Democracy Hangs in Balance this Election


By Kevin Kuriakose, 215PA Field Director

Throughout history, positive change has never been the result of one elected leader’s actions alone but by the movements of ordinary people working together. In this moment of national crisis and polarization we face a critical choice for our democracy. Our goals for organizing around racial and economic justice will be better served under an administration that in order to govern has to listen to the will of the people that have elected them. That’s why we’re asking you to vote Joe Biden for president because our democracy hangs in the balance under Donald Trump and we can’t afford to take this election for granted.

A second term for Trump would only embolden the worst authoritarian instincts that have been evident over the last four years. There is a growing danger of fascism in the form of open white supremacy and roll back of basic democratic rights. Asylum for people fleeing violence will surely be eliminated, exacerbated by an administration set on creating havoc and turmoil in countries around the world. With the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of Kenosha police, those that justify the actions of police terror will know they have a friend in the whitehouse that will protect and shield them for their acts of violence. The Movement for Black Lives is the largest social movement this country has ever seen, even larger than the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960’s whose sacrifices we all benefit from today. As our movement grows and the push for equitable changes to oppressive systems continues, it will be important to be in a political space where we can organize effectively and not have threats from an administration that seeks to extinguish it.

Biden, by way of contrast, acknowledges the existence of systemic racism and has made some important commitments to address it. While he needs to do more, a large turnout for him that will also carry the Senate is clearly the best chance we have of moving forward on this front.

Through his false promises, failed policies and repeals, Trump has weakened the labor movement. A national right to work law that will further weaken unions is practically a sure thing in a Trump second term. He has repealed Obama’s Fair Play and Safe Workplace Executive Order, lowering the income threshold for overtime from $47,000 to $35,000, leaving millions of workers vulnerable to wage theft and exploitation. Trump has passed his own executive order that restricts federal employees from their union responsibilities while on the clock, which has made it harder to organize in the workplace and ensure union officials are barred from their office. Biden has voiced his support on legislation making it easier to unionize, “allowing employees to unionize by card check — the informal collection of authorization forms from a majority within a proposed bargaining unit.”

The covid-19 virus and the failed response from the Trump administration has put all of our lives and families at risk. Nearly 200,000 people have died due to the virus and the possibility of a second wave during this year’s flu season makes having a competent president and administration of the utmost importance. Many of these death were preventable; Trump’s advisors were advising him to begin quarantine in January and the administration’s decision to disband the global health security team in charge of pandemics all played a role in the richest country having 4 percent of the world’s population but 22 percent of confirmed Covid-19 deaths. Furthermore, the bailout that was intended to help the working class, mostly went to corporations and the 1 percent. Take for example, the airline industry receiving a 25 million dollar bailout to prop up their industry without any worker protections, only to have American Airlines announce a cut to 40,000 jobs. With more than 44 million having filed for unemployment and 30 million out of 249 million census respondents citing food insecurity, we simply cannot continue along this path of inequity.

According to the United Nations IPCC, we only have 10 years to limit global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 C, beyond that significantly increases the chances of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Any deviation from this timeline will surely result in a catastrophic collapse of our ecosystems. Of the many disastrous rollbacks to environmental protections from the Trump administration, includes the consequential decision to abandon the nearly 50 year old National Environment Policy Act. In addition to the wellbeing of endangered species and wild lands, NEPA was created to safeguard the clean air, clean water, and health of our communities. Whereas Biden, with pressure from the Sunrise Movement, has proposed to spend 2 trillion in four years on renewable energy and phase out carbon pollution from the electric sector by 2035. Trump has been disastrous to our natural world, making our planet suffer for current and future generations to come.

Under a Biden administration the left will be able to organize around the issues and policies such as Racial Justice, Medicare-for-all, Green New Deal that we know to address the problems our communities face. Another four more years of Trump would only embolden his deepest fascist tendencies to forcibly suppress any dissent from organizers. With a second term, Trump can handpick as many as three Supreme Court justices. With the two branches of government firmly in his control, the terror he’ll unleash will reverberate for generations to come.

As Angela Davis has said this “election will not so much be about who gets to lead the country to a better future, but rather how we can support ourselves and our own ability to continue to organize and place pressure on those in power” We’re voting for Biden and encouraging you to do the same because this election will decide where our movement will take us. Our vision for organizing the multiracial working class will be greatly at risk if Trump is given a second term. Now is our chance to do what we can to stop him and continue to build momentum for the fight for equity and justice.