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Galindez writes: "The Electoral College victory of Donald Trump has made our job more difficult in 2017. The political revolution must be ready to defend past gains while we fight to transform the Democratic Party and our country. It is a difficult task that we face. It is, however, an opportunity that we must not squander."

Anti-Trump protest. (photo: Getty)
Anti-Trump protest. (photo: Getty)

Our Opportunity in 2017

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

11 January 17


he Electoral College victory of Donald Trump has made our job more difficult in 2017. The political revolution must be ready to defend past gains while we fight to transform the Democratic Party and our country.

Instead of pushing a Clinton administration to adopt the platform that they agreed to in July, we have to defend progressive gains we’ve made over several decades.

Of course when Trump overreaches, we will have huge opportunities to organize and activate people who don't usually get involved in progressive causes.

Let me start out by saying that I don't believe all Trump supporters are racist, sexist bigots. There were, however, racist, sexist bigots in his campaign who will push hard to be rewarded for supporting him. “Make America Great Again” was code for racism and sexism to some sectors of Trump's base. We have to be careful though to not think that they were the voters that put Trump over the top. Trump did convince working-class voters in the Rust Belt that he would bring back the factory jobs that bad trade deals drove out of the country. We have to win those voters back, and we can't do it if we lump them in with the deplorable people who also supported Trump.

We must make the case to working-class voters that they voted against their own interests. We have to offer them an alternative that benefits their families. Every time Trump makes a move that threatens the quality of life of working people and the poor, we need to fight hard to stop him. Those fights are opportunities for us to reach new communities.

While we have to reconnect with working families, we also must continue to fight for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women. We don't want Donald Trump's America. We have come too far to let fearmongering take us backward.

That said, we need to stop attacking anyone who is not progressive. Instead, if we are going to lead we need to unite the opposition. Donald Trump will give us plenty of issues to organize around. We need to use those opportunities to activate new soldiers in the political revolution.

Many of those we fought in this last election cycle are our allies and agree with us on more than we disagree on. On January 21st there is the Women's March on Washington. The National Organization for Women (NOW) was solidly behind Hillary Clinton. They are not the enemy. It makes sense that they wanted to see the first woman in the White House. They have an activist history that is being reawakened by the election of Donald Trump. We need to welcome them into the political revolution.

Large sectors of the environmental movement became too comfortable in the establishment over the last decade. They now face a government that denies the existence of climate change. Many environmental groups will no longer have a seat at the table. They will be returning to the streets. Along with our allies like, we have to welcome establishment environmental groups into the fold. The climate deniers in power will overreach and provide us fertile ground to organize climate activists.

The LGBTQ community made a lot of progress during the Obama years. Luckily much of it was in the courts, and it will be hard to reverse some of it. The Republicans will try, though. We must support and defend the LGBTQ community. Together we can preserve the historic gains we made in the last decade.

Millions of Americans are going to lose their health care. Obamacare is flawed, but for people like me with pre-existing conditions, it has saved lives. People will die prematurely if we go back to a system that allows insurance companies to deny coverage to people who are not healthy. They say they will preserve that aspect of Obamacare, but I would like to see how they will pay for it. They say Obamacare is not sustainable and they will eliminate mandates. Mandates are what pay for insuring people who are sick. It is the young, healthy people who make up for the people who it is costly to cover. No mandate? Who pays for the sick? People will be struggling to afford treatment; people will be watching their loved ones struggle. We must stand with them and fight for universal health care. We must also fight for Medicare and Medicaid. On January 15th people all over the country will be standing up for healthcare at the calling of the Democratic Party Congressional leadership – the first big action of the new outreach director, Bernie Sanders. We must be at these events building solidarity.

