Three progressives discuss surviving and thriving in the world of Trump

A conversation with Kitty Snyder and John Laurits, on how progressives can survive and thrive in a Trump administration. In particular, how can we express ourselves through protests and actions, without alienating or being blatantly disrespectful to Trump supporters? Can we join forces in any way?

(Apologies for the last few seconds getting cut off.)

Kitty was a super-volunteer for Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia, who I met at a debate watch party for the second debate in the Democratic primaries (a few days after “datagate“). Kitty was, for me, the visual symbol of the campaign and the Democratic National Convention, where we both were delegates for Bernie Sanders. Kitty is also an editor for the Thompson Timeline, which is an academic study and documentation of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. She is also an administrator for their excellent Facebook group, and is the author of the article that partially inspired this conversation.

John is the “math blogger” and journalist that kept hope alive for Bernie supporters for a few months in the second half the campaign. John was at the DNC as a protester across the street in FDR Park, and we had a three-part interview where we thoroughly discussed our experiences. John is also an organizer of Occupy inauguration, which is been endorsed by many progressive organizations including Jill Stein, and is the first major demonstration to be conducted directly among Trump supporters. You can support John on his Patreon website.

We discuss the following and more:

– How the Democratic Party lost this election for themselves, but is desperately trying to blame anyone and everything, such as sexism, racism, Jill Stein voters, James Comey, and calling Bernie Sanders this election’s Ralph Nader spoiler. And how the media is also significantly responsible, and continues to discourage conversation and solidarity.

– Do we need to change our priorities, now that there is so much more to be protested? Do we give Trump supporters any input in prioritizing this list? For example, stopping the Dakota access pipeline is currently one of our most important causes, but once Trump takes office, he has openly stated that he will allow fossil fuel companies to do whatever they like. Do we continue the fight, despite knowing that this one will likely be lost? Do we document for years of suffering at the hands of this loss (not to mention the ongoing brutality against water protectors)?

– There is clearly overlap between progressives and Trump supporters, in that “the system is broken.” Can we get creative in working together? For example, Kitty brings up the intriguing idea of ending the war on drugs, which in turn would ease the problem of immigration, since transporting drugs illegally between Mexico and the United States would be dramatically reduced.

The most important thing progressives can do is reach out to Trump supporters with an open mind. If we start from the point of view that it is our job to educate Trump supporters on how they are misguided, then there is no hope for us. Some (and we believe few) of Trump’s supporters are blatant racists. Some of his supporters may very well do things that directly hurt those we care about. And none of this diminishes the fact that they deserve our respect. Kitty: “If you want this country to be less racist than you need to spend some time figuring out why people become racist.” We may view the world in different ways, but we all have the same core needs: providing for our families, staying safe, giving a good education to our kids, taking care of our loved ones when they are sick.

We must get off of our computers, stop watching television, get out of the house, and start talking to people that disagree with us. Get involved with their groups. Invite them to become involved in ours. Let’s help each other survive. Even if we do this kind of outreach perfectly, the next four years will still likely be extremely difficult for all sides.

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Clinton Campaign spying on Bernie Delegates is another piece of evidence proving the truth matters

My passion for Bernie Sanders comes from knowing–feeling–that what he tells us is the truth, that he genuinely cares about us and our fellow Americans. My dispassion for Hillary Clinton comes from knowing that she always tells the truth, just never to us. The bottom 90% only get to hear her “public position.” I know–I can feel–that she cares about money and her donors, and has no awareness of our existence, let alone caring about it.

Throughout the entire campaign, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, with the full-throated backing of mainstream media, threatened us with Donald Trump. We were shamed, scolded, sabotaged, minimized, humiliated, and gaslighted. Both us and our candidate. Both privately and publicly. Every step of the way, we were told our passion and our truth–the truth–is not as important as “unifying” around a terrible candidate, in order to stop an even more terrible candidate, who cares about us even less.

Many of us personally experienced this, and this spying spreadsheet is just another piece of evidence. On top of our livestreams, the WikiLeaks emails, the fact that Edison research won’t release their raw exit polling data, and especially Hillary Clinton’s humiliating yet unsurprising loss to Donald Trump (only those who refused to take the time to see what is actually happening in this country, think it was “an historic upset”).

It’s one more piece of evidence proving that we were right. The truth matters. We matter.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party gambled with the entire planet and lost. We are the ones left to pay the price, and in their desperate attempt to hold onto their remaining power, we are once again being blamed for their failings.

(P.S. I felt disgusted while doing it, but I did vote for Hillary Clinton. So many of my friends refused to, and I understand it, because they had nothing to vote for.)

With thanks to Spats McGee.

President Elect Trump and his tens of millions of supporters have always deserved our respect.

(This post is in response to the article BERNIE FAM: We need to reach out with love to Trumpers, by Spats McGee.)

President Elect Donald Trump and all of his supporters deserve respect, and they have deserved it from the very beginning. Why? Because they are human beings with concerns as real as yours and mine. Like many of us, they are angry at a broken government that has completely lost touch with those that need it most.

While it may be true that some of his supporters incorrectly blame the weakest among us (rather than the greed and corruption of the most powerful), painting this brush on all of his tens of millions of supporters is a dangerous stretch. The anger of some of them may be expressed in ways that we cannot understand, and perhaps in ways that directly offend or hurt those we love. But as in all protest movements, those who protest the way they protest, are choosing to ignore the history of their suffering and motivations.

