See version published in THE NATION
To Defeat Trump,
Discredit His Movement,
and Elect Progressives
We, the undersigned democratic socialists, want to make clear that the priority for the left in 2020 should be the electoral defeat of Donald Trump and the Trumpist Republican Party in November. At present, the only way to accomplish that will be to vote for his Democratic opponent.
The racist, xenophobic, misogynist authoritarianism of Trumpism poses an immediate existential danger to people of color, to immigrants, to reproductive rights, to trade unions, to LGBTQIA people, to Muslims, to Jews, to members of other religions, and to democracy itself. A Trump victory would fortify our authoritarian State, expand imperial aggression, and collapse the political space for democratic and left forces at home. Reversing the creeping neo-fascism at play in our country is a strategic imperative, the most urgent political task before us.
Trump’s regime is literally imposing massive casualties on people of color, immigrants, and women, by means of its work-or-starve campaign to restart the economy in the face of a raging pandemic, through indulgence of random, murderous assaults epitomized by the case of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, by the shutdown of abortion clinics, and by virtual death sentences imposed on incarcerated persons, including those detained by the vicious Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The mob attacks on Democratic state governments encouraged by the president call to mind the reversal of Reconstruction by terrorist partisans of the old Confederacy, after the Civil War.
Thousands are dying of the coronavirus each week, disproportionately POC, particularly elderly nursing home residents, the incarcerated, and detained immigrants. How many more must be sacrificed?
As democratic socialists, we believe that the best way to defeat Trumpism as well as Trump himself is with a platform the breaks decisively with neo-liberal policies, especially austerity, privatization, deregulation, and anti-worker trade deals. But in the near term, as a practical matter, alliances are also necessary with other anti-Trump forces, for the sake of a Democratic victory in November.
We should continue to promote the interests of working people above the 1%, to take on institutional racism and sexism in law enforcement, employment, and social services, to address catastrophic climate change, and to promote public health. But our core mission need not preclude us from urging a vote against Trump. Nor should it discourage us from enthusiastically backing progressive elected officials and candidates for office, such as “the squad” in the House of Representatives.
Particularly important is vigorous support for avowed democratic socialists, such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. They must be defended from efforts to pillory and defeat them, not least so that the ranks of progressives in office can grow.
Our electoral work will have the greatest impact when done cooperatively among all progressive constituencies, including trade unions, civil rights organizations, and community groups, as well as progressive political organizations. This collaborative approach powered the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and helped to elect Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, among others.
Trump’s commitment to the destruction of basic democratic institutions – the right to vote, an independent judiciary, a free press, Congress as a co-equal branch of government, the sovereign character of state governments – would make further pursuit of a progressive agenda impossible. Nothing is more important than ensuring his removal from the White House in 2021.
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Frances Fox Piven
Judith Kegan Gardiner
Barbara E. Hopkins
Jose La Luz