Of course, all lives matter. That is not the point. Too many in our country feel like the police and our criminal justice system place less value on their lives. When a white child is killed, it is breaking news. When an African American or Latino is killed, it’s just another crime story. That is why Black Lives Matter is an important movement. We have our work to do to explain to the white working class voters who don't understand that we are not placing black lives above theirs, but want black lives to be treated as equal to white lives. There will be pushback from racists who will be emboldened by Trump's victory. We must stand with the Black Lives Matter movement until all lives receive the same respect.

The same must be said of our Latino and Muslim brothers and sisters. Who the hell do we think we are to claim more right to this country than any other human being? Does it really matter where we were born? We are all human beings. Countries are a way to govern our lives, but not a reason to build walls to separate us. I should be able to live wherever I choose in the world and so should you, no matter what your race or religion is. No human being is illegal. While Trump builds walls to divide us, we need to organize to unite all of us.

This is just a start. There are and will be plenty of other opportunities for us to build our movement. We must see every move by Donald Trump as an opportunity to organize. While we all have issues that are more important to us, we need a broad-based movement, so we need to be organizing around as many issues as we can.

We must also fight the billionaire class. Wall Street funds both parties right now. Our job is to convince Democrats that Wall Street really supports the Republicans. The funding of Democrats on the national level is insurance so they have influence no matter who wins. Of course in Democratic strongholds, they pour cash into the coffers of Democrats like Rahm Emanuel to make sure a candidate like Chuy Garcia is not elected. It is time for Democrats to represent the working class again. That is the middle class and the poor. It has become rare for Democrats to even mention the poor, we spend all our time pandering to the middle class in public while making deals with the wealthy at high dollar fundraisers. Bernie showed we can succeed with $27 at a time from working-class voters without begging for money from the wealthy.

It is a difficult task that we face. It is, however, an opportunity that we must not squander.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

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+13 # Winston Smith II 2017-01-11 20:07
"Trump did convince working-class voters in the Rust Belt that he would bring back the factory jobs that bad trade deals drove out of the country. We have to win those voters back,"

This is of course just right. But it is both something that democrats don't understand very well and something that will be very hard to do. These voters were "turned" by the Reagan "revolution" which was first to bring out their latent racism, homophobia, and anti-communism. These are people who were once close to unions. Now that unions are mostly dead, there's no way to organize them.

The democrat party has become the party of wall street, hollywood, identity politics, intelligence agencies (esp. CIA), and mass media. These are all things that the voters Scott names hates.

The democrat party has some very deep soul searching to do. Sanders is the right leader for this. Why is Eliz. Warren so silent these days.
+1 # Depressionborn 2017-01-11 21:26
All sadly true, Winston. but many repubs are no better and Trump is likely to fail. Fascism appears unstoppable. The issues are fundamentally in conflict.
Progressives, good people, see gov as the instrument for good; as a problem solver, a servant of the people and provider of needs. Great! But to do good human nature being what it is progressives need a powerful and forceful gov. Others believe power corrupts and forceful good will become bad-darn old human nature getting in the way again. For them the purpose of government gov is simply do no harm
0 # warrior woman 2017-01-12 06:32
Why aren't we calling for the inauguration to be put on hold in light of the potential crimes being exposed? We should at least try even if it's a long shot.
+2 # Saberoff 2017-01-12 11:06
Hey Scott – So glad to see we have more opportunity in ’17 but I say we blew our opportunity in ’16, or more like it, our opportunity was stolen.
You use the word “progressive” several times. Could you define “progressive” please? Around here the good folks who have touted their progressivism (made careers of it) have proven themselves to be none-such.
“The Democrats are not the enemy”? I wonder about that. Why is it they are hell-bent on stoking animosity with Russia just to save face for themselves and the Clinton’s?
Scott, you talk about taking to the streets. We did that too, for decades, but mostly to the tune of 1.5 million out, in person, in ’16, to see Bernie Sanders!
Quote: “We must make the case to working-class voters that they voted against their own interests.” No, they didn’t. They voted for Bernie Sanders but, of course and again, in the end were thwarted by the Democrat Party.
A “broad based” movement? It couldn’t have gotten any broader-based than it was last year. The whole world, on its way.
It is amazing to me, Scott, that you folks continue to tout organizing as our answer to fascism US. Let us see, again then, how that works out for you/US.
-5 # SenorN 2017-01-12 12:26
Thanks once again to those of you who thought Hillary was as bad as Trump and chose not to vote or to vote for a third party candidate. I thank you on behalf of the industrial-mili tary complex, global warming, anti-women's rights groups, and insurance companies.
+5 # RLS 2017-01-12 13:30
“Bernie showed we can succeed with $27 at a time from working-class voters without begging for money from the wealthy.”