They deserve us to take the time to learn what really bothers them. To discover what we agree on, who and what to fight, and how to go about it. As stated in the article, there is so much commonality in our anger and our hurt, we have an unprecedented chance (and four years in which) to embrace it.

The alternative is to protest Trump as a person, as a concept, and directly pit ourselves against those who support him as a person and as a concept. This will only enable further division, and increase the chance of four years of escalating violence.

Yes, we should protest. But since the country has already chosen Trump, protesting him as a concept, in my opinion, no longer makes sense. He is. No, this reality is not “fair.” It was imposed upon us by the Democratic Party, who choose their donors above all else, took a gamble with the entire planet, and lost.

Instead of protesting Trump as a concept, what we need to protest and fight are the decisions he actually makes, that will indeed directly harm the planet and those we love. As for me, I will be documenting the suffering caused by the swift repeal of Obamacare and many of our environmental, and economic regulations. All of these things are what Trump has promised to do in his first hundred days–two-and-a-half months from now. This documentation, these stories, are the evidence that will be used in two and four years, to show how urgent the continuation of the political revolution is.

I am concerned that any major demonstrations or actions are taken before our forces are strongly joined are setting us up for failure–they will be perceived by Trump supporters as anti-Trump demonstrations, and there will inevitably be conflict. The political elites would like nothing more than dividing the people up like this, so they can get away with anything they like while we are fighting each other for the next four years. Instead of taking our anger out on Trump supporters–and them taking their anger out on us–we must all stand together, and focus that anger back at the system that so desperately needs to change.

The Democratic Party just gambled with the entire planet, and lost.

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The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton lost because the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton care more about their donors than they do about the bottom 90% of the American people. People are so sick of being treated this way, they would rather vote for a Big Fuck You candidate over their clearly more “competent” and “experienced” one.

And the media calling this “the biggest upset in history” shows that they are just as corrupt and uncaring as their chosen candidate. It’s only an upset compared to their she-is-inevitable narrative. If they acknowledged and reported on the anger and problems of the American people, if they reported on the enormous flaws of their pre-chosen candidate (not to mention how they all colluded to ignore and sabotage the one candidate that millions of those disaffected voters actually wanted…someone who had none of those flaws), it would have been obvious at just how close this race has always been. And don’t forget how the media legitimized and normalized Trump by giving him BILLIONS of dollars of free air time.

If people want to survive the next four years, we better start respecting Trump and his supporters, and the anger and hopelessness that they, and all of us, feel. We should have started respecting them long ago.

Fred LaVergne is the only choice for progressives and environmental voters for U.S. Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd District

We are Our Revolution: South Jersey, a local branch of the national group that Bernie Sanders formed near the end of his presidential campaign. Our mission is to nurture and support progressive candidates that work for the benefit of Southern New Jersey. Our views are, not surprisingly, strongly aligned with Bernie Sanders’. Some of us claim that “we became born politically” when we discovered Bernie Sanders last year. Before that, casting a vote was the extent of our political activity. But we grew up fast, got heavily involved in the campaign, and are committed to the political revolution that he began.

During the Primary Election, many members of our group had the opportunity to meet Fred Lavergne, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative of New Jersey’s 3rd District. LaVergne “had the Democratic line” in Burlington County. This meant that his endorsement by Burlington County’s Democratic Party listed him on the ballot right under their candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.

LaVergne’s success in the Primary Race revealed some interesting factors. For example, he did not accept campaign money from PACs and did virtually no fundraising, raising a total of $600 during the primaries. Yet despite the $55,000 raised by his main opponent, he won the nomination with an impressive 63% of the vote. He now faces Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur in The November general election.

The most important issues to Fred LaVergne are jobs, infrastructure, Social Security, National Health Care for All, veterans, and the environment. He calls himself a “centrist ‘Bradley‘ Democrat” and believes in free market and nuclear energy. Although he supports a living wage and free college tuition, he believes that they “must not be done in a vacuum.”

Is he as progressive as the members of Our Revolution? No. But in many areas, his views are as progressive as ours. For example, he is against prisons for profit, speaks passionately against the push for the natural gas pipelines in his district, and recognizes climate change as the crisis it is. He wants the TPP to be killed, not renegotiated, and is a staunch supporter of unions, LGBT rights, and hand counted paper ballots. And like Bernie Sanders, he advocates for the elimination of the Social Security cap.

His opponent, Representative MacArthur is a multi-millionaire who almost always votes for the benefit of the wealthy and big business, in support of domestic surveillance, and in deficit to the environment.

During the Primary Election, LaVergne became a regular visitor and frequent presence at our Bernie Sanders Campaign Office, Burlington County Headquarters in Pemberton, New Jersey, and is an active member of our group, Our Revolution: South Jersey. We know him to be a man of his word. He has a wide range of knowledge on the issues and always supports his claims with evidence. He has strong opinions but never hesitates to sit back and really listen.

Although endorsed by the Establishment Democratic Party in the primary election, that support has been lacking in the general. However, for many Bernie Sanders supporters, this could be interpreted as a positive thing. And the fact that Fred Lavergne spends almost no time fundraising shows that he’s just too busy working for the people.

For the progressive and the environmentally conscious voter in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, the choice is clear. No matter who you choose for president, on November 8th, vote Fred LaVergne for Congress.

(Consider donating and volunteering.)