Aaron Aassefartpoopen, Judith Ackerman, Donald Adams, Daniel Adkins, Katherine Aker, Marilyn Albert, Dave Anderson, Debbie Anderson, Steve Askin, David Atkins, Ted Auerbach, Eleanor Bader, Paul Baicich, Yvonne Baicich, Jacqueline Bailey, Ron Baiman, Harlan Baker, William Barclay, Joanne Barkan, Joanne Barkan, Stephen Barton, Natasha Beck, Deborah Beltran, Ernie Benjamin, Jessica Benjamin, Ernst Benjamin, Miriam Bensman, Phyllis Berman, Jules Bernstein, Michael Berube, Barbara Blong, Robert Borosage, Reber Boult, Gerard Bradley, Kathy Bradley, Meagan Braganca, Chris Brandt, Nelson Brown, Paul Buhle, Robert Caine, Enrique Calvo, Duane Campbell, Tom Canel, Bob Cash, Susan Chacin, Patricia Chadwick, Joshua Cherniss, Courtney Childs, Theo Chino, Carol P. Chrit, Peter Ciancone, Jack Clarl, Janice Cline, Marjorie Cohn, Jennifer Collins, Ed Collins, Janet Collins, Maria Colon, Irene Colthurst, Kevin Coulson, Mark Cramer, D. Alan Curry, Rebecca Davis, Stephen Davis, Yolanda Delgado, Elena Demos, Susan Leigh Deppe, MD, Brenda L Dervin, Gary Dorrien, Michael Dover, Peter Dreier, Thomas Dromgoole, Steve Eichel, Zillah Eisenstein, Susan Elan, Robert Elias, David Elsila, Frank Emspak, Itzhak Epstein, Danny Fetonte, George Fish, David Fisher, Diana Fox, Ted Franklin, Daniel Frankot, Paul Friedman, Richard Friedman, Pat Fry, Michael Funke, Gwylene Gallimard, Paul Garver, Carol Gay, Frank Geier, Mary Glass, Jeff Gold, Debbie Goldman, Rafael J. González, Thomas Grace, Anne Grady, David Green, Renee Greene Levitt, Harry Gregory, Michael Gross, Lewis Grupper, Bob Guild, Ginny Guild, Molly Hauck, Samad Hayati, Robert Henschen, John Heppen, Alexander Hernandez, Katherine Hitt, Bruce Hobson, Diane Hocker, Tom House, Ruben Hoyos, Kenneth Huff, James Hughes, Maurice Isserman, David Jacobs, Dante James, Jim Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Kim Jones, Daniel Jordan, PhD, ABPP, Temma Kaplan, David Karen, William Kass, John Katz, Michael Kaufman, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Chuck Kieffer, Nicholas Kiersey, Zachary King, Elyse Kitten, Irena Klepfisz, Carrie Kourkoumelis, Henry Kraemer, Richenda Kramer, Patty Krockel, Jack Kurzweil, Barbara Landau, Magali Larson, David LeGrande, Laurie Lehman, Claudia Leight, Robert Lerner, Jone Lewis, Judith Lienhard, Kevin Lindemann, Richard Lipsitz, Guy Liston, Bonnie Lockhart, Mark Louzier, Dave Luckens, Bob Lucore, Don MacLeod, Mark Malouf, Raymond Markey, F X Martin del Campo, Lelyn Masters, Joseph Matye, Marshall Mayer, Natasha Mayers, Laura McAlpine, Maureen McCue, John McDonough, Michael Meeropol, Seth Michaels, Sebastian Milito, Daniel Millstone, Laurie Mintz, Larry Mishel, Barbara Molfese, Karle Montgomery, Larry Moskowitz, Bill Mosley, Sarah Nelson, Nathan Newman, Bernard Nisenholz, Michael Nye, Ellen O'Connor, Steve Oliver, Peter Olney, Corey E. Olsen, Daniel Olson, Dick Olson, Fraser Ottanelli, Michael Passarini, Ted Pearson, Carl Pease, Jose G Perez, James Perlstein, Rosalind Petchesky, David Peterson, Carl Pinkston, Ryne Poelker, Seth Pollack, Danny Postel, Claire Potter, Margaret Power, Melvin Hugo Pritchard, Jack Radey, Brandon Rey Ramirez, Erica Rapport Gringle, Merle Ratner, Elliot Ratzman, Alicia Reilly, Chris Reynolds, Rick Rice, Kathleen Richardson, Mary Ridge, Moti Rieber, Rhonda Rios Kravitz, Susan Rogers, Angel Roman, Nancy Romer, Katie Romich, Bruce Rosen, Michele Rossi, Michaele Ruzow, Sergio Saldana, Patrick Sanders, Mark Schaeffer, Penny Schantz, Michael Schippani, Ryan Schmittou, Joel Schwartz, Joseph Schwartz, David Schweickart, Timothy Sears, Eli Sennesh, Carol Sepe, Tom Shcherbenko, Robert Snyder, Cherie Snyder, Mark Solomon, Kurt Stand, Gerald Stein, David Stevens, Peg Strobel, Babara Suetholz, Milton Tambor, Timothy Tarkelly, Steve Tarzynski, Meredith Tax, Camille Tischler, Zoilo Torres, Jim Tourtelott, Janet Tucker, Stanley Tzankov, Juliet Ucelli, David Unger, Mike Van Gorder, Sylvia Vatuk, Adam Volle, Jacob Walkinshaw, Joan Walsh, Nathan Weber, Thomas Weiner, Jim Williams, Matthew Wilson, Barbara Winslow, Lawrence Wittner, Matthew Wolf, Stan Wonn, Jack Wood, Pammela Wright, James Young, Bill Yousman, Joanne Zieger-Kosloski, Dave Zink
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