The problem is Bernie actually WON the primary. Voter suppression and manipulation of the voting machines gave the nomination to Hillary. We had exit poll discrepancies in the Democratic primaries, but not the Republican primaries. There is no doubt in my mind that Bernie would have won the general election.

As a result of the 2002 Help Americans Vote Act, 98% of the country votes on machines. These machines, tabulators, and electronic databases are owned by extreme right wing companies. They count the votes on “proprietary” software. No other democracy allows private companies to count the votes in secret.

Richard Charnin has analyzed the results of the 2014 elections. He found 6-7 governors races had fraudulent results in favor of the Republican candidate, and he found similar results with Senate and House races. Charnin has found that Scott Walker did not win his three elections. And he found that an average of an 8 point shift went to the Republicans in the six presidential races from 1988 to 2008. We have also seen a “red shift” in state legislatures. The exit polls from the general election show discrepancies favoring Trump.

Our political landscape has become distorted and the will of the people is not being reflected in policy. The issues are secondary to election fraud.

+1 # Jaax88 2017-01-12 17:54
As a Sanders supporter and voter I question some of the wisdom here. Sanders was and is a life long independent. I do not fault, but like him for that, but he hitched his star to the Demo party. It is not surprising the old guard DP unhitched his star. I think most party affiliated voters will vote is as the party leans.

Either progressives need to start organizing as a separate party or take over the DP and clean house and establish
a progressive hierarchy in the party. I see some merits to that as on the ground operations might not need to be reinvented and voter connections lost. Just a thought. I am sure there are more knowledgeable people than me who have different and better ideas.

One weakness progressives would appear to have as a group is promoting ideals, principle and ideas to get voters. Trump and the GOP settled on the gut feels of the left out people's need for jobs and money.
+1 # pro54 2017-01-12 19:12
We will be too busy peddling Russian conspiracy thories and hoping for a miracle to keep Trump out of the white house, that they will be no energy left to fight the real fight ahead. I am seeing trump and the republicans win over and over. McCain will join them or he will be relegated to inconsequential and the democrats who think they have his support will find themselves holding unto straws.
0 # John_Fisher 2017-01-13 18:28
Mr. Galindez is inspirational on the principle that All Lives Matter -- I wish I could believe in the Democratic Party's unequivocal support for such equity but I do not; recent events from the Presidential campaign through Mr. Trump's electoral victory underscore to me that for Dems as well as GOP'ers, poor lives matter considerably less, and public esteem for any politics other than the conservative-re actionary kind (in the Dem Party, it's mis-labelled "moderation" or "third-way")is too rare. And the helluvit is, the Democratic Party as a national political institution is making things worse, not better as the Dems pursue their campaign funding from giant for-profit corporations, to the utter marginalization of the interests of "little", financially-str uggling people. Why am I asked to align with a Democratic Party that has failed for decades in my state, whose officials have no interest in my experience as a low-income marginal being, but want my money to continue pursuing republican lite policies that continually sustain the overall drift [lurch] to the right -- oh yes, and they'd like me to vote for them too.

I don't see how such a party can ever be an instrument of anything approaching "political revolution"; and its recent poor candidate selection and corruption in weighting the scale in favor of its coronee leave me doubtful that this leopard (Dem. Party) can ever change its present spots, which are egregious.

They're not the enemy? How-so?

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