Posted on November 8, 2018
After the midterms, Democrats must use their mandate to resist Trump
This week, voters handed Democrats an unambiguous mandate to resist Trump.
In a clear repudiation of Trump, Democrats won 9.2 percent more votes nationwide, picked up at least 26 House seats – with 15 that are yet to be called as of Wednesday morning – and took control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010.
The incoming Democratic caucus is diverse and solidly progressive. Many newly elected members broke down barriers in their elections: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer are the youngest women, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the first Muslim women, and Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids are the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
Voters are not sending Democrats to Congress to compromise with Trump’s hate or help Republicans rig the country for the powerful. But we cannot count on Democratic leadership in Washington to resist Trump and offer a progressive alternative unless we demand it.
Last week, Democratic leaders were silent as several of their senators flirted with ending birthright citizenship – an idea straight out of the white nationalist fringes. This week, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke about bipartisanship, not resistance. We need to make sure Democrats know that voters expect them to stand up to Trump and fight for progressive values.
Democrats in Washington have not proven that they will lead according to this mandate. In addition to her call for bipartisanship, Leader Pelosi recently endorsed sabotaging the Democratic agenda by matching tax increases with spending – a policy known as pay-go – even though Republicans never do the same when it comes to handouts for corporations and the wealthy. And though there is major momentum to investigate and impeach Brett Kavanaugh, she recently said that impeachment is off the table. Chuck Schumer not only let Joe Manchin vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, but kept Manchin in his leadership team. Voters started the process of healing the rot in the Democratic party and our nation as a whole, but we still have a long way to go.
There are unfortunately still too many Democrats ready to go along with the argument that Democrats need to compromise with Trump and embrace Wall Street or white nationalist agendas in order to win elections, including the presidency in 2020. They are wrong, politically and morally, and we cannot let them determine the Party’s direction. Democrats must use their mandate to:
- Protect immigrants, people of color, women, Muslims and the LGBTQ community from Trump’s attacks
- Investigate Trump’s corruption and scandals and protect the Mueller investigation
- Resist Trump-Republican attempts to steal elections, rig the economy for the powerful, cut Medicare and Social Security, turn their backs on climate change, and lead us to war
- Fight for a bold progressive vision for the country
This week’s results show that Democrats win when they run as progressives. Progressive candidates took seats that Trump won two years ago and flipped long-held Republican seats. Where we lost, Republican voter suppression absolutely played a role. We must make major changes to ensure our democracy works, and that starts with Democrats standing up for progressive values and demanding that our government work for everyone – not just the white, wealthy elite. But without pressure, established Democratic leaders are far too likely to squander this momentum.
Before a cowardly, Trump-friendly and compromising narrative sets in among Democrats, we need to make it unequivocally clear that we demand resistance and a bold vision, starting today.