Our Fight Can’t Stop After This Election

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In the chaos of this moment, it seems likely that Joe Biden is just pushing his way into the presidency and that he is sure to win the referendum, Donald Trumps Mussolini-like behavior and election night false claim regardless of victory. Somehow it all reminds me of another moment in my life.

Back in October 2016, my friends and I were often discussing the challenges progressives would face if the candidate we were likely to win actually entered the Oval Office. There were so many issues to worry about back then. The Democratic candidate was an avid booster of the US armed forces and believed in projecting American power through its military presence around the world. Then there was this long record promoting harsh criminal laws as well the disturbing conversation about “the kinds of children called superpredators – no conscience, no empathy.”

In 2016, the country was already marked by deep economic inequality. While Hillary Clinton promised We did not believe “well-paying jobs” for those struggling to stay housed and buy groceries. We’d heard the same promises so many times before, and yet the federal minimum wage stayed where it was since 2009 at $ 7.25 an hour. Would a Clinton presidency really make a difference for the working people? Not if we hadn’t pushed them – and hard.

The candidate we were concerned about was never Donald Trump, but Hillary Clinton. And the challenge we had to face was to move these fundamental centrists a few notches to the left. We pondered how we could organize ourselves to create a new government that would shift government spending from foreign wars to human needs at home and abroad. We wondered how the people of this country could finally secure the “peace dividend” that we had been promised in the immediate post-Cold War era when her husband Bill became president. In those first (and, as it turned out, only) Clinton years we got what is called welfare reform instead, the consequences of which are still felt today as layoffs Drive millions into poverty.

We doubted Hillary Clinton’s commitment to addressing most of our other problems as well: mass and police violence, structural racism, economic inequality, and most importantly (although some of us were just beginning to realize this) the climate emergency. In fact, people like us nationwide were preparing to spend a day or two celebrating the election of the first female president and then opposing many of her expected guidelines. In the peace and justice movements, in organized work, in organizations at the community level, in the two-year-old Black lives count Movement people were ready to roll.

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