Wednesday, April 1, 2020

This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like



·         NATION
This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like
Bernie Sanders’s moral outrage and devastating sarcasm struck back against a GOP assault on poor and low-income workers. 
MARCH 27, 2020

bernie-sanders-senate-coronavirus-ap-img
Senator Bernie Sanders speaks on the Senate floor. (Senate Television via AP)

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Republicans are using the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to do the same thing they did during the financial meltdown of 2008: wage class war against working Americans. This time, Bernie Sanders is refusing to let them get away with it.

Employing a combination of moral outrage and devastating sarcasm, the Vermont senator shamed Republicans in a Wednesday Senate floor speech that ripped into them for prioritizing corporate bailouts while objecting to providing a measure of security for low-wage workers who have lost their jobs as much of the American economy has ground to a near halt.

“How absurd and wrong is that? What kind of value system is that?” demanded Sanders, as he railed against a Republican amendment that would have constrained benefits at a time when the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. Even in the midst of the crisis, the senator thundered, “Some of my Republican friends have still not given up on the need to punish the poor and working people.”
In a matter of minutes, during a debate that focused on just one portion of a huge measure, Sanders illustrated how an opposition party is supposed to operate, and what it’s supposed to sound like. Refusing to let Republicans peddle the nonsense that invariably serves as a cover for the awful combination of bailouts for the wealthy and austerity for the working class, Sanders pushed back.

It was a fight Sanders expected to win, but it was the way he fought it that mattered: He hit as hard as the Republicans. And he claimed the moral high ground—inspiring the hashtag #ThankYouBernie to trend on social media as the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II wrote, “#ThankYouBernie for pointing out the immorality of Republicans funding big business & trying to strip out the few things in the bill to help poor & low income workers.”

Former senator Heidi Heitkamp, a moderate Democrat from North Dakota, circulated a video of the speech with the message, “I may not always agree with @BernieSanders but this is @BernieSanders at his very best. You go, my friend!”

Whether Sanders continues his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination as he trails former vice president Joe Biden or whether he folds at some point, his speech this week signaled that the senator will remain a transformative figure in the politics of the Democratic Party and the United States.
The fight that Sanders joined goes to the heart of concerns about the federal response to economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There is broad bipartisan agreement that Congress must move decisively to fund an urgent response. But there is a good deal of disagreement about how to respond to the economic fallout as states lock down in order to slow the spread of the deadly virus. There is a good deal of concern that the legislative process will be gamed by Republicans—and perhaps some Democrats—who are as inclined to bail out Wall Street in 2020 as they were in 2008. The wrangling over the Senate bill highlighted those concerns.
The $2 trillion relief package that the Senate approved Wednesday night does everything imaginable, and a few things that are unimaginable, for big business. The 880-page measure allocates $425 billion to create a fund controlled by the Federal Reserve, which permits massive loans to corporations. In addition, it makes $75 billion available for loans targeted to aid the airline and hotel industries.

The legislation is so friendly to big business that, even after it was reported on Thursday morning that a record 3.28 million people had filed for unemployment benefits, the Dow Jones surged because, as one analyst told CNBC, “the focus by the market now is on the fact we’re likely to get a historically large fiscal stimulus.” The wolves of Wall Street are excited by what economist Dean Baker correctly identifies as “the $500 billion slush fund that McConnell has made a centerpiece of the Senate bill.”

The measure would have been dramatically worse had Republicans not been faced with the reality of a divided Congress and the interventions of Senate minority leader Charles Schumer and his caucus, which fought for more than $100 billion for hospitals$150 billion dollars for state and local government, $30 billion in emergency education funding, $25 billion in emergency transit funding, vital initiatives for small businesses, and anti-corruption initiatives that Schumer said were toughened with the aid of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The Democrats celebrated a plan providing direct payments averaging $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, as well as what Schumer dubbed “unemployment insurance on steroids.”

