Many Americans would not be surprised if on Jan. 20 Vladimir Putin administers the oath of office to Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan youth choir regales the inaugural crowd with a stirring rendition of “Dixie,” the Chamber of Commerce orchestra performs “Hail to the Chief” and the inaugural party is catered by Carl’s Jr. (whose CEO, billionaire Andrew Puzder, a foe of the minimum wage, is Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor). ExxonMobil (whose CEO, Rex Tillerson, is secretary of state-designate) and Goldman Sachs (whose president, Gary Cohn, will be director of Trump’s National Economic Council) could pay for the whole thing.
There’s a Pete Seeger song that begins: “You know it’s darkest before the dawn. And this thought keeps me moving on.” If ever there was a time to heed those words, this is it.
There were some bright spots this election:
- Voters in Arizona, Washington, Colorado and Maine voted to raise the minimum wage.
- South Dakota defeated a ballot measure to lower the minimum wage even though Trump won there.
- Voters in Arizona’s Maricopa County defeated anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio by a landslide 59 percent to 41 percent, aided by the 130,000 new Latino voters who registered to vote in the last year.
- Virginia defeated an anti-union “right-to-work” ballot measure.
- In many battleground districts, voters elected progressive Democrats and/or defeated right-wing Republicans. Josh Gottheimer, for one, defeated seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett — an extremist Republican and a founder of the tea party — in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District.
- In North Carolina, which went for Trump, Democrat Roy Cooper won the gubernatorial election, beating incumbent Pat McCrory (who now has signed legislation stripping power from the governor’s office before his successor is sworn in.)
- The number of women, black, Asian and Latino officials elected this year reached an all-time high.
Activists around the country — young and old, reformers and radicals — are now trying to figure out not only how to fight Trump and Trumpism, but also how to think strategically about building a powerful progressive movement based on action and informed by past and recent activism. Progressives should expect the unexpected, be agile and flexible and invest in rebuilding progressive organizations’ capacity.
So here is my 10-point “to do” list for fighting for working people.
1. Don’t forget: Trump does not have a mandate. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to 3 million votes. Only 27 percent of the nation’s 231 million eligible voters voted for Trump. In the first election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans intensified their voter-suppression efforts, targeting black and Latino communities in key battleground states. More than 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote; most non-voters were low-income, minority and/or young Americans who, had they gone to the polls, would have voted Democratic. Polls also show that even most Trump voters do not agree with much of his policy agenda. A CBS survey showed about one-quarter of Trump voters said he is not qualified to be president. Seventy percent of all voters said immigrants without documents should be able to apply for legal status rather than be deported. Read the full post here