The report below was presented to the CPUSA National Committee on September 7, 2016.
Standing Rock Sioux
We stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The horrible use of company dogs and desecration of sacred lands against the protectors of the land and water cannot be tolerated. The solidarity and determination of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe inspires the kind of unity needed to win the elections and many struggles to come. There has been outstanding coverage in People’s World.
The last National Committee update in June discussed our overall strategy in the context of this election with a proto-fascist presidential candidate on the one hand and an upsurge for people’s needs on the other. Much has taken place in the least three months, and has been updated at the National Board.
The race is on
Labor Day ushered in the final two months of the campaign. The polls show a toss-up in the popular vote but with Hillary Rodham Clinton leading in the electoral college vote.
Not only is the presidency at stake, but also control of the Senate and House, keeping in mind the Supreme Court,state legislatures and governors.
The polls are frightening in light of the white supremacist forces in top leadership of the Trump campaign. How to move voters? The biggest challenge is making voters aware of where the candidates stand on issues that affect their lives like jobs, wages, Social Security, pay equity, immigration reform, voting rights, student debt, indeed, all democratic rights at stake, and then turning out a massive vote. Now is the time to put everything we’ve got into this election struggle in a way that carries on after it’s over.
The day before Labor Day Richard Trumka emphasized the significance of making voters aware of where Trump really stands. At a breakfast for reporters he said Trump tapped into real anger and frustration, but once that is scraped away union members and working people realize Trump is not on their side. He said: “Our members increasingly realize Trump is a fraud, an opportunist who tells a whopper every five minutes according to fact checker. They don’t believe him on trade because he does the opposite. They don’t believe he’s good for workers because he says wages are too high, and he supports right to work, and thinks Carl Ichon would be a good treasury secretary. The number of union and working people supporting Trump is less and less.”
Trump is not on worker’s side.
Zeroing in on the issue of jobs and the environment: According to Moody’s analysis with Trump’s economic plan the country loses 3.5 million jobs. With Clinton’s economic plan the country gains 10 million jobs. She is proposing the largest infrastructure program since WWII addressing needed repair of roads and bridges and providing environmental sustainability in construction. This approach could inspire support from many working-class people. It is also a strong argument for the goal of a landslide vote to win the Senate and House so that the program will not be obstructed the way President Obama’s was.
Labor up front
Richard Trumka expressed a lot of confidence in the ability to win enactment of the progressive parts of the Democratic party platform with Hillary Clinton as president. He said that he believes with Clinton in the White House labor will be included at the table to change the rules of the economy for the benefit of everyone.
The AFL-CIO and Working America have the largest field operation ever targeting Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Florida for the presidential and Senate races, along with Missouri for governor.
In Ohio on Labor Day, Hillary Clinton stood with unions and gave strong support to strengthen collective bargaining, grow workers’ wages and oppose Right to Work legislation. She said, “When more workers are in unions, wages are higher, and not just for union members, but for all workers.”
As we know, Trump and the Republican platform opposes union rights for workers and supports Right to Work (for less) legislation, and favors the 1% over everyone else in their entire agenda.
Democracy Corps polling shows that “an economic narrative to ‘level the playing field’ motivates working-class voters, white and minority, including women who are now a majority of the working class…..Over 60 percent of the electorate will be racial minorities, single women, millennials, and seculars where the positive sentiment about the Democratic Party is 9 points higher than for the Republicans.”
It will be important to hear from the comrades on the ground talking to voters. Clearly if Trump and the Republicans are to be defeated, it will take a continued massive education effort and a real explosion of voter turnout.
Trump and the alt-right
Trump says Make America Great Again. For who? For him and his billionaire buddies at the expense of everyone else in our country and at the expense of the planet.
His #AmericaFirst echoes the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi organization during WW II. The top echelons of his campaign include the country’s most prominent white supremacists and women haters from Stephen Bannon, CEO of Breitbart News to Roger Ailes whose sexual assault scandal forced him to resign from Fox News. The campaign constitutes a new type of fascist danger to our democracy.
Trump represents a new type of fascist danger.
The ideology of white supremacy was developed as a rationale to excuse the enslavement of Africans in our country and protect the slavocracy. It is the big lie that has always been used to hold back progress in our country. When Donald Trump says to the African American community “Vote for me what do you have to lose?” it is deeply offensive at best. When he says that if he loses Pennsylvania it will be because there is cheating in some places it is a smear against the African American majority city of Philadelphia and its overwhelming Democratic vote. This sets off a warning light about how Trump and the Republicans hope to capture the vote everywhere.
The true nature of Trump’s signature call to build a wall to keep Mexicans out was exposed at his immigration speech which was filled with hate and bigotry. Following the speech a number of the Latino leaders who were participating in his council quit.
Hillary Clinton’s excellent speech exposing Donald Trump’s alt right connections from his beginning days using illegal racist housing practices to now should be popularized and made widely known. The danger of fascism has to be explained and understood by all generations in relation to this election.
Need for a landslide victory
A landslide unity vote is necessary to resoundingly repudiate Donald Trump and the alt right. It is needed to repudiate sexism and elect the first woman president. It is a mistake to assume the outcome. Who knows what the October surprise and other dirty tricks can bring?
On the other hand, with a landslide unity vote big progressive gains could be made. There is the possibility of busting through the southern strategy and winning in the South.