The package, as it was agreed to by Senate negotiators, featured a section—which Sanders and other progressives had championed—that supercharged unemployment benefits by promising out-of-work Americans up to four months of weekly unemployment checks from the states where they live and an additional $600 a week in benefits. It also established a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide benefits to gig workers and the self-employed.

This level of care for vulnerable workers disturbed Republican Senators Tim Scott, Lindsey Graham, and Ben Sasse. Their objection? “Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work. This isn’t an abstract, philosophical point—it’s an immediate, real-world problem,” the senators claimed in a press statement, continuing:

If the federal government accidentally incentivizes layoffs, we risk life-threatening shortages in sectors where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are trying to care for the sick, and where growers and grocers, truckers and cooks are trying to get food to families’ tables. This isn’t who we are as Americans; this isn’t what we do in a crisis. We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working.
Sanders responded immediately:
Unless these Republican Senators drop their objections, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund to make sure that any corporation receiving financial assistance under this legislation does not lay off workers, cut wages or benefits, ship jobs overseas, or pay workers poverty wages.
When the Republican amendment was debated Wednesday, Sanders held nothing back.
“So now I find that some of my Republican colleagues are very distressed. They’re very upset that somebody who is making $10, $12 an hour might end up with a paycheck for four months [amounting to] more than they received last week,” raged the senator. Aiming sarcastic fury at the Republicans, he shouted:
Oh, my God, the universe is collapsing. Imagine that! Somebody is making 12 bucks an hour, now, like the rest of us, faces an unprecedented economic crisis with the 600 bucks on top of their normal, regular unemployment check might be making a few bucks more for four months. Oh, my word, will the universe survive?
Noting that “these very same folks had no problem a couple years ago voting for a trillion dollars in tax breaks for billionaires and large profitable corporations,” Sanders added, “But when it comes to low-income workers, in the midst of a terrible crisis, maybe some of them earning or having more money than they previously made—oh my word, we gotta strip that out.”
The Senate did not strip it out. The Republican amendment failed, and the objecting senators folded—joining the full Senate in voting for the overall bill.

What was striking, and what will be remembered, is that in this chaotic moment Bernie Sanders framed an urgent debate around the fundamental premise that “one thing we must not do is punish low-income workers.”
John Nichols is The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent and host of Next LeftThe Nation’s podcast where politics gets personal with rising progressive politicians. He is the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, from Nation Books, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs



Baltimore Activist Alert -- April 1 - 5, 2020


44] Pax Christi USA's Movie of the Week – April 1 - 5
45] "USA Activism: How can we help the cause?"  – April 1
46] Community Meeting on Antisemitism -- April 1
47] Sew Face Masks – April 2
48] Student Loan Workshop: COVID-19 Relief and Policy Updates – April 2
49] Discuss how to prevent gun violence during COVID-19 – April 2
50] Discussion about the mental health implications of the pandemic – April 2
51] Phone Banking for Bill! – April 2
53] Launch of national phone-banking for Jamaal Bowman April 2
54] Book talk “In Paradigm Lost” – April 2
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44] -- Pax Christi USA's Movie of the Week, in recognition of the birthday of Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers, is "Cesar Chavez" starring Michael Pena. It's available for rental on Amazon and other streaming services.  Each week, since so many of us are under "stay at home" orders, self-quarantined, or on lockdown, Pax Christi USA will recommend a "movie of the week" for us to watch and discuss in solidarity. The series is called "#AloneTogether Movie of the Week. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/2913727685347435/.

45] -- You are Invited to Join in on Wed., April 1 at 7:30 PM on the Webinar "USA Activism: How can we help the cause?"  RSVP at Beth@afcfp.org.

46] -- Jewish Voice for Peace is holding a Community Meeting on Antisemitism on Wed., April 1 at 8 PM EST. Join Rabbi Alissa Wise and JVP members and staff for a community conversation on antisemitism, its impacts, and what JVP can do as an organization. Register at https://secure.everyaction.com/la3fyHAdIEiuMnoAmGZrYQ2?emci=cbbbed4c-9b6f-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&emdi=12bf7de0-2a70-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&ceid=237778.

