To Defeat Trump, Discredit His Movement, and Elect Progressives

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To Defeat Trump, Discredit His Movement, and Elect Progressives was an open letter published in The Nation, but originating with DSA North Star,

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.[1]

Initial Signatories

Additional signers (as of Aug. 5 2020):

Donald Adams, Daniel Adkins, David Anderson, Steve Askin, David Atkins, Ted Auerbach, Paul Baicich, Jacqueline Bailey, Harlan Baker, Bill Barclay, Stephen Barton, Deborah Beltran, Miriam Bensman, Jules Bernstein, Michael Berube, Robert Borosage, Gerard Bradley, Nelson Brown, Enrique Calvo, Duane Campbell, Tom Canel, Bob Cash, Susan Chacin, Patricia Chadwick, Theo Chino, Carol P. Chrit, Peter Ciancone, Irene Colthurst, Mark Cramer, Rebecca Davis, Stephen Davis, Yolanda Delgado, Elena Demos, Gary Dorrien, Michael Dover, Peter Dreier, Thomas Dromgoole, Itzhak Epstein, Danny Fetonte, Ted Franklin, Dan Frankot, Paul Friedman, Richard Friedman, Paul Garver, Frank Geier, David Green, Harry Gregory, Michael Gross, Bob Guild, Ginny Guild, John Heppen, Alexander Hernandez, Katherine Hitt, Diane Hocker, Ruben Hoyos, James Hughes, Maurice Isserman, David Jacobs, Jim Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Kim William Jones, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Nicholas Kiersey, Zachary King, Elyse Kitten, Irena Klepfisz, Carrie Kourkoumelis, Jeanne Kracher, Henry Kraemer, Magali Larson, David LeGrande, Jone Lewis, Mark Louzier, Bob Lucore, Don MacLeod, Mark Malouf, Ray Markey, Joseph Matye, Marshall Mayer, Laura McAlpine, Seth Michaels, Daniel Millstone, Lawrence Mishel, Karle Montgomery, Nathan Newman, Bernard Nisenholz, Steve Oliver, Michael Passarini, Ted Pearson, Carl Pease, Jose G. Perez, Carl Pinkston, Danny Postel, Claire Potter, Elliot Ratzman, Alicia Reilly, Moti Rieber, Katie Romich, Bruce Rosen, Michele Rossi, Sergio Saldana, Patrick Sanders, Mark Schaeffer, Penny Schantz, Ryan Schmittou, David Schweickart, Timothy Sears, Tom Shcherbenko, Robert Snyder, Gerald Stein, David Stevens, Peg Strobel, Milt Tambor, Timothy Tarkelly, Steve Tarzynski, Meredith Tax, Jim Tourtelott, Janet Tucker, Stanley Tzankov, Juliet Ucelli, Mike Van Gorder, Sylvia Vatuk, Joan Walsh, Jim Williams, Matthew Wilson, Barbara Winslow, Matthew Wolf, Stan Wonn, Bill Yousman, Dave Zink

References