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Our Emphasis Is On Getting Out the Vote

September 7, 2020

Call to action / authored by Nicolas Lampert and Dan S. Wang

We are facing the most important election of our lives, one that will have consequences for generations to come, not just for the United States but for the entire planet. We have September, October, and the first three days of November to influence the outcome of the November 3, 2020 presidential election.

The last four years of Trump have been a disaster; the last six months, an utter catastrophe. We know what will happen in his second term if we fail to vote him out: Major cutbacks to every single government program worth keeping including Social Security. Safe and legal abortion will be imperiled. There will be increased hardships for immigrants and asylum seekers, more families torn apart; the further desecration of remaining wild lands, the continued gutting of environmental protections, the privatization of the National Park system; one or more regressive nominees for the Supreme Court and a guaranteed erosion of our already precarious democratic system; the Trump administration will take the US out of the Paris Climate Accord on November 4th, 2020; and, certainly not least, a clear signal sent to violent white supremacists that vigilante lethal force will not only be tolerated but encouraged.

Whether we like it or not, the Biden/Harris ticket is the electoral option for an orderly removal of the most venal, racist, and incompetent administration in at least a century.

If we don’t put our full effort into the race between now and November 3, we may well wake up to the chaos of a contested election. In practical terms the only way for the Biden/Harris ticket to win outright is through a massive get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort focused on the swing states. 

We know the Electoral College is a relic of a racist system that favors conservative states with smaller populations. It must be overcome. Same with voter suppression and the myth of voter fraud – these are Republican-engineered hurdles designed to tip close elections in their favor. Conceivably, Biden/Harris could win the popular vote by over 5 million votes and still lose the election. It is going to come down to fewer than ten swing states: Most notably Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, but also Nevada, Minnesota, and Iowa.Voters in New York, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts will not figure as importantly but can help with efforts elsewhere.

The margins will likely be razor thin, particularly in the racially segregated and politically polarized Upper Midwest. Red counties will vote heavily for Trump, his base being mobilized by the president’s nonstop racism and resentment. The key to winning these states is turning out voters in the cities, the college towns, the river towns, all the blue pockets, and that means reaching new voters, young voters, and multiracial voters. Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in Wisconsin was by less than 23,000; in Michigan, by 10,704.

Also, the Senate races are as important as the presidential race. A Democratic controlled US Senate will be an essential line of defense should Trump win or steal the election. GOTV is critical for the closely contested senate seats in Maine, Iowa, NC, SC, Colorado, Montana, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, and Alaska.

What We Can Do:

The crucial need is a huge and sustained effort to GOTV in September and October, particularly in the swing states. People living anywhere can help.

Here are concrete things what we can do:

  • Join with local and national groups and their GOTV campaigns in a capacity that works for you. This could range from volunteering for text-banking or phone-banking, to registering voters at street level, to making and posting signs or stickers encouraging people to vote.
  • Volunteer as poll workers, of which in many places there is a current shortage.
  • Contact state ACLU chapters to help monitor polling places for fraud and suppression.
  • Amplify GOTV messaging through our social media channels.
  • Create art and graphics that support the GOTV effort.
  • Ratchet up our attacks on Trump using available channels—social media, public comment threads, real life signage, etc. Any number of issues are ripe for criticism: COVID abdication, the wrecking of the USPS, the Russian bounties on US troops, etc.
  • Put on hold our public criticisms of Biden/Harris for the duration of the race.

A note on the final point above. Despite our serious criticisms of the Democratic Party, we believe it is dangerous to seed more doubt about the Biden/Harris campaign at this moment. The wedges between the socialist and radical left and the Democratic Party establishment are very real and we are well aware of the limitations of the candidates and their party. Tactically speaking, however, discrediting the Biden/Harris campaign in the stretch run may contribute negatively to the energy and enthusiasm required of a maximum get-out-the-vote effort in states where every single vote matters. 

For the next eight weeks—and really, until the man is led out of the White House for good—we are focused on the ridding of Donald Trump from government life. The moderate left, progressives, and radicals all have a serious stake in this desired outcome. Given the rise in targeted violence, perhaps radicals even more than the moderates.

Our message is simple and urgent: Get Out The Vote!

Sincerely and in solidarity