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Civic Direct
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Robert Jay
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Following Sanders' announcement of campaign suspension, it took less than a day before Biden's camp set on Bernie Sanders supporters across the social media landscape. All manner of slander was hurled at people championing universal healthcare during the pandemic, claims that people refusing to vote for a credibly accused rapist "did not care about marginalized people", "just want to throw a tantrum because their guy lost" or "just want Trump to win". Throughout all the mudslinging, no one was convinced of anything, because that's not a thing Facebook arguments can do. If a person is voting for Biden and wondering why so many Bernie supporters, who they know reject Trump and all he stands for, won't follow along, perhaps this article presented in a calmer setting can provide some insight.

Establishment Democrats Deliberately Fail Every Marginalized Group They Claim to Champion

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=46&dpx=1&t=1586530832Customs and Border Patrol facility in Tucson, Arizona, 2015. Photo credit: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/19/490624225/surveillance-stills-from-border-patrol-facilities-show-crowded-trash-filled-cell

The Obama/Biden administration was responsible for over 3 million deportations during their eight years in power. They committed all the same acts of family separation, caging children, and creating torturous conditions for their captives. It's the major reason Movimiento Cosecha stole the show at the Democratic Debates in Michigan on July 31st, to hold him accountable for that atrocity. Given that Biden has expressed zero interest in abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, the entity responsible for these acts of genocide, and was the architect of these conditions in the first place, there isn't anything to be gained for immigrant rights by voting for him. Is "we'll lock your child in a more polite cooler" really a selling point? The immigrant community comprises the majority of our workers farming food right now, they're right up there with healthcare and service workers as the people responsible for keeping everyone alive during the Covid-19 lockdown. If Biden's team can't offer a better deal than adhering to the Flores Amendment but still perpetuating every other act of violence, that's on the Biden campaign.

Detroit proper reveals an even bleaker reality of life with establishment Democrats in power, where over 10,000 people started this pandemic without running water in their homes. Hydrate Detroit and We the People of Detroit have been demanding for several years this practice end, and only after a global pandemic does the City and State reverse course...legislatively. There's still thousands in Detroit (and more across Michigan, like in Flint and Benton Harbor) who haven't had their service restored, weeks after the order came through from both City and State government. It was establishment Democrat Mayor Mike Duggan that began the practice of shutting off water, and establishment Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer that allowed one third of her term to pass by to counteract this villainy, only doing so when the nation's glaring spotlight was on Michigan. Weeks after the order, they've still failed to fully execute it. What is a person who can't wash their hands at home during a pandemic getting out of a Biden presidency, when its Biden's party that did this to them? What did Biden do for Flint while he was in power?

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=47&dpx=1&t=1586532726A homeless camp in Detroit that was raided under Mayor Mike Duggan (D). Photo credit: https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2019/02/07/police-wipe-out-homeless-camps-in-detroit-seize-belongings

Food Not Class is an organization that gives out 50-100 complete, fresh meals every Wednesday at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in addition to a free store with clothing, hygiene supplies and books/toys for the kids. They put in a lot of extra time to collect and distribute clothing, sleeping bags and other amenities following a raid by the Detroit Police Department that featured officers stealing most of the belongings of the houseless community. It wasn't an establishment Democrat that replaced those belongings, it was grassroots organizers and volunteers. The establishment Democrat was the one who authorized the pillaging in the first place, arguably that authorization was made possible by Biden's magnum opus: the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. How threatening is Trump to someone in that position, when the supposed alternative is the same group that took all of their stuff, literally the only stuff they had to their name?

Every single one of the listed grassroots organizations putting in the most work to help those with the least was firmly against Biden being the nominee. Why does their voice count less than someone living in a swanky high-rise with a blue check next to their Twitter account? If someone is claiming they're voting Biden to help marginalized people, then why are these grassroots relief and advocacy organizations being told sit in the back, when they're closest to the people that need the most help?

The United States Does Not Hold Free and Fair Elections

During the second term of the Obama/Biden administration, a wave of white supremacist populism took back the House and Senate for the GOP after four years of broken campaign promises and bailout packages that helped more corporations than they did actual people. In 2013 the Voting Rights Act was gutted, and millions of marginalized people were disenfranchised by the electoral system, the same groups of people the Biden campaign is claiming they'll help. During this global pandemic, the state of Wisconsin forced its citizens to vote, despite the fact that in large urban centers such as Milwaukee, the usual 180 polling places were reduced to five, a byproduct of that 2013 case. Biden and the DNC have had five years to rectify this problem and introduce new ways to enfranchise marginalized voters, and either chose not to or are simply not capable of doing so. They've certainly had the energy for a Mueller investigation that went nowhere, an impeachment trial that provided no improvement and no shortage of media airtime attacking universal healthcare advocates. What evidence is there to suggest basic democratic principles would be restored with a Biden presidency, when his executive position oversaw those principles' greatest erosion and did nothing to fix it?

