanics are projected to be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the U.S. electorate when voters cast their ballots next year.
The majority of viable presidential candidates are primarily those who do not resemble today’s America, such as two white male billionaires, a white man who is a career politician, a white man who may identify with LGBTQ community but openly has no issues with big money in campaigns; and the white supremacist favorite as per polls (can we do away with “alt right”), Tulsi Gabbard.
Who remains do not represent those who are part of the most coveted voting demographics and those who did no longer have the national stage for 2020.
That points to systemic issues here, folks.
1) One part is the overt sexism. There always needs to be caution to view every situation or individual through the lens of an -ism but not only has the 2016 election clearly showed sexism but as early as last month, one-third of voters say they don’t believe in female leadership as per a recent voters’ poll by Ramussen.
Castro today echoed this in a video he tweeted after Sen. Harris’s announcement about the media’s double standards that worked against her campaign from the start. Whatever other issues her candidacy may have had, as even Sen. Amy Klobuchar pointed out in the last debate: Women are held to a higher standard (like this LA Times’ op-ed which cites Sen. Harris’s apparent lack of qualifications in a race where Pete Buttigieg is soaring — whose sole political qualification is that he has been a mayor since 2012) and women of color doubly so. This isn’t to say one needs decades of qualifications nor that Buttigieg isn’t qualified, it simply means Sen. Harris, with actual decades of experience, is held to a higher standard by the media and voters.
2) Campaign finance needs an overhaul. This is an obvious issue when two billionaires are able to buy their way onto the next Democratic debate while qualified candidates who polled reasonably well with voices that need to be heard on the national stage have been forced to exit.
3) Castro also pointed out another issue that cripples diverse candidates: the order of the Democratic primaries which take place in states like Iowa and New Hampshire that have predominantly white populations.
“I think there’s a narrative that emerged early in this campaign cycle that in order to win, candidates needed to appeal especially to white working class voters in the Midwest,” Castrol said. “I actually believe that in addition to the white working class in the Midwest, we also need to be able to appeal to diverse communities [in cities in the battleground states.]
Election security, the electoral college, gerrymandering, and voter suppression are outside the scope of voters other than voting in reps who will fight for reforms or for the judicial appointees that will overturn these systemic issues. The electoral college is a Congressional issue so indirectly it depends on whom you vote for.
Castro, Warren, and Sanders have publicly stated that they will not accept big money for their campaigns. Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, has not accepted money from lobbyists, political action committees and executives in the fossil fuel industry.
Only one candidate has actively addressed this issue and who, you guessed it, has a plan: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (This is not an endorsement.) Here’s her statement to get big money out of politics and her very specific plan to get it done. Warren isn’t to be trifled with given she has already single-handedly conceived of and established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog agency that helps protect the little guy from Wall Street’s schemes.
No doubt that Sen. Harris will be a success in other capacities. She may become our next Attorney General. She will continue making her mark in the Senate and is going to kill it at the impeachment hearings — and has promised Trump the same.
But we can’t overlook or not examine what’s happening and why if we want this campaigning process to improve. AND we must elect the reps who will support such improvements — campaign finance reforms, the order of the primaries, a push to eliminate or revise the electoral college. Otherwise, it’ll be a vicious cycle as candidates we want can’t progress and others do who may be poorly qualified or can be bought. Such a system doesn’t reflect our choice nor our values we strive for and with poor leadership, no matter who wins, we all lose.
Why should this matter? For one, Nune is overseeing an investigation into corruption in Ukraine, which he himself abused power to investigate. It is a conflict of interest at best and outright corruption. Impeachment is serious and the crimes for which a president can be accused strike at the very heart of our democracy. Such manipulation and tampering undercut our need to ensure a fair impeachment inquiry and trial.
Two, you, as a taxpayer, need to know where your money is going and that your political representatives are not using it for their personal gains, such as overseas trips and entertainment unrelated to political office.
In 2018, he used political donations to pay for nearly $15,000 in tickets to Boston Celtics basketball games as well as winery tours and lavish trips to Las Vegas, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission and two nonpartisan watchdog groups.
Three, corruption left unchecked increases the harm to our communities because our reps are no longer working for us but for the highest bidder, and the system of law is weakened. Nunes has long been under scrutiny for his abuse of office in using taxpayers’ dollars for personal use since at least 2018. Instead, he became the House Intelligence Committee chairman and Trump’s foremost supporter and has sought to obstruct all inquiries for Robert Mueller’s investigation and Congress’s impeachment investigation.
In turn, his name has grown as much as his PAC. Nunes’ own PAC, New PAC, has raised $7 million, almost four times as much as the $1-2.5 million he has raised in previous years. There’s no way of knowing whether its due to the favors he curries by supporting Trump that led to such a meteoric fundraising rise because of how intransparent PACs are but it’s worth noting.
A report by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, released Thursday, spotlighted the various ways members of Congress use leadership PACs to “subsidize lavish lifestyles on their donors’ dimes.”
Campaign Legal Center
All of this speaks to bigger systemic issues voters need to know is the dire need to reform the regulations and laws of PACs:
The House Ethics Committee rarely enforces the ban on the use of leadership PACs for personal use.
The Federal Elections Commission has not issued clear directives on whether or not the funds can be used for personal matters.
The CLC and Issue One report cited numerous trips by Congress members to Las Vegas. Why?
The person with the most trips to Vegas: Devin Nunes.