47] – Sew Face Masks for UMMS hosted by Pets on Wheels, P.O. Box 44176, Baltimore 21236, on Thurs., April 2 through April 30 from 1 to 4 PM. As many of you know, the hospital systems in the United States have been and will continue to be challenged to meet the needs of patients who may be COVID-19 positive. In light of this, in the coming weeks many hospitals will need additional personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance approving the use of cloth masks, and anyone who has sewing experience should consider making cloth face masks to be delivered to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) for distribution.  There is a PDF for making folded masks at https://files.constantcontact.com/c9e08a1b201/13dbf7af-4ee5-4470-be1f-451542bf468e.pdf, and there are links below with detailed instructions, including a video, for making fitted and folded masks.

For example, there is DIY Cloth Face Mask (fitted mask): https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Cloth-Face-Mask/; and Folded Mask: https://sweetredpoppy.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask/.  Both of the websites listed above follow CDC guidelines and have links to the CDC website. Unlike the N95 masks, these are not designed to prevent COVID-19 entirely; however, they will prevent some transmission, and the CDC has approved them for use. Once you have made the masks, please send them via mail to Susan Dorsey, 5401 Hamlet Avenue, Baltimore 21214.  If you have any questions about connecting with Susan, please email her (sdorsey@umaryland.edu). Susan will deliver the face masks to UMSON weekly, and UMMC will arrange to send someone to UMSON to pick them up.

If you have questions, or need additional guidance for making the masks, please feel free to reach out to Deb Greenspan, who is coordinating this effort with Susan. Her email address is dbg003@hotmail.com.  Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/661361757959670/?event_time_id=661361777959668.

48] – Join a free Student Loan Workshop: COVID-19 Relief and Policy Updates. The discussion will start online or via telephone on Thurs., April 2 at 2 PM ET.  Last week, the federal government approved a $2 trillion stimulus package that includes relief for people with federally-held student loans. Get help in understanding these recent changes and how they may affect your student loan payments.  RSVP at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_x736zK-YRQCazDtJXuaTeQ.

49] – Join Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Brady Legal, Team ENOUGH, Guns Down America, and more for a webinar to discuss how to prevent gun violence during COVID-19. Explore the increase in firearm sales, what local leaders can do amid these uncertain times, and how activists can continue to demand for change. It will take place on Thurs., April 2 at 2 PM EST.  Register at https://www.bigmarker.com/brady-campaign-center-to-pre/COVID-19-Gun-Sales-and-What-Can-Be-Done?emci=e2554f13-4470-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&emdi=c467a8e6-da70-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&ceid=925735.

50] – On Thurs., April 2 from 3 to 4 PM ET, please join Physicians for Human Rights for the third in an ongoing series of webinars as our board members Dr. Gail Saltz and Dr. Kerry Sulkowicz lead an online discussion about the mental health implications of the pandemic, including the anxiety that comes with uncertainty, differentiating COVID-19 symptoms from anxiety symptoms and Mental health tips for frontline defenders and their families.  You are encouraged to submit questions for consideration at webinar@phr.org. Please note, pre-registration for this call is required: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kSgnXu4-R2u8tUXufQxBYA?utm_campaign=473522_FY20%20March%20COVID-19%20Webinar%203%2C%20Email%201&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Physicians%20for%20Human%20Rights&dm_i=4GV7,A5DE,1TO2EP,124NY,1.

51] – Phone Banking for Bill! by Friends of Bill Henry on Thurs., April 2 from 5 to 8 PM at 2801 Sisson St., Baltimore 21211. . With a lot of voters in Baltimore City being renters, sometimes the only way a campaign can reach them is through phone calls. Please come out and make a few calls to voters to let them know why Bill Henry is the right choice for Comptroller.  You can sign up here at: bit.ly/phonebankforbill. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2645900688862464/?event_time_id=2645900742195792.

