Leverage anyone

The Biden administration has demonstrated consummate skill in fashioning legislative majorities around a body of democratic and progressive legislation over the past four years. And this, notwithstanding a solid wall of opposition from Republicans in Congress. But even Republican opposition wouldn’t have stymied Biden’s agenda without an assist from Senator Joe Manchin (WVA) and the narrow loss of the House in the midterm elections.

Looking ahead to November, the challenge is clear: Defeat Trump and MAGA, re-elect Joe Biden, and elect a Democratic Congressional majority. If we do, much can be done to address the overarching challenges of economic security, equality, climate disruption, and even peace in the Middle East and worldwide!

I wish Israel’s weapons of war would be silenced. I wish an independent and viable Palestinian state would spring from the ashes of this one sided, genocidal war. I wish Joe Biden would summon up the courage to demand a permanent ceasefire.

One can be white hot angry and deeply disappointed by Biden, but neither anger nor disappointment are good reasons this year not to vote for him and Congressional Democrats in November. Too much is at stake! The alternative is unthinkable. With Biden and a Democratic Congressional majority we have leverage (and the past 4 years demonstrate that as well as the need for more); with Trump we don’t. It’s that simple!

Willie Mays

Willie Mays arguably baseball’s GOAT! His baseball skills were matched with a rare modesty and a deep sense of decency. Say Hey!

Nothing pure about it

Arrayed against Trump and MAGA is a cross class, people’s coalition. There is nothing pure about it; if anything, its diverse and motley. At the center of this coalition, unless you embrace a narrow and, in the end, self defeating understanding of it, is Joe Biden, the Democratic Party (which is trending in a progressive direction), and allied organizations, not least the labor movement (which is also trending in a progressive direction).

The left in its non-sectarian forms are in the mix too, but, by no stretch of the imagination, is it the leading component or setting the agenda of this disparate, wide ranging coalition. To the degree that it properly understands the nature of this coalition and where it fits in it will determine how and to what extent it contributes to the overarching challenge of smacking down Trump and electing Biden when tens of millions cast their votes in November.

Structures of accountability

A singular focus on power can easily go off the tracks if it isn’t embedded in and conditioned by a set of values, norms, and real and robust structures of accountability. This is the case at every stage of struggle, not simply at the point where millions are constructing a new society. This seems simple enough, but at the level of practice, too many examples, tell us that it is easier said than done.

A flawed strategy

Urging a vote against fascism in November, while damning President Biden with faint or no praise or singularly leaning into his mistakes and shortcomings, or simply leaving him out of the conversation altogether, may seem strategically astute, politically clever, and morally on time, but it is neither. Such an approach, if taken seriously by too many voters would doom the efforts of the rest of us to prevent Trump’s return to the White House.

Such an approach, of course, might resonate with a section of the left and newly radicalized young people, understandably angry about Biden’s failure to demand an end to the genocidal war of the IDF against the people of Gaza. But anger and moral righteousness alone is seldom a good guide to what makes sense politically at this moment, given the whole concatenation of political actors and forces at play in and the unprecedented stakes of this election.

As my old friend Lenin would say back in the day (I’m paraphrasing): At moments like this, a strictly sober, strictly objective accounting of the whole lay of land in all of its complexity is necessary!

Share This