By 57 Progressive Activists and Writers
Many people, both on the left and more mainstream, are now discussing preparations for the very real possibility that Donald Trump will dispute the results of the election after he has lost. Such concerns are well-founded. But such concerns should not obscure the most urgent task — defeating Trump in the election with as big an Electoral College margin as possible, to undermine his predictable efforts to steal the election.
How does Trump lose? Trump loses only if Biden, however distasteful he may be, wins.
And how does Biden win? Biden wins if he gets more votes than Trump in swing states so that his Electoral College count is higher than Trump’s.
The Electoral College should be gone. Electoral coercion, manipulation and misdirection should be gone. The need to purchase visibility should be gone. The Democratic Party candidate should be Bernie Sanders or whoever would inspire your positive support. But none of that will happen by Election Day.
So it undeniably comes down to this — help Biden or increase the risk that Trump wins.
And what helps elect Biden?
The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts.
Voting for Biden all over helps ward off post-election Trumpian tactics. Voting for Biden in swing states is essential.
Protestations that Biden is beholden to elites are true but beside the point. The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts.
Claims that not voting sends a message are true. But the message that not voting in swing states sends in 2020 is that we are okay with Trump for four more years as long as we don’t have to sully our hands by voting for Biden.
Claims that more votes for the Green Party’s or any other third party’s presidential candidate are necessary to win long-term progressive goals ignore the many ways that Trump’s re-election — with his climate policies, his nuclear weapons policies, his undermining of democracy and the courts, and his racism and sexism — would obstruct all positive social change.
Imagine it is late November. The mail votes are finally all counted. Everything is tallied. And Trump has scored an Electoral College victory. That is what not voting for Biden in swing states risks. It is what not advocating we should vote for Biden in swing states risks.
Ending the Trump presidency is, by far, the most important goal that can be achieved between now and January.
Not voting for Biden in swing states won’t bring on a revolution. Not voting for Biden in swing states will not make anyone the slightest bit more progressive, radical, or revolutionary. Not voting for Biden in swing states will not grow or solidify the ranks of opposition. But not voting for Biden in swing states risks immeasurably enlarging the obstacles that opposition will thereafter face.
So, it comes down to this. Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden. Vote for Biden at least in swing states — and urge others to do so as well. And then get on with building grassroots movements for ongoing fundamental change.
[Organizations listed for purposes of identification only.]
- Aisha Jumaan, epidemiologist and health activist
- Amar Shergill, chair Progressive Caucus of Calif. Dem. Party
- Andrej Grubacic, anarchist writer, activist, CIIS, Collective 20
- Ann Ferguson, women, gender, sexuality studies, activist
- Avi Chomsky, writer, activist, Salem State
- Barbara Ehrenreich, author, journalist
- Bill Fletcher Jr., writer, TransAfrica Forum, trade unionist
- Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams, Ethics In Tech, SF Berniecrats, Collective 20
- Charles Lenchner, digital media, People for Bernie
- Cornel West, writer, activist, Harvard Divinity School
- Cynthia Peters, The Change Agent, City Life/Vida Urbana, Collective 20
- Dan La Botz, New Politics, DSA
- David Barsamian, Alternative Radio
- Dick Price & Sharon Kyle, LA Progressive
- Doug Henwood, economic journalist, LBO, KPFK’s “Behind the News”
- Doug Pagitt, Vote Common Good
- Elena Herrada, Radio host "Beloved Detroit," activist, Collective 20
- Gar Alperovitz, writer, historian, Democracy Collaborative
- Gregory Wilpert, writer, activist
- Hassan El-Tayyab, peace activist, songwriter, author, FCNL lead lobbyist
- Jeff Cohen, writer, RootsAction.org, FAIR founder
- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Baptist preacher, moral activist
- Joseph Gerson, writer, International Peace Bureau
- Juliet Schor, sociology, Boston College
- Karen Bernal, former chair Progressive Caucus of Calif. Dem. Party
- Kathy Kelly, activist, author, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
- Kim Scipes, professor, USMC veteran
- Leslie Cagan, social justice organizer and writer
- Linda Gordon, historian, author, “The Second Coming of the KKK”
- Liza Featherstone, feminist journalist, “Divining Desire,” Nation contributing editor
- Lydia Sargent, author, Z Communications
- Marina Sitrin, writer, activist, Binghamton
- Marjorie Cohn, activist, scholar
- Medea Benjamin, author, CodePink, Collective 20
- Michael Albert, writer, Z Communications, RevolutionZ, Collective 20
- Nanette Funk, writer, Brooklyn College
- Noam Chomsky, writer, Collective 20
- Norman Solomon, author, “War Made Easy,” RootsAction.org
- Oscar Chacon, Salvadoran immigrant, organizer, Collective 20
- Paul Ortiz, historian, “Emancipation Betrayed,” Collective 20, University of Florida
- Peter Bohmer, writer, activist, Evergreen, Economics for Everyone, Collective 20
- Peter Kuznick, writer, historian, “Untold History of the United States,” American University
- Robert McChesney, author on media and political economy
- Robin Hahnel, author, activist, American University, Portland State University
- Sandy Carter writer, activist
- Savvina Chowdhury, political and feminist econ, Evergreen State College, Collective 20
- Shane Claiborne, author, activist
- Sherry Baron, DSA
- Sonali Kolhatkar, writer, host of “Rising Up With Sonali” Radio/TV
- Stephen Shalom, writer, activist, New Politics
- Steve Early, writer, labor activist, NewsGuild/CWA
- Suzanne Gordon, journalist, author, healthcare reform advocate
- Ted Glick, climate activist, author “Burglar for Peace”
- Victor Wallis, author, “Red-Green Revolution”
- Vincent Emanuele, writer, activist, organizer, combat veteran, Collective 20
- Winnie Wong, organizer, People for Bernie, former senior adviser Bernie 2020