2020 Elections: What is to be done?

Faced with the all-powerful, two capitalist parties’ domination of electoral politics, the revolutionary socialist left has long debated how to engage with the bourgeois electoral system in the U.S. Solidarity comes to this debate with a long history of work for and an organizational commitment to building a political force independent of the Democratic party. For many on the left the swing of the Republican Party toward white nationalism under Trump and the rise of “Trumpism,” has raised the stakes of this Presidential election in ways that requires a shift in strategy with a temporary focus on the electoral defeat of Trump through critical support of Biden.  For others, the dangers posed by Trumpism do not justify supporting the Democratic Party and they advocate support for the Green Party candidacy of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker.  For both sides, building our movements is integral to bringing about real political change. Our recent poll of our members shows there are a variety of views on this election in particular.

We publish here several contributions to the debate about how revolutionary socialists should engage with the 2020 Elections. Readers, you are invited to send us your comments.  If you would like to contribute an article to this discussion, you can submit it at webzine@solidarity-us.org.  Please note that we have an editorial process for selection of comments and articles to help us have a comradely, well-rounded, representative and lively discussion.

  • The crisis after Trump: Biden
    Peter Solenberger Posted February 21, 2021 Joe Biden on day one of his presidency, January 20, 2021. He won’t deliver what workers need. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AP) Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated President and Vice President of the United States on January… Read more: The crisis after Trump: Biden
  • The Greens in 2020 Elections and Beyond
    Howie Hawkins Posted January 15, 2021 Greens knew from the start that 2020 would be a tough year for their presidential ticket. The election would be a referendum on Trump. For most progressives, Anybody But Trump would do. Our campaign believed that an ecosocialist… Read more: The Greens in 2020 Elections and Beyond
  • Post-Election 2020: A Crisis of Representation

    Failed beer hall putsch re-enactments aside, Donald Trump will be leaving the White House on January 20 if not sooner—at least for the next four years. The focus now shifts to the post-Trump world: what can we expect from the incoming Biden administration?

    Photo: Kenny Holston for The New York Times

    The short answer is “not much.” While lacking Trump’s predilection for outright nepotism and sycophancy, Biden clearly values personal loyalty, and has made his staffing choices accordingly. His transition team and cabinet picks are chock-full of people who have followed him for years. Many are ascending a few rungs on the career ladder they began climbing during the Obama administration. Others, like proposed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, are literally taking back the same job they had under Obama.

    Personal leadership style aside, the clear message is that the Democratic Party establishment is back in charge. Despite Biden winning election just months after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police sparked the largest protest movement in U.S. history, despite the fact that Bernie Sanders’ insurgent candidacy showed that there was a vibrant constituency on the party’s left flank, and despite the fact that unions and other progressive groups gave him the margin of victory in key swing states like Arizona and Pennsylvania, Biden and his team have shown nothing but contempt towards the Left. Instead, they have doubled down on bland centrism. With the possible exception of Green New Deal-supporting Deb Haaland at Interior, every cabinet pick has been a safe establishment choice.

  • Democratic Party dirty tricks against the Greens
    Michael Rubin Posted November 12, 2020 Angela Walker, 2020 Green Party candidate for vice-president. Democrats sued to keep her and Howie Hawkins off the ballot in Wisconsin. Voter suppression has become a real issue in recent years. Mostly, what we hear on voter suppression… Read more: Democratic Party dirty tricks against the Greens
  • Trump’s Last Stand
    K Mann Posted November 6, 2020 This article is part of discussion of a fluid situation in American politics. It represents the author’s analysis of a specific conjuncture at the time of writing. We will publish other assessments as the situation develops. Legal challenges… Read more: Trump’s Last Stand
  • Trump Can Steal the Election and the Left Must Mobilize to Stop Him
    Bill Resnick Posted November 4, 2020 A Critique of Kit Wainer’s Complacent View Kit Wainer’s essay “A very ‘American` coup” dismisses as alarmist and very very improbable a Trump success in stealing the election. Wainer bases his confident prediction on several arguments: That when… Read more: Trump Can Steal the Election and the Left Must Mobilize to Stop Him
  • The Day After — America Hung Over?
    Trumpsters chanting “Stop the vote!” outside the central counting board in Detroit after an election official closed the door on them. Nov. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    [This initial response was authored by David Finkel for the National Committee of Solidarity. We continue to follow events. By late Wednesday afternoon, with the Electoral College result appearing to swing narrowly toward Biden in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada, the Trump campaign is beginning to file stop-the-count lawsuits and a rightwing crowd is trying to break into the counting center at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit.]

    As the sun rises on a COVID-ravaged and politically fractured U.S. homeland the day after November 3, the main networks are telling us that the unresolved presidential election comes down to a two-states-out-of-three contest in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The results won’t be known till tonight at the earliest, probably later and not for days in Pennsylvania as late-arriving mail ballots need to be counted.

    In short, it’s all over but the counting, recounting and probably litigating. If America isn’t hung over this morning, it probably will be before it’s all done.