52] – Communities United’s very first VIRTUAL event begins on Thurs., April 2 from 6 to 7:30 PM, Virtual Committee Night Potluck: Food For ThoughtYou can join on your phone, laptop or tablet at https://zoom.us/j/204374327?status=successwith.  You can do it the old fashioned way by dialing in at 929-205-6099 and then entering the meeting ID: 204374327#.  Guest speakers are looking forward to sharing recent victories in Annapolis and next steps. If you have a favorite quarantine recipe to share, have it handy at check-in!

53] – On Thurs., April 2 at 7 PM ET, join SUNRISE join in the launch of national phone-banking for Jamaal Bowman of New York’s 16th Congressional District. Jamaal has been an educator for 20 years in his community. He's an incredibly inspiring candidate who is generating tons of grassroots support to take on an entrenched establishment incumbent. The future is always on his mind, and education is his top issue. He has a vision to make sure that the students of today are getting trained for the Green New Deal jobs of tomorrow, and is fighting to make that a reality. To participate check out https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8715851905219/WN_74Z9RX4nRcKDSn3oz9wXNA.

54] -- Hear a conversation and book signing with Ian S. Lustick, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations on Thurs., April 2 at 7 PM at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church Family Center, 10 Old Church Road, Wilmington, DE 19807. Why have Israelis and Palestinians failed to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict that has cost so much and lasted so long? “In Paradigm Lost,” Lustick brings 50 years as an analyst of the dispute to argue that negotiations for a two-state solution are counterproductive. Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can enjoy the democracy they deserve but only after decades of struggle amid the unintended but powerful consequences of today's one-state reality. There will be a book signing following the conversation. RSVP to delawarephr@gmail.com.

To be continued

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Baltimore Activist Alert -- April 1 - 3, 2020


30] Help to elect strong progressives
31] Free Meals for those in Need – April 1 – 3
32] CODEPINK webinar -- April 1
33] Vote by Mail 101 – April 1
34] Healthcare Emergency Virtual Town Hall – April 1
35] Sustainability Commission Meeting – April 1
36] National Out to Win Day -- April 2
37] Why Vote at Home Matters -- April 2
38] Teach-In: Homeless, Not Helpless! – April 2
39] Singalong with Spice -- April 2
40] Meet the candidates – April 2
41] Fair Development Roundtable – April 2
42] Exploding Worker Resistance! – April 2
43] Our Revolution online – April 2
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30] - Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is staying focused on making the best of this perilous situation. Help to elect strong progressives by making calls from home.  Email mikefox@pdamerica.org to become a PDA Phone Team Volunteer.

31] –On Wed., April 1 through April 3 from noon to 2:30 PM, help out Heart of the Park - Free Meals for those in Need by Heart of the Park, 55 Market Place, Baltimore 21202.  Harbor Park Garage has teamed up with the Pierpoint Restaurant to launch “Heart of the Park” to help support the community in this time of need. The plan is simple. Drive up and get free meals. Call (410) 234-3631 or email info@Harborparkgarage.com.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/293128001668953/?event_time_id=293128021668951.

32] – CODEPINK will stream a webinar on YouTube Live on Wed., April 1 at noon ET as part of the series: What Is Going on in Latin America? Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice slapped Venezuelan President Maduro and other government officials with drug trafficking charges. But without a shred of evidence, these allegations bring up serious questions regarding the true intentions of the DOJ. Latin American affairs expert Fulton Armstrong will join Teri Mattson to discuss the allegations made against Maduro and to contextualize this occurrence within a larger pattern of U.S. foreign affairs in Latin America. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/codepinkaction.