A landslide unity vote is needed to take advantage of splits in Republican party. Support by some Republicans for Hillary Clinton makes it more possible to change control of the Senate, House, state houses and governors. Democracy Corps sent a memo to Progressives for a Wave Election last week: “Public research shows 20 percent of Republicans are currently not voting for Trump, and we know from Democracy Corps’ Republican Party Project that most of those self-identified Republicans are moderates.”
A landslide will heal the nation.
Some of those votes may go to Gary Johnson and the Libertarians. In a very close election, the votes for Johnson and Jill Stein could throw the election to Donald Trump. The argument for a landslide unity vote could convince some of those to do the right thing.
The white supremacists will still be there after election. They have to be isolated. A united landslide vote is necessary to repudiate and vastly expand the anti-hate movement for racial and gender equality.
In his Labor Day media conference Richard Trumka was asked about union women leaders in anticipation of the first woman president. His answer was great. He said that in the labor movement he has found that women listen more, they are more collaborative, and they are stronger because they had to overcome so much discrimination on the way to becoming leaders. This comment should inspire support for Hillary Clinton with the anticipation that stronger movements for peace, equality and economic and social justice could have the chance to flourish and win advances.
This election has given rise to a growing anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-bigotry movement. It is important to note some of the mobilizations underway to get a sense of what is possible and what can make a difference:
- Labor 2016 and Working America weekly and daily door knocks and phone calls;
- MoveOn local organizing program: United Against Hate in battlegrounds;
- Color of Change PAC’s Black digital voter engagement program;
- MPower Change (Muslim voter mobilization);
- Planned Parenthood voter mobilization in battlegrounds.
Clergy led a “Moral Day of Action” outside of state capitol buildings in 30 states across the country on September 12. “We are coming to say that it’s time to move beyond the politics of fear and division to higher ground,” said the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber
Fight for 15, low wage workers from all industries, unions, Black Lives Matter and other community groups will rally with other coalitions at the first presidential debate Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
In addition there will be a School of the Americas Watch mobilization at the border in Arizona Oct 10 for immigrant rights. Immigrant rights organizations are registering many new voters across the country.
Bernie Sanders political revolution
As we have said before, the vote for Sanders had important victories including the size of the vote, and the proof that it is possible to run a national campaign on small donations. It’s also important to single out the progressive planks in the Democratic platform including $15 minimum wage, tuition free public college for family incomes under $125,000, a clean energy summit in the first 100 days, a public option for healthcare, expanding Social Security, comprehensive immigration reform, pay equity, paid family and medical leave, repeal the death penalty, and a massive infrastructure project.
The great majority of the people who voted for Bernie are now planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, but not all. Especially among those who were in the inner core locally, there is an element that is angry with the Democratic Party and either planning to stay home or vote for Jill Stein.
Either choice helps Trump. Either choice is isolated from the labor and people’s organizations that are working at full capacity so that the progressive planks in the platform can become law and so the demands for economic and social justice and peace can be moved forward with on-the-ground organizing.
Equating Trump and Clinton, and promoting a “safe state” strategy (to vote Jill Stein in states that are not battlegrounds) could be the difference in a close election and contradicts the movement for a landslide unity vote.
Some will not be persuaded. The most important thing is to get out among the voters at large, along with our allies to register voters, discuss the issues, and create a giant turnout.
It is great that Bernie Sanders has begun to campaign for Hillary Clinton in public appearances and on social media through video. His message has the support of a new campus based youth group, Young Progressives Demanding Action, formed in nine states so far out of Progressive Democrats for America that will be geared to getting out the vote. [Hawaii, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois, Alabama, and New York ]
Our Revolution, coming out of the Sanders campaign, was launched last month and is focused on down ballot races. While not all candidates in the Democratic primaries who supported Bernie won their races, some significant races were won including Pramela Jayapal in WA and Zepher Teachout in NY.
11,000 supporters signed up to run for local office or volunteer for progressive candidates in the future, through Our Revolution and that number will probably grow. Larry Cohen, former president of CWA, is organizing a broad based Our Revolution board and likely will continue to collaborate with Working Families Party, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, Peoples Action, MoveOn and Brand New Congress. With a Trump presidency, this effort would be put onto the defensive, which is another argument to mobilize for a landslide unity vote.
The Sanders campaign brought socialism into the mainstream.
The Sanders campaign brought discussion of socialism into the mainstream. In many parts of the country where the Party was involved we have experienced a growth in membership. This is a testament to the work we are doing, and also to the decay of capitalism and the yearning for a new system. It places a big responsibility on us to carry out our unity tactics, share our vision of socialism and build our Party along with the working class movement.
If Donald Trump were to become president these opportunities will be shut down. It is of top priority that we join with all those committed to his defeat and bring our family, friends and allies with us.
A 10 Point Strategy To Win a Landslide Unity Vote November 8 and Build On-going Grass Roots Power is taking hold in many places and should be taken to our membership, allies and friends. Can’t assume outcome of this election. Why the need for the landslide?
- Overwhelmingly repudiate the racist, bigoted, fascist poison from Trump and Republicans
- Take the US Senate and House out of Republican obstructionist majority and elect progressives where they are running.
- Take State houses and governors out of Republican control and repudiate the Koch brothers
- Secure appointments to the Supreme Court
- Create the climate most favorable to building the peoples movements
- Make the wins in the Democratic platform real
- Think big – talk issues, and prepare for after election day
Everyone can develop a concrete plan to reach out to co-workers, neighbors, family and friends. Great tools include sharing People’s World articles, giving out the Handy Guide, Immigration Myths vs Facts, and inviting those we work with to get together, share ideas and experiences, engage in get out the vote efforts and continue to work together year round.