BIDEN/HARRIS WON – NOW WHAT?

By Jason Sibert and Patty Friend 

Opponents of President Donald Trump have every right to be happy about the election of Joe Biden to the office of President of the United States.  Biden flipped Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia. The Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket ran close in Florida and North Carolina and did better than the Clinton/Kaine ticket in various states. Mr. Biden won the popular vote by three percentage points and will most likely win it by about around six million votes. The Democratic Party picked up two seats in the Senate on election day and maintained control of the house. Grassroots organizing for the Democratic Party was at an all-time high. It put together an even larger coalition than the Barack Obama coalition and there was a huge effort to turn out the vote, even in a time when Covid-19 was ravaging the country.

Congratulations to all of those who worked to elect Joe Biden President and Kamala Harris Vice-President. Some worked to turn out the vote, gave each other rides to the polls, and worked for change with a lot of energy to turn back the tide of Trumpism. Biden has made commitments to turn back Trump-era rules via executive order. We support the Grassroots Law Project’s Federal Policy Plan, and we want Biden to move forward on climate change, criminal justice reform, and comprehensive immigration reform, ext.  Biden must also be pushed on healthcare, housing, childcare, eldercare, and research and development.   

Now for the bad news: the Democrats failed to seize control of the Senate, and the party lost seats in the House of Representatives. It’s sad to see infighting in the party as to why it didn’t do better in many races. The bickering is counterproductive – here’s why: the United States has a large diverse culture with many races, religions, political ideologies, two major political parties, several third parties and many people who are apolitical. The center-left side of the political spectrum must work to bring the country together with an economic agenda that fights poverty and expands the middle class. Expanded Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other forms of health insurance, expanded collective bargaining and workplace representation, and affordable housing should be at the top of the agenda. Social democrats must also stand for civil rights for nonwhites, women, and gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered Americans. We must also fight for the legalization of undocumented immigrants. While we support our brothers and sisters in the progressive wing of the party – we will always have Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s back –  we must also recognize the fact that not all Democrats are progressive and not all progressive Democrats can beat Republicans just anywhere in this country. 

Party infighting does our cause no good! Bernie Sanders can win a statewide election in Vermont and AOC can win in a congressional district in New York City. However, Mark Kelley can win in a state like Arizona and Conner Lamb can win in a district that includes Pittsburg and the surrounding suburbs. While the energy of the Democratic Party is certainly with the progressives, party supporters must realize what a diverse country we are and that different candidates win in different parts of the country. For instance, former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill lost her race in 2018 by five points in 2018 and Democratic statewide candidates lost by 17 points in 2020. (Let us not forget that 55 percent of women voted for Donald Trump). Progressives have pushed their ideas in the realm of the Democratic Party and have made policy proposals like Medicare for all, a substantially higher minimum wage, and expanded collective bargaining rights a part of the national discussion. Progressives should try to push the moderates in their direction on those issues and many more. If the two sides win together, then Americans would benefit. The Socialist Party of America included people of many different views when it was able to make a minor dent in the electoral system in the days of Eugene Debs, as there were revolutionary Marxists, sewer socialists, and people of other stripes active then. If we want to see the progressive dream come to life, we must stand in solidarity and work together like our lives depend upon it – just as we have done in 2020!   

These simple ideas must be pushed forward in the weeks, months, and years ahead. In less than a year, we will have more elections and a midterm election in 2022. Donald Trump has already said he might run again in 2024. The former president is likely to be a force in American politics in the years to come. Right-wing media is locked and loaded, so let’s put up a united front in opposition to Trumpism!

Let’s not forget the upcoming Senate elections in January. If Mitch McConnell remains in control of the Senate, our entire progressive agenda is in peril.   Again, we must commit ourselves to working for the Democrats as if our lives depend upon it! To find out how to become involved in the Georgia Senate Races, link to the Georgia Democratic Party – https://www.georgiademocrat.org/take-action/ 

Jason Sibert is the executive director of the Peace Economy Project in St Louis. 

Patty Friend is the National Chair of Social Democrats USA.

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