33] –On Wed., April 1 from 2 to 3 PM and Thurs., April 2 from 6;30 to 7:30 PM, Vote by Mail 101 for MD's Special Election, hosted by Black Girls Vote. SIGN UP HERE: https://forms.gle/ZBNrXLdgzH2DTz1d8. Ballots for Maryland’s 7th District Special Election go out on Tuesday, March 31 and will reach voters in the days to follow. The team at the Board of Elections has been working at full capacity to shift their operations to support vastly increased voting by mail operations. In order to answer questions and address concerns, Open Society Institute-Baltimore, Black Girls Vote, the League of Women Voters of Baltimore City, Baltimore Votes, No Boundaries Coalition, Out For Justice, and other partners are coming together to host two video sessions. The purpose of these calls is to support community leaders as they prepare to educate their constituents about the vote-by-mail process.  If you are not able to join either call, but have questions or concerns, please email sam@baltimorevotes.org. Look at https://www.facebook.com/events/248236119690114/?event_time_id=248236123023447.

34] – You’re cordially invited to Progressive Democrats of America’s Healthcare Emergency Virtual Town Hall / Webinar on Wed., April 1 from 4 to 5 PM ET. Find out what PDA is doing in response to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, and how you can help. Dr. Bill Honigman and guest speakers will address your concerns and answer your questions about the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Email MikeFox@PDAmerica.org to RSVP. He will send you call-in information.

35] – On Wed., April 1 from 4 to 6 PM, attend the Virtual April Sustainability Commission Meeting, hosted by Baltimore Office of Sustainability, 417 E. Fayette St., Floor 8, Baltimore 21202. We are at a moment when we are poised to repair, regenerate, heal and mend the fabric of our community.  This is the meeting link: https://bmore.webex.com/bmore/j.php?MTID=m1f16078a99fac39f4672d795ac16a306.  The meeting number is 713 863 683.  Join by phone +1-408-418-9388/Access code: 713 863 683.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/564386007805400/.

36] - On Thurs., April 2 from midnight to 11:30 PM, get with National #OutToWin Day 2020, hosted by LGBTQ Victory Institute, 1225 I Street NW, #525, WDC 20005.  Tickets are at victoryinstitute.org.  This is the day designated to raise awareness about the underrepresentation of LGBTQ people in elected office and to inspire more LGBTQ people to run and win. Right now there are 855 openly LGBTQ elected officials in the entire nation – which means 22,529 more must be elected to achieve equitable representation in government.  If you're considering a run, visit outtowin.org and take the pledge. Victory Institute will be in touch with everything you need to get started.   Check out https://www.facebook.com/events/1415764598594539/.

37] – RepresentUs invites you to get involved with Episode 1 of a six-part, virtual Unrig Spotlight series: Unrig Roundtable: Why Vote at Home Matters Now.  The free online Unrig Roundtable series kicks off on Thurs., April 2 at 1 PM ET.  Register at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/unrigroundtablevoteathome/register.  Hear from Vote at Home experts about this powerful reform — and the growing momentum behind it.

38] – On Thurs., April 2 at 1 PM EST, join the National Union of the Homeless Online Press Call and Teach-In: Homeless, Not Helpless! Learn How the unsheltered are organizing to survive the coronavirus. Speakers include Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and local leaders of the National Union of the Homeless. Join by video at https://zoom.us/j/163022305; join by audio: 16465588656,,163022305#.

39] – A Virtual Environmental Singalong with Spice on Thurs., April 2 from 3 to 4 PM organized by the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter.  Contact Lynn Davidson at lynn.davidson@mdsierra.org or Laurel Imlay Club at 240-764-5309.  Get with a family friendly, live-streaming sing along with Spice [spicesings.com] featuring songs from the earth!

40] – On Wed., April 1 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, get over to Max's Political Salon 2020 with Mary Washington & Nick Mosby, hosted by Max's Taphouse, 737 S. Broadway, Baltimore 21231. In just a few short weeks, Baltimore City will hold Primary Elections for key local, state and national political seats.   Meet candidates for Mayor, City Council (District 01), President of the City Council, Comptroller, Judicial Circuit Judges (District 08) and Congressperson (District 03). This week's candidates will be Mary Washington (candidate for Mayor) and Nick Mosby (candidate President for City Council).  RSVP at https://maxspoliticalsalonapril01.eventbrite.com.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2481831345401837/.

