Sunday, November 13, 2016

2.2 - But we have to carry on as best as we can and there was some good news

But we have to carry on as best as we can and there was some good news

Despite that, maybe in spite of that, we have to do our best to carry on. Everything I said last week about the role of the left after the election, about what still needs doing, remains true; if anything, it is even truer.

So let's see if there is any good news out of this election to offer some inspiration or hope.

Over the past couple of years, liberal groups undertook a plan to do an end run around state legislatures often dominated by reactionaries by pushing citizen initiatives. There has been some success on that front:

In 2014, left activists won victories on the minimum wage, gun control, and marijuana legalization through ballot measures in Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

In 2015, they followed with wins for campaign-finance reform in Seattle and Maine.

And some additional victories came this year:

Voters handily approved raising the minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington while rejecting a proposal to decrease the minimum wage for teenagers in South Dakota.

California and Nevada approved measures to require new background checks on gun purchases.

California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana, bringing to around 21% of the population of the US living in places where marijuana is or soon will be legal.

Four states voted on, and passed, provisions for medical marijuana: Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana. In Florida the yes vote was 71%. 29 states and Washington DC now have some form of medical marijuana provisions.

In Colorado - this is more controversial on the left, but I think of this as a victory - voters approved physician-assisted suicide.

In South Dakota, a measure to overhaul the state's ethics and campaign finance rules passed. It also creates a system of a publicly financed vouchers for voters to give to candidates of their choice.

On the other side of things, a measure pushed by the corporate private school industry to expand charter schools happily lost in Massachusetts.

Not everything was a victory, of course: A measure similar to South Dakota's public campaign finance vouchers failed in Washington state, while voters in Arizona rejected legal pot, and Maine voters turned away new background checks for buying a gun.

A question in California to rein in drug prices got drowned under the one hundred million dollars that BigPharma poured into the campaign.

And perhaps saddest of all, a vote in Colorado to provide universal, single-payer health care via a 10 percent payroll tax lost badly after opponents, financed by the health insurance industry, outspent proponents on TV ads by $1.9 million to nothing.

But those losses neither deny nor reduce the importance of the victories.

It's also important to remember that Clinton won the popular vote by something around 200,000. While that doesn't matter for the presidency, which is determined by the electoral vote, it is a much better indicator or the actual split in public sentiment.

The Rump won by just 1.3% Florida, 1.2% in Pennsylvania, 1% in Wisconsin, and 0.27% in Michigan. Which means a shift of less than three-fourths of one percent in Florida and about one-seventh of one percent in Michigan and Clinton is president-elect. This is not to plead "coulda-bins" but to re-emphasize the closeness of the national division. The left, or at least that part of the American public that rejects TheRump, is not a helpless, downtrodden minority position.

Despite that, of course, the GOPpers are doing what they always do: arrogantly claiming the mantle of power. House Speaker Paul Rantin' has declared that TheRump has "just earned a mandate" to pursue the reactionaries agenda.

And the Dummycats, the Dimcrats, are also doing what they always do: smiling through the tears and making nice, more concerned with maintaining decorum than advancing justice.

Hillary Clinton says we owe TheRump "an open mind" and "a chance to lead."

The Amazing Mr. O. says that we should "remember that we're actually all on one team" and that we should not focus on political differences.

Bernie Sanders says he's prepared to work with TheRump to help the working class. Elizabeth Warren says she and TheRump should "put aside our differences" and work together. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said all citizens must set aside their political preferences and root for TheRump's success.

No, no, no! That's exactly what you do not do. Admit defeat in the election, yes; peaceful transition of power, yes; but do not promise to "work together," to "give him a chance to lead," do not wallow in the greeting card sentimentality of "we're all Americans, after all." Have you already forgotten how Sens. Fishface McConnell and John McCan't declared before the election in the face of a prospective, not even a real, President Hillary Clinton that they would never approve any Supreme Court nominee she submitted to the Senate? Do you really think that mincing appeals to a mushy bipartisanship is going to move them?

That is idiotic and only sets us up for more failure.

Happily, it appears at least some among the Dimcrat Party's fellow-travelers are realizing that.

During the primaries and the general election campaign, the major liberal site DailyKos treated Clinton like she was the second coming. The founder and director of the site, Markos Moulitsas, tried to suppress expressions of support for Sanders well before primaries were over and actually banned people from the site for advocating for a third party vote. Now, however, Kos himself has proposed that either Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Van Jones become the new head of the DNC before arguing that Democrats in Congress should "oppose everything."
If Trump wants to pass a new Voting Rights Act ... then we can work with him. Anything else he might propose, even if we might agree with it? Let him get the votes from his own caucus while we hurl metaphorical molotov cocktails from the sideline.
There Kos is exactly correct. The Dem leadership should go to Fishface, go to Rantin', and tell them "You think you were the party of 'no?' We'll show you what 'no' means."

They need to do that and we need more of what we saw the day after the election: protests against TheRump across the country mobilized on less that 24 hours notice.

Protests with crowds ranging from just several dozen to thousands in places including New York City, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, Boston, Phoenix Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Berkeley and several other cities in California, Pittsburgh, and more.

That's what we need.

There's a solidarity statement going around, and I want to quote parts of it:
No matter what, we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with every community that has been attacked, threatened, and marginalized in his campaign of hate. We will not be silent, and we will not back down.

We will fight back together against the agenda of fascism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and hate.

We will stand with every immigrant, every Muslim, every person of color, and every woman whose ability to live safely in our country is now under urgent threat.

We will have to use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for those most vulnerable and minimize the damage of the Trump presidency.

Corporate democrats in Congress and the political establishment in Washington may be tempted to compromise in order to eke out small wins or incremental change. But we know that the progressive movement must stand for racial justice, immigrant rights, LGBTQ and gender equality, and we must lead the way in rejecting compromises or policy negotiations that leave people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims, or LGBTQ people behind.

It's going to be a hard fight.
Is it indeed and yet that kind of solidarity, that kind of fight, is again, what we need. And not just on matters of race, gender, and the other important issues mentioned but also on the economy, taxes, trade, the environment, militarism and foreign policy, climate change, privacy, Constitutional rights, and more.

I said it last week in the face of an expected Clinton presidency; it is even more urgent in the fact of an actual TheRump presidency:

Silence is not an option; acquiescence is not an answer. We have to vote, petition, and lobby, yes, but we have to do more, we have to be insistent, noisy, disrespectful, rude, we have to fill the streets and perhaps the jails and who knows - I don't expect it, I don't predict it, but I accept the possibility of it - perhaps even fill the camps.

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