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=49&dpx=1&t=1586538591A map showing a high rate of polling place closures corresponding with large urban centers that feature high populations of marginalized people.

A common talking point for Biden supporters in Michigan is that "the people voted and they chose Biden". That map shows the highest rate of polling closures in majority black communities such as Flint and Detroit. This Free Press article highlights the extreme difficulties disabled voters experienced at the Michigan Primary. This story from Dessa Cosma shows the immediate ways disabled people get removed from the Democratic process:

"Cosma voted at East English Village Academy in Detroit. She had a similar problem with poll workers’ training on the voting terminal for those with disabilities, she said. The poll worker did not have the correct code to get the machine working, Cosma said. She waited about 45 minutes. 'The code was actually changed between when she got the training and today,' Cosma said. 'We’re not being treated as equal citizens.'"

This also leaves out the time it takes for many people with disabilities to just be able to get to a polling place at all. Is it not the responsibility of able-bodied people in counties with minimal to no polling center reduction to vote for the only candidate left who ensures everyone receives healthcare? Its an egregious insult to say that everyone who had a stake in this election had a chance to vote, it is salt in the wound to then turn around and vote for the former Vice President who oversaw this hatchet job on the central institution of democracy, that neither he nor the party backing him did anything useful to stop or rectify. 

Biden Supporters Are Behaving Exactly the Same Way as Trump Supportersimage_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=50&dpx=1&t=1586540410Tara Reade speaking out on Biden sexually assaulting her, and being silenced by the Biden campaign and Alyssa Milano among others.

Here is Tara Reade's story in her own words. It details an explicit act of sexual assault that lines up with a provable connection to Biden (working as staffer of his at the time), describes mannerisms that are consistent with his treatment of women both below and above the age of consent, and features an initial instance of her reporting the act and being fired for it. To dismiss this claim, as Milano does, because a billionaire owned news service wouldn't publish something against the guy who told billionaires "nothing will fundamentally change", is definitively victim blaming. There's even reports of Biden surrogates like Jill Filipovic deleting all of the tweets they made about Kavanaugh, to remain ideologically consistent in a way that hurts sexual assault survivors the most. Of course, that doesn't stop the Biden camp from saying that Trump will be the fault of sexual assault survivors if they don't vote for the Blue Rapist. 

Wasn't that Team Trump's whole thing during the revelation of Epstein's pedophilic human trafficking ring? To blame Democrats for associating with that monster while ignoring Trump committing child rape himself? Now people who were voting for Bernie are supposed to share space with people doing exactly the same thing.

One of the few true claims Biden supporters make is that he was actually quicker than Obama to promote gay marriage. Here is a sampling of Biden's base (financially secure suburbanites) speaking to a lesbian activist the day Bernie announces his campaign suspension, and her being understandably distraught at a Rapist vs. Rapist general election.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=51&dpx=1&t=1586542958A MAGA hashtag fits right in here.

Aren't lesbians one of the marginalized groups Biden was supposed to present an improvement for versus Trump? This is from the camp that silenced all policy criticism by labeling someone "toxic Bernie Bro", and here they are speaking this way to someone who has stopped multiple deportations from happening since 2018. 

Establishment Democrats Forgot This Was A Negotiation

There's a reason why grassroots organizers were highlighted throughout this article: they are the front line working to ease the suffering of the people most hurt by the daily operations of the United States of America. Given that Biden is singularly responsible for a direct doubling of the US incarcerated population (most of whom are not allowed to vote), deporting 3 million people and greatly expanding the DHS concentration camp apparatus and the explosion of student debt, most of the vitriol and threats levied at Bernie supporters simply don't hold water. One can't tell a person hauling eight pallets of water jugs with We the People of Detroit they don't care about marginalized people by not voting for Biden. That person spent hours sweating to make sure thousands of Detroiters with no running water in their homes (during a global pandemic) had something to drink and wash with.

The people that do this work already know a capitalist government will be of no help whether the Blue Rapist or the Red Rapist is in charge. If their votes are so desperately needed for the general, why did the DNC coalesce around the man who told Sylvia Morreno, an immigrant woman who lived in fear of ICE, to "go vote for Trump" after she politely asked via translator Carlos Rojas to stop deportations when he assumed office? The corrupt and violent world the DNC is so desperately trying to save is collapsing organically under the consequences of climate change, disease and a viscerally exploitative labor culture. This was never a bid for the country's most marginalized and those who support them to get a seat at the old electoral table. This was a bid for old establishment to be included in the new world the youth will be creating. 

By offering to lower the Medicare age to 60 as a concession, when most of Bernie's supporters are fighting to even reach age 60, the Democrat establishment has chosen to crumble into irrelevance, because they prioritized the sense comfort and sameness for the wealthy over the lives of the poor. 