41] -- Fight to make Hopkins more humane. Now more than ever, Hopkins needs to be held to the highest possible standard in how they treat nurses, neighborhoods, and vulnerable communities around the city. Come together to think about how to continue the campaign. Share what you all have happening in your various organizations, and how to come together during this time. For example, the Fair Development Roundtable has been doing powerful things, and has a Know Your Rights training on Thurs., April 2 from 6 to 7 PM ET.  Check out https://www.facebook.com/fairdevelopmentroundtable/posts/2582550725335595. Video works on computers or smartphones if you have the free Zoom app -- https://zoom.us/j/4300937869.  Call in at 929-436-2866, and use the code: 430-093-7869#.

42] –On Thurs., April 2 at 7 PM ET, hear about COVID-19 & Exploding Worker Resistance! REGISTER for a Webinar on Zoom at https://us04web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_AB3ycAuzRuO4eGe_BADpMw.  Rent strikes. Instacart and Amazon strikes. Prisoner strikes. General strikes. The global impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus has united the workers and oppressed in a common, worldwide struggle for health, safety, jobs and full pay during closings and layoffs. Rank-and-file resistance by workers — with or without unions — has closed schools, factories and workplaces in the interest of community health and called out bosses who are mistreating workers in the process.  Join Workers World Party and discuss the growing worker resistance to the capitalist response to COVID-19.

43] – As COVID-19 changes every aspect of our society, the political revolution is more important than ever. All across the country, Our Revolution is building powerful local organizations that are fighting to promote Bernie’s progressive vision and elect the next generation of progressive champions.  On Thurs., April 2 at 8:30 PM, get with this week’s member call with Bernie 2020 National Co-Chair Rep. Ro Khanna, discuss the game-changing accomplishments and what’s next for the political revolution! RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/ourrevolution/event/265253/.


To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Americans’ Revulsion for Trump Is Underappreciated


Published on Portside (https://portside.org/)

Americans’ Revulsion for Trump Is Underappreciated

Stanley B. Greenberg
March 24, 2020
The Atlantic

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/field/image/Trump-ic-3-29-2020.jpg

  The release on Friday of an ABC News/Ipsos poll indicating that 55 percent of Americans approved of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus—12 points higher than the previous week—prompted another round of fatalistic chatter in certain quarters of the political establishment. Shocked by Trump’s victory in 2016, some left-leaning commentators and rank-and-file Democrats alike have been steeling themselves for his reelection in 2020, noting that most presidents win second terms; that, at least before the pandemic, the economy was humming along; and more recently that, during moments of national disaster, Americans tend to rally around the leader they have.

   But these nuggets of conventional political wisdom obscure something fundamental—something that even Democrats have trouble seeing: The United States is in revolt against Donald Trump, and the likely Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, already holds a daunting lead over Trump in the battleground states that will decide the 2020 election. By way of disclosure, I am a Democratic pollster; for professional and personal reasons alike, I want Democratic candidates to succeed. But no matter what, I also want candidates and party operatives to base decisions—such as where and how to campaign—on an accurate view of the political landscape. At the moment, Democrats are underestimating their own strength and misperceiving the sources of it.

   Every time Americans have gone to the polls since Trump took office, they have pushed back hard against him. The blue wave that began in state elections in 2017 grew bigger in the 2018 midterms and bigger yet in 2019. Trump focused the Republican Party’s whole 2018 congressional campaign on immigrant caravans and the border wall, and he lost. Trump held rallies in support of the Republican gubernatorial candidates on the last nights before elections in the deep-red states of Kentucky and Louisiana, and they lost. The GOP losses right through the end of 2019 were produced by dramatic, growing gains for Democrats in the nation’s suburbs. Democrats took total control of the Virginia legislature, where the party held on to all the suburban seats it had flipped two years earlier and gained six more.

