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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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