Archive for May, 2016

Our Autumn Campaign

May 8, 2016

Let’s begin planning for our Autumn Campaign.

This is not about Clinton vs. Trump.  If we are not already sick and tired of the 2016 presidential campaign, which has already gone on forever, we will be by September.

Of course Trump must be defeated, and so must as many Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and House as possible.  Those of us who live in a state where the Left’s help is needed to accomplish those objectives should act accordingly in the remaining months before November 2016.

The “Warren Wing” of the Democratic Party, with support from Bernie Sanders and leading members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are trying to help elect more U.S. Senators and Representatives in 2016.  Some of these Democratic contenders are progressive enough and deserve support from the Left.  There will also be local and state electoral races where the Left should be involved [though there will be more of these coming up later in the election cycle in non=presidential election years.

We should not endorse Hillary Clinton. She will play lip service to core Democratic constituencies and even campaign on some of the issues raised by Bernie Sanders, but  she will campaign cautiously to win moderate Republican and Independent voters alienated by Trump’s right-wing racist populist nationalism.  If she wins the election, she will probably have a first presidential term  similar to Barack Obama’s, though arousing fewer hopes and {if left to her druthers] more “hawkish”    in military and foreign policy.

Nor should we endorse Jill Stein.  If we can help the Green Party’s presidential candidate get a respectable protest vote in non-swing states, that’s a good thing.  But socialist organizations that are seeking to shepherd Sanders voters into the Green Party or some other third party alternative should attempt to clarify why this is no longer a dead end strategy.   They have asserted, but failed to establish, that case.

I am not talking about Bernie Sanders, who will certainly not be running as an Independent and will have only marginal personal influence on Clinton’s campaign. Sanders has made a marvelous contribution to the future of democratic socialism and to the American Left, and hopefully will continue to play an important role in building our broad movement.   But we have little control over what he and leaders of his official campaign do after July.   I have no confidence that his potent small donor fundraising campaign mechanism will be made available for wider use by the movement.

No, what I mean by an autumn campaign is what we ourselves do as a movement in the second half of 2016 and moving forward.

The “we” that I am referring to is the biggest tent movement possible, celebrating and building upon the successes of the Sanders campaign, while taking into consideration its strengths and limitations.

A list of the organizations that initiated and endorsed the Peoples Summit in Chicago June 17-19 suggests a good beginning in its diversity, including some though not all of the  political organizations that initially encouraged the Sanders candidacy (PDA, DSA, People for Bernie), rallied to its support after endorsement by membership referenda (WFP), provided major labor support and finance (National Union of Nurses),  militant organizations for climate justice (, Friends of the Earth), single=payer supporters, a major network of community organizations (NPA), and several organizations that supported Sanders in communities of color.

But this is only a beginning that suggests potential for immediate outreach.  Five other national unions supported Sanders, as did numerous local unions through Labor for Bernie.  Other significant internet-based progressive organizations (DFA), numerous locally based organizations of volunteers for Bernie, and above all tens of thousands of campaign volunteers who mobilized for Bernie throughout the country can be reached before disillusionment sets in.