    We want to hear from members and friends of Solidarity about what’s happening in your communities during and after the election. Let us hear from you at webzine@solidarity-us.org!

    Here’s some of what we know:

    For the second straight election, U.S. voters have actually repudiated Donald Trump’s repulsive, racist and nativist message — but this time, contrary to expectations, by a smaller percentage than in 2016. At this writing (7 am Wednesday) Biden has 68,867,000 against Trump’s 66,643,000 votes — a margin of two million but way less than pollsters indicated. Of course, none of this matters in a system governed by the anachronistic Electoral College.

    As expected, Donald Trump made a “victory” declaration in the middle of the night and proclaimed “we’re going to the Supreme Court” to stop the vote count while he’s ahead. Importantly, it doesn’t look like the Republican leadership as a whole is backing up this widely anticipated Grand Theft Election gambit — at least for the moment. Prospects for a Trump-engineered “electoral coup” appear to have dimmed.

    By most indications, the Republican majority in the Senate will remain intact at least narrowly and the Democrats will hold the House of Representatives by a smaller margin yet to be determined.

    Third-party campaigns appear to have been pretty much overwhelmed by the polarization of the two main capitalist parties. The Green Party campaign of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker is showing a 0.23% vote, but we’ll need more time to see where Green results may be significant in local or state races…

  • Fighting Back in Michigan
    Kim Hunter Posted October 31, 2020 George Floyd protest in Detroit (Photo: Steve Neavling, Detroit Metro Times) I’m a member of DSA Metro Detroit and of the Black Brown Alliance within that chapter. I write poetry and short stories, and have earned my living… Read more: Fighting Back in Michigan
  • Strike for Democracy!
    Stephanie Luce Posted October 30, 2020 The labor movement is facing an existential crisis on two levels. Most immediate is that posed by Donald Trump, who has already stoked the fuel of white supremacist terror groups, and who has made repeated suggestions that he… Read more: Strike for Democracy!
  • A very “American” coup

    Could Trump steal the election? This is a fear that has circulated around both mainstream liberal circles and much of the Left as well.

    Some have warned of the threat of a coup in the event of a Biden victory…

    Others are preoccupied with visions of Trump manipulating the vote count…

    Few, however, have explained a plausible path that Trump could follow that would allow him to overturn the results of the election…

    Image: Cover of the 1982 novel from which the title of this article comes

  • Mobilizing Veterans in Labor to Beat Trump and the GOP
    Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon Posted October 29, 2020 During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump dissed a Gold Star family that lost a son in Iraq. He called Senator John McCain, America’s most famous prisoner of war, a “loser” for being captured in Vietnam.… Read more: Mobilizing Veterans in Labor to Beat Trump and the GOP
  • Unions Are Beginning to Talk About Staving Off a Possible Coup
    Barbara Madeloni Posted October 21, 2020 “Therefore, be it finally resolved that the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO, all of its affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the United States of America to prepare for and enact a… Read more: Unions Are Beginning to Talk About Staving Off a Possible Coup
  • Solidarity and the 2020 presidential election
    Solidarity Green Party Working Group Posted October 2, 2020 As reported in Solidarity’s Election Poll, a Solidarity internal poll found that 47% of respondents supported voting for Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker running as Greens in the 2020 presidential election, 27% supported voting for… Read more: Solidarity and the 2020 presidential election
  • Stay focused on the real fightback: the defeat of Trumpism will not come at the ballot box
    John B. Cannon Posted October 2, 2020 The 2020 election is shaping up as something more than merely a regular transfer of power election between the two major parties. Trump has leaned into overt racism at a time when many people thought these views… Read more: Stay focused on the real fightback: the defeat of Trumpism will not come at the ballot box
  • Dump Trump, Fight and Force Biden: An Electoral Strategy for the Left
    Bill Resnick Posted October 2, 2020 In this election year, the anti-capitalist left needs, and some coalitions are already conducting, an activist Dump Trump, Fight and Force Biden (DTFB) organizing strategy. It could oust Trump and drive back his forces, expose Biden and the… Read more: Dump Trump, Fight and Force Biden: An Electoral Strategy for the Left
  • The curse of the 2020 elections
    Peter Solenberger Posted October 2, 2020 In an August 22, 2020 article Solidarity’s Election Poll David Finkel, writing for the Solidarity National Committee, reported that 47% of Solidarity respondents supported voting for Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, 27% supported voting for… Read more: The curse of the 2020 elections
  • Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World?
    Ajamu Baraka Posted October 2, 2020 For the people of the world the real fascism of anti-democratic, brutal regimes supported by the U.S., murderous sanctions, and right-wing coups will continue unabated.  The reoccupation of the Executive Branch by the Democrats will not bring any… Read more: Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World?
  • Our Biden Problem
    Barbara Ransby Posted October 2, 2020 This is a hard arti­cle to write. I wish our polit­i­cal land­scape were so much dif­fer­ent than it is, and I wish our polit­i­cal choic­es were bet­ter than they are. To say Joe Biden is not an ide­al pres­i­den­tial can­di­date — for the Left… Read more: Our Biden Problem