Stephen Rockwell
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It is Election Day!  Since the day Trump was swept into office with Republicans in control of all three branches of government, the majority of the country that voted for Trump's opponent has wanted to have their say.  Thousands of protests of Trump and GOP policies have occurred including record-breaking protests like the Women's March and the March for Our Lives.  Mass movements like the Poor People's Campaign and have launched.  New tools and organizations like Swing Left, resistbot, and Indivisible have sprung up around the country.  Hundred of smaller organizations and efforts have sprouted up in every town in the country.   There is so much positive activity from folks seeking justice and to save our democracy from descent into fascism.  All of this will continue, but today is a singularly important day: Election Day.

In the last few weeks, a number of social justice activists noted that voting is only part of the change is necessary.  They are correct as can be seen by so much organizing and activism happening.  Others have taken this point to an extreme claiming that voting is ineffectual.  They are wrong.  In a democratic republic, the primary influence that any citizen has on the political process is their vote. Political parties organizing principle is gaining the most votes for their party in order to win because winning means power, power to affect changes in policy and in the composition of the courts.

Is There Any Difference Between Parties?

Let's state a truth about the Democratic Party.  Democrats have long taken the votes of African Americans and others for granted and there has too often been too little return to black communities and others for the investment.  This morning, I voted for moderate Democrats on my Philadelphia ballot with Tom Wolf and Bob Casey at the top of the ticket.  Am I assured that they will enact the type of progressive change I'm seeking?  Not really.  But I know that both is heads and shoulders better in terms of policy and temperament than their opponents.  Scott Wagner, Republican candidate for Governor, mansplained climate change to a young activist claiming that we don't really know what is happening and blaming human body heat for at least part of the issue.  I just can't...

In my city of Philadelphia, there are certain parts of the city that have not gotten any better despite decades of Democratic rule.  This is unacceptable, and its changing.    Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney has instituted universal pre-k with money from the soda tax and Democratic DA Larry Krasner has taken affirmative steps to end mass incarceration and hold police accountable.  Real stuff is happening here.  Real differences are being made.  And activists are organizing to hold elected officials accountable and to lay the groundwork for more progressive candidates.  

There is stark difference nationally in public policy delivered by the parties.  Obamacare dropped the number of uninsured African Americans by a third.  I still think we need universal healthcare, but nonetheless that’s a real difference that Republicans have insisted on eliminating and Democrats have fought like hell for.  There are lots of other examples including GOP attempts to dismantle any sense of the social safety net including universal programs like social security and Medicare.  One side wants to spend more money on war.  The other one wants free college, universal health care, and expanded voting rights and protections.  The differences are stark and real, especially with younger Dems coming up in this election in House races all over the country.  

Why are we even asking "Do Elections Matter?" in the Age of Trump?

Blatant voter suppression against African American voters is happening in places like Georgia and Native Americans in North Dakota.  In Georgia, there is an African American woman gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Adams, who is clear about addressing issues of mass incarceration and a progressive agenda in general.  Is the advice to Georgians don’t even try to vote?  John Lewis is on the stump this week talking about how he bled and went to jail for folk to be able to vote.  Such admonishments seem out of tune with his plea to the community.

They also seem completely out of touch with what we've witnessed under Trump.  Almost every week, there has been a need for mass protest to confront some evil from the Trump administration and his Congressional enablers.  I don't want to see more tax cuts to rich people, immigrant families being separated from their parents, immigrant in the migrant caravan threatened with being gunned down, racist and anti-semitic attacks that go virtually unanswered by the nations's leadership.  I want to protect Obamacare, voting rights, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other social safety net measures that make our country a more perfect union.  I want to push for a higher minimum wage, free college tuition, student loan forgiveness, rich people paying their fair share, and many other policies that progressive Democrats are running on.  

In this election in particular, we have a party that is using pre-civil rights era blatant racism and voter suppression in attempt to hold on to power.  Changing party control of one or both houses is vital to stem the tide of the licensure that Trump has given to his base of largely older white voters to act upon their racism.  The midterm elections is one of the few ways we have to start pushing back with a Congress that can investigate corruption and voter suppression and enact changes in law.  

Voting and Organizing Go Hand in Hand to Bring About Change

The Democratic Party should be held accountable but not voting is not the way to do so.   Also, voting is no substitute for organizing and movement building.  Voting and organizing go hand in hand to hold elected officials accountable.  Voting is only one part of dismantling systems of oppression, but it is a vital part.  I encourage all to take that responsibility seriously today, to hold it sacred because of the blood spilled and courageous activism that it took to gain and maintain the franchise.   Vote, and then let's get right back to the organizing and movement building in order to bring about a more just country and world. 

Civic Direct
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and all women speakingfor your . You should need to your painful stories for us to pay attention. We must do better. Thanks @fortyisthenew40 for starting this a decade ago. #endrapeculture

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