Let’s beat Trump first
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate a at the entrance of the Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 12, 2016. | J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the event a Democrat ends up winning the 2020 presidential elections, an acquaintance expressed an over-zealous preoccupation with the need for progressives to come up with and press for more advanced programmatic solutions once the elections are over. In my view, he is putting the cart before the horse.

If Trump gets re-elected, we could possibly be looking down the political barrel of an authoritarian regime. All the more so if we lose the House Democratic majority and Republicans retain their Senate majority.

So, the principal preoccupation needs to be to aim and work for building the most massive voter turnout to elect Democrats up and down the ticket. The emphasis needs to be on advocating and organizing for the most effective paths to broad people’s unity to defeat Trump, his administration, Republican candidates, and the far-right networks and their corporate backers.

My acquaintance’s excessive preoccupation is misplaced also because of the Democratic presidential contenders, especially during the debates, putting squarely in the public venue a series of more advanced positions, some more so than others, such as the public option in the health care system, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal. Furthermore, in regards to the last two positions, there are now active discussions with labor, people of color, and others to try to accommodate their concerns in an effort to be more inclusive and come up with more well-rounded proposals.

These positions and others are bound to be part of the discourse in the post-election period, provided the Democrats defeat Trump and the Republicans, and could well lead to actual legislation. At the same time, restoring civil liberties and civil and labor rights, along with economic and political gains eroded by Trump and the Republicans, will be the immediate subject of legislative and presidential action.

Things are looking better now with Trump and his administration on the ropes in the impeachment hearings and with the wind at our backs after the huge victory in the midterm elections of 2018. But this is no time to rest on our laurels.

The struggle through the 2020 elections will be possibly the most contentious ever. It will also be the most important in history because the stakes are so high for our people and humanity.


Juan Lopez
Juan Lopez

Juan Lopez is chairman of the Communist Party in northern California and statewide coordinator. He has been a labor and community activist during the nearly forty years he's lived in Oakland, where he and his wife raised three children. He was formerly a member of the Teamsters union and a shop steward.