Resistance Is Not Enough.
We Pledge to Fight for Good Jobs,
Sustainable Prosperity, and Economic Justice.
We will resist Trump. But resistance is not enough.
For too long, leaders of both major political parties have allowed the wealthy and the giant corporations to exercise far too much influence over the political decisions that shape American life. Even the party of Franklin Roosevelt has regularly failed to stand up to big money or fight to redress the economic and social calamities suffered by working Americans of all races, ages and religions, who have seen their lives upended by a series of economic crises, the steady disappearance of good jobs, and rising economic inequality.
In the 2016 election, most of the “rising American electorate” voters (young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women) rejected Donald Trump’s racism and misogyny. But, as in other recent elections, too many people failed to turn out to vote because they heard very little from Democrats about economic change that would make their lives better.
Trump, by contrast, talked bluntly about big economic challenges. He railed against a “corrupt establishment” that had “failed working Americans.” He broke with Republican orthodoxy with promises to invest “big league” in job-creating infrastructure, overturn job-killing trade deals, and bring back jobs sent overseas. Trump criticized the influence of big banks on our government’s economic policies. Unlike his Republican rivals, he promised to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Trump said he would replace Obamacare with better and cheaper health care that would cover everyone. He condemned Washington corruption and pledged to “drain the swamp” of special interest corruption.
Now in office, Trump has already abandoned most of his economic populism to follow the guidance of right-wing and corporate Republicans. Their “health care plan,” defeated by the Resistance, would take health insurance coverage away from millions. They have given massive tax breaks to the rich and giant corporations. Trump’s first budget proposal would cut spending in virtually about every civilian area — including public infrastructure, health care and other programs important to working Americans – including people who voted for Trump. And the pledge to “drain the swamp,” has been forgotten in a new administration run by billionaires from Goldman Sachs and lobbyists for a myriad of corporate special interests. Trump’s rapid abandonment of the economic promises he made during the campaign gives progressives an opportunity to reach out to many of his supporters, who are coming to realize Trump is not on their side.
Let there be no doubt: the “rising American electorate” is key to growing a winning progressive majority. And a new progressive movement must be committed to civil rights, increasing the power and rights of women, and fighting for racial and social justice. The activist progressive base, now fighting Trump and the right, are mostly working people who are desperate for fundamental economic change that will produce good jobs and good wages, sustainable prosperity, and economic justice for all.
We believe that a bold economic agenda that unites and inspires the progressive Democratic base can also bring out non-voters – and win the support of some of the people who voted for Trump but who are increasingly disappointed by his embrace of the corporate establishment. But, as we saw in 2016, it’s not enough to tell them Trump is bad. They want to know what Democrats will do for working people.
The elites of both parties have failed us. We need a political movement that fights to take back our government from those who have corrupted and subverted it. Martin Luther King Jr found that “the inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice.” That’s why the great unfinished work of his life — and of the civil rights movement — was the fight against poverty and for the economic empowerment of working people through labor rights and jobs for all. It will not be easy to create shared prosperity. We need to fight to make government an instrument of the common good, not the special interests. That requires a powerful, unified movement for economic justice that will take back our democracy.