  Even so, a CBS News poll taken late last month found that 65 percent of Americans and more than a third of Democrats believed that Trump would win reelection. Trump has been confidently stalking Democrats, holding exuberant rallies in each of the early caucus and primary states.

  For a time, each week’s voting made Trump’s position look stronger. Bernie Sanders took a commanding delegate lead after the Nevada caucus, and Democratic leaders and many others in the anti-Trump world panicked. Sanders was widely viewed as Trump’s preferred opponent, and he looked unstoppable in the nomination battle. Republicans were rubbing their hands together, eager to spend millions “educating” the country about Sanders’s long-ago honeymoon in Moscow and his socialist plans to destroy American health care. Even after Joe Biden stunned himself and all the political analysts by winning the South Carolina primary by nearly 30 points, much of the subsequent commentary dwelled on the nearly 30 percent of Sanders voters who were not certain they would vote for the eventual nominee. The New York Times soon published a front-page story on the socialist podcast Chapo Trap House and a broader movement calling itself the “Dirtbag Left,” which embraced Sanders and attacked his Democratic opponents. The alienation of people like these would reelect Trump, supporters of other Democratic candidates feared.

   But Democratic voters took over the nominating process and changed everything. No group of voters felt more threatened by Donald Trump than African Americans, and no group was more determined to see him defeated. When a stunning 61 percent of black voters in South Carolina chose Joe Biden, other Democrats got the message. Turnout surged on Super Tuesday, led by Texas with a 45 percent increase over 2016 and Virginia with a 70 percent increase, for the highest turnout in state history. The increase was led by African Americans and voters in the suburbs. Two weeks later in Michigan, Tim Alberta declared in Politico, “Democratic turnout exploded,” led by a 45 percent increase in the state’s richest county.

  Trump has nationalized our politics around himself and his job performance, and that has created a nine-point headwind for the Republican Party. While the pessimists obsess over any of Trump’s most favorable polls, particularly in the Electoral College battleground states, Trump has never raised his approval rating above the low 40s in FiveThirtyEight’s average of public polls; 52 to 53 percent disapprove of his performance in office. And that remains true during the current crisis.

    Trump has improved his numbers with the evangelical Christians, Tea Party supporters, and observant Catholics who make up the core of his Republican Party, but it is a diminished party. The percentage of people identifying as Republican since Trump took office has dropped from 39 to 36 percent, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Trump has pushed moderates out of the party, and those moderates are changing their voting patterns accordingly. 
    Fully 5 percent of the voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary had previously voted in the state’s Republican primary. In Michigan, Republican strategists tried to make sense of the 56 percent increase in Democratic turnout in Livingston County, a white, college-educated, upper-class community that Trump won by 30 points. Republicans are shedding voters.

  Why don’t supposedly savvy people see the revolt that’s happening before their very eyes?
Well, everyone should pay less attention to the interviews with Trump voters at his rallies—of course people who attend his events still support him—and more to the fundamental changes in public attitudes that undercut Republican prospects. The signature policies that are cheered at every Trump rally are unpopular with most Americans.

  Trump’s reelection campaign is premised on voters embracing an “America first” vision on trade and immigration, a defense of the traditional family with a male breadwinner, and a battle for the forgotten working class. But the percentage of Americans who believe that free trade between the United States and other countries is mostly a good thing has jumped from 43 to 56 percent in three years—reaching 67 percent among Democrats. The percentage who believe that foreign trade is an opportunity for economic growth rather than a “threat to the economy” has jumped from about 60 to 80 percent since Trump took office. His tariffs and trade war have united much of the country against him.

   As he demanded that Congress fund a border wall with Mexico, pushed migrants into new camps inside and outside the U.S., and dramatically reduced legal immigration, Americans suddenly embraced immigrants and America’s immigrant history. The percentage offering a warm response to the phrase immigrants to the U.S. grew from 52 percent in January 2019 to 59 percent in July and spiked in September to 67 percent.

   Women started the revolt against Trump’s America the day after his inauguration, and their opposition continues to deepen. In 2018, Democrats increased their margins relative to 2016 by more than double digits with white college-educated women—Hillary Clinton’s base—but also with white unmarried women and white working-class women. In 2018, black women turned out to vote in record numbers and gave Republicans only 7 percent of their votes.

   The women’s wave grew to a potential tsunami when I began testing the leading Democratic candidates against Trump in the 2020 presidential contest earlier this month. With Joe Biden as the candidate, Trump won only 4 percent of African American women. He lost Hispanic women by 25 points, white unmarried women by 18, white college women by 14, and white Millennial women by 12—all at historic highs for Democrats.

   Yet while the revulsion that women and suburbanites show toward Trump registers with elite commentators and Democratic operatives, the role that working-class voters have played in Republicans’ recent electoral troubles mostly does not.

  The white working class forms 46 percent of registered voters; most are women. Although these voters’ excitement and hopes made Trump’s 2016 victory possible, they were demonstrably disillusioned just a year into Trump’s presidency. They pulled back when the Republicans proposed big cuts in domestic spending, Medicare, and Medicaid and made health insurance more uncertain and expensive, while slashing taxes for corporations and their lobbyists. In the midterms, Democrats ran on cutting prescription-drug costs, building infrastructure, and limiting the role of big money, and a portion of the white working class joined the revolt. The 13-point shift against Trump was three times stronger than the shift in the suburbs that got everyone’s attention.

   Trump won white working-class women by 27 points in 2016. But at the end of 2019, Biden was running dead even with Trump nationally. Eight months before the election, Democracy Corps—of which I am a co-founder—and the Center for Voter Information conducted a survey in the battleground states that gave Trump his Electoral College victory. (Trump won them by 1.3 points in 2016.) Our recent findings showed Biden trailing Trump with white working-class women by just eight points in a head-to-head contest. These numbers herald an earthquake, but they have not penetrated elite commentators’ calculations about whether Trump will win in 2020.

   When President Barack Obama urged voters to “build on the progress” by supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016, he underestimated how much working-class voters felt Democrats had pushed their concerns out of sight. Democratic presidents championed NAFTA and presided over the outsourcing of jobs; bank bailouts, lost homes and wages, and mandatory health insurance further alienated working people; and Clinton did not hide her closeness with Wall Street or her discomfort campaigning to win working-class and rural communities. So working people had lots of reasons to consider voting for Donald Trump, who said he was battling for the “forgotten Americans,” but shocked Clinton supporters could see only the race cards he played to great effect the second he got off the escalator at Trump Tower. Now the failure of political elites to see the role working people played in the Democratic victories of 2018 makes them believe that Trump is headed for reelection.

   Earlier this year, I assembled an online sample of 250 Democratic base and swing voters to watch the president’s State of the Union address. They reacted second by second to his words and claims and, afterward, drew conclusions about the president. They turned their thumbs down when Trump hailed the “great American comeback.” He lost white working-class men and women on the comeback of jobs and income and “the state of the union is stronger than ever.” After listening to the president for more than an hour, 63 percent said he’s “governing for billionaires and big money elites.” The elites may not see working people, but working people see Donald Trump.

   Perhaps sensing the danger to the incumbent, Republican leaders in Congress appear willing to approve a massive stimulus plan in response to the coronavirus—a stimulus significantly larger than the one they ravaged Obama for pushing through. That could raise Trump’s prospects—but the potentially catastrophic human consequences of COVID-19 could also work against him. Trump, one can safely assume, will do almost anything to get reelected, and my fellow Democrats will do all they can to defeat him. But they also need to take into account this basic fact: Large portions of the electorate, knowing what the stakes are, have been rebelling against Trump for three years and are eager to finish off his vision of America.

Stanley B. Greenberg is a pollster who worked for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Tony Blair, and Nelson Mandela. He is the author of R.I.P. G.O.P.: How the New America is Dooming the Republicans.


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