The theft of the next election is already under way

This article was originally published in The Stand.

(April 12, 2017) — If you care about our democracy, our nation, fair elections, the right of the people to fairly choose our elected officials, and our future, you should be paying close attention to the systematic efforts of the Trump regime, Corporate America and their Republican allies to steal the 2018 and 2020 elections. Regardless of the issues you care about, you should care about fair elections. Stolen national elections in 2018 and 2020 will have a devastating effect on you, those you love and the issues you care about. This renewed effort is a continuation of a decades-long strategy.

The attempted grand theft of these elections started on Nov. 27, 2016, when Trump began his “big lie” propaganda campaign about a stolen election by stating: “In addition to winning the Electoral College by a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Trump has steadfastly refused to demonstrate the truth of his “Big Lie.” In response to growing challenges to his lying, Trump said: “You know what is important. Millions of people agree with me when I say that.”

Yes, they were ignorantly believing his “Big Lie.”

On Jan. 27, 2017, with no proof on any serious voter fraud, Vice President Pence laid out their strategy to steal the election in 2020: We need “a full evaluation of the voting rolls in the country and to protect the overall integrity of the voting system.”

With overwhelming evidence that major voter fraud is not taking place, what is their deeper motive? To restrict voting rights of millions of Americans and legally steal our elections by diluting the voting power of those opposed to their radical policy agenda.

This is not a new idea. Our nation’s history of voter suppression and stealing elections is long and ugly. Consider Mississippi. In the late 1880s, a bi-racial coalition of Republicans and Populists won the governor’s race and the state house. This coalition was made up of many poor black and white farmers and workers who deeply resented the economic and political domination of the wealthy planter class…

Read the full article at The Stand.

The Democratic Party is losing the working class

This article was published in The Stand January 2017.

(Jan. 10, 2017) — In 2008, Barack Obama was elected along with large Democratic majorities in Congress. Eight years later we have Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress. The Democrats have lost 935 state legislative seats since 2008, and 26 states are under complete control of the Republicans. It is hard putting a happy face on this disaster for Democrats.

Understanding this multi-year catastrophe is critical to our movement’s organizing an effective long-term strategy anchored in a positive vision to reclaim our country and build a more just, equitable and sustainable future. We must be self-critical and not merely blame the Kochs, Trump and the Republicans. There are many factors for this disaster and I want to focus on three critical factors centered on the

Democratic Party:

  1. The enormous loss of support for Democrats among households making less than $50,000 per year;
  2. Major loss of support among union members particularly in the Rust Belt; and
  3. The long-term support of both Clintons and Obama for “free trade” and largely ignoring its impacts and the long-term crisis of deindustrialization in the Rust Belt.

Over the past four years, I have presented my economic justice and labor education work 16 times in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and upstate New York, as well as campaigning in western Pennsylvania for 16 days before the election. (See “Doorbelling at the scene of corporate crimes” — The Stand, Nov. 4, 2016.)

I have visited many cities, large, medium and small, that have been devastated by plant closures, massive permanent job losses and jobs moving to foreign countries. The intergenerational character of many tight-knit communities has been severely weakened as their younger people leave and permanent hard times remain in many of these hard-hit communities.

The white working class was hit hard, but the black working class was hit even harder. If you doubt this, visit the many devastated black neighborhoods in Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Toledo, and Pittsburgh. There is a deep anger about this long-term decline and it erupted last month.

On Nov. 8, the American people were stunned by the election results. Questions of what happened abound. A Reuters exit poll offers important insights into voters’ attitudes:

  • 75% agree “America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful.”
  • 72% agree: “The American economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful.”
  • 68% agree: “Traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me.”

Read the full article at The Stand.

Two Profiles in Courage

This article was originally published for The Retiree Advocate at psara.org in July 2016.

Forty-four years ago I was a poor recent college graduate and antiwar activist. I moved from Chicago to Seattle to work on my brother Jim’s campaign for governor. He was opposed to the Vietnam War, and he was fighting for universal health care, mass transit, and a more just world. He ran hard but lost. For the next 44 years, Jim and I continued to fight for economic, racial and social justice, peace, and much more. Brother Jim chose the path of serving in elected office; my path was as a lifelong labor and community activist and appointed official for three governors and four Seattle mayors. Continue reading “Two Profiles in Courage”

Making Retirement Security Real for Everyone

This article was originally published for The Retiree Advocate at psara.org in October 2015.

PSARA will premiere our new workshop “Making Retirement Security Real for Everyone” on Friday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to noon at Washington State Labor Council, 321 16th Ave. S., Seattle. Led by PSARA Education Committee Chair, Mark McDermott, the workshop will educate and inspire participants to fight for a more secure retirement for all people and generations. Continue reading “Making Retirement Security Real for Everyone”

Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 1st report

This article was published in The Stand November 2016.

October 30, 2016

I first came to Pittsburgh in 1983 as a representative of the Seattle King County Unemployed Organizing Committee which eventually morphed into the Seattle Worker Center which is part of the King County Labor Council. I was attending the National Unemployed Network national meeting in Erie Pennsylvania. I had lost my job in a vicious union bust and had been out of work for almost a year. We are trying to organize a national fight back against the avalanche of plant closures, mass layoffs that devastated many communities and union busting that resulted in millions losing their jobs. Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania was ground zero of this unjust economic catastrophe. Diane and I have returned to the scene of these corporate crimes. Continue reading “Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 1st report”

Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 2nd report

November 2, 2016

Thanks much for all of your comments on my first report.  Diane and I would love to hear from you again.

JOHNSTOWN.  We have driven through the beautiful mountains and hardwood forests with the stunning changing leaves on the way to Johnstown, the county seat of Cambria County 70 miles east of Pittsburgh.  The city has lost 70% of its population in the past 90 years as the steel and coal industries have largely collapsed.  From the 1870s to the early 1980s, the state was the center of our nation’s steel and coal production.  During World War 2, the state’s unionized steelworkers produced almost as much steel as Germany and Japan combined.  It was the epicenter of the arsenal of democracy that helped crush Nazism and fascism in Japan and Italy. Continue reading “Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 2nd report”

Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 3rd report

“No matter what our attempts to inform, it is our ability to inspire that will turn the tide.” Syracuse Cultural Workers

November 6, 2016.

Three numbers are driving me: 537, 153 and 900. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court stole the election from the American people claiming a fair election in Florida being won by George Bush with a 537 vote margin. In 2008, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire was re-elected by 153 votes after 3 recounts. In 2016, Diane and I have knocked on 900 doors in Westmoreland County and Pittsburgh.  We have talked to over 250 people and are helping to win this election for the American people, democracy, decency, a repudiation of bigotry and hatred, a better future, Hillary Clinton, Katie McGinty (U.S. Senate) and Mary Popovich, (Pennsylvania State House). Continue reading “Reflections on Campaigning in Western Pennsylvania – 3rd report”