Why we win

So, I know this may sound presumptuous, but I’ve come to understand why we are going to defeat Trumpism. We are winning and we are going to win.

Even if he steals this election.

Even if he lucks out and ekes out an electoral win again somehow.

It’s because we started winning the day people started organizing in this country with a new level of determination to have an America built on democracy, fairness, pluralism, environmental responsibility, and social justice. There have been, throughout these incredibly painful 3 and a half years, so many people who have organized and taken action like never before in my lifetime.

Black Lives Matter. The Women’s March. Indivisible. HIAS. Run For Something. A zillion more groups. Democrats and progressives running for local, county, state, and federal offices and often winning. Postcardstovoters.org targeting winnable off-year election races and flipping seats at every level of government.

Civil service officials refusing to be corrupted, or to be silenced. Whistle-blowers. Republicans defecting from Trump publicly. Journalists fact-checking his lies and doing investigative reporting. FBI officials and federal prosecutors investigating and indicting and convicting many of his cronies. The House of Representatives under Pelosi and its committees holding hearings, dragging Trump officials in front of investigative panels, and releasing damning information to the public. Even the Senate, with some of its Republican led committees, from time to time contradicting the Administration.

Ordinary citizens tweeting, posting on social media, calling and writing their elected officials, unafraid – continuing to exercise the right to free speech, the right to dissent. Late night talk show hosts ridiculing and exposing Trumpworld for its corruption and authoritarianism, its hatred of true democracy, its lies and absurdities.

When bullies are challenged, they are temporarily stunned at first. Their underlings get worried they might have their careers ruined if power changes hands, or that they might even go to prison. Acts of non-cooperation, of questioning the legality or appropriateness of corrupt directives, whistle-blowing and leaks to the press are all actions that slow down the machinery of fascism and authoritarianism. Lots of mid-level and low-level henchmen stop for a moment, worry that they might in fact get in trouble, and have to re-calibrate their plans in order to deal with multiple layers of non-cooperation and dissent within the parts of a democratic system that still work according to the rule of law.

Yes, we have lots of moments of fear and despair, as we watch Trump and his people repeatedly “flood the zone” with multiple fronts of aggressive abuse of power, big lies, and sneering contempt for the rule of law and democratic sacred norms. But that’s only one kind of power in the overall system. Throughout this vile Administration there has also been a growing, creative, and strengthening counter-force of many faces and forms, organizing to defend the core pillars of democracy and civil rights, and willing to directly challenge Trump and his people without hesitation or intimidated deference.

And so we’ve seen people at every level of government stand up to Trumpism and even sacrifice their careers while saving their honor and giving our democracy yet another chance to right itself. We’ve seen Democratic candidates for president show no fear of speaking the truth and calling Trump a liar and a con-man and a tyrant. This is very, very good for our democracy.

We’ve seen new alliances of different politically active groups focused hard on resisting Trump’s attempt to turn this country into something that at least half of its citizens don’t want it to be — a pathetic, cult-of-personality dictatorship based on white supremacy and rank corruption.

Am I saying I know Biden’s going to win and then take office? No. I don’t know that. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, or if this election will be fair, or if things will be sabotaged by Trump’s people.

But what I am saying is I know we are going to win, because we are already winning. We are winning because we are resisting and standing up to the bullying.

We may not always be able to keep up with the daily barrage of abuses of power and misdirection that Trump and his inner circle of smart guys think is stronger and faster than us – that we’re a bunch of “pussies” who can’t stop them (screw them and their misogyny by the way).

But they are definitely not keeping up with us – not keeping up with the multi-pronged, multi-headed hydra of organizing, activism, protest, and plain old unwillingness-to-yield that has pushed back against them and is working hard every day to build, build, build a progressive, inclusive future for this country. In unprecedented numbers, we’re running for school boards and city alderman seats now. We’re organizing in the Black community, in cities, in suburbs, among veterans, among nurses, and among students. Pro athletes are stepping up. Lots and lots of Democrats are having spines and standing strong. There are so many of us who have been working so hard these past 3 and a half years, and it’s not going to stop.

If Trump somehow manages to get another term, whether legitimately or not, we’re going to keep building on what we’ve done and keep getting stronger. If Biden wins and takes office, we’ll be working hard to take advantage of the changed circumstances and make major structural changes in this country. Either way, we’re not giving up, we’re not bowing down to Trump, we’re not letting the minority of Americans who embrace his cult run our lives, and we’re not finished.

We’re already winning, and we will make this country better than it was before. More progressive, fair, creative, open, compassionate, environmentally sustainable, peaceful, just, and inclusive. And the more we win, the more people who were afraid of this better version of our country will realize that it’s better for them too, that they have a warm and joyful home in this diverse, inclusive, multi-racial, multi-everything free and fair society that is our unstoppable dream.

C’mon dudes this could be a great year progressives…

So, in the midst of this pandemic, those of us deeply hoping for a Democratic White House win this November have been reflecting on Bernie’s recent announcement that he has ended his campaign, leaving Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee.

If Bernie can help Biden and Dems win a big wave election, there are A LOT of very progressive young Dems running for literally everything downballot, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with at every level of government.

I no longer engage with my FB or other social media the way I used to back in 2016, when I spent hours and hours reacting to comments by pro-Bernie friends who hated Hillary and, unbeknownst to me at the time, often re-posted Russian-troll generated fake news about her. I don’t do that anymore, so I don’t know whether the intensity of that kind of thing is as bad as it was then. I know there’s a pro-Bernie / Biden-loathing constituency out there, but I am not interested in debating people about my determination to support whomever is the Dem’s nominee, so I have no sense of what that whole situation looks, sounds, or feels like, and I don’t intend to find out.

And Then There Were Two: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden | The New Yorker

What I am aware of, however, is that there’s an incredible opportunity that could be brewing, if Bernie, Joe, and a bunch of other Dems and progressives figure it out.

Here’s what I see: if Bernie leads by example and focuses on defeating Trump and maximizing the influence of his core supporters on the Dems’ platform and Biden’s agenda, and if Biden and all the other major figures in the D party seek to meet them halfway and show that their top priorities will be part of the overall D agenda, 2020 could be an unparalleled year of progressive gains.

By dropping out at this stage, so much earlier than he did in 2016, Bernie has already changed his behavior from four years ago. Right now he has leverage to influence a center-left nominee and (I hope) administration. I hope Bernie will focus on that goal and stay engaged with and identified with the party. If he leads in this way, he can continue to move his core ideas forward and build up the progressive wing of the party. He’s in a strong position to play the role of the father of a progressive renaissance within the Democratic party – one that works with center-left Dems to defeat neo-fascist Republicanism at every turn, while simultaneously promoting and popularizing progressive policy ideas. Part of this strategy should include Bernie elevating young Dems who can be the future of his agenda.

If Bernie can help Biden and Dems win a big wave election, there are A LOT of very progressive young Dems running for literally everything downballot, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with at every level of government. That’s the key. 2020 could be a great year for progressives if Bernie and Joe both see the opportunity for what it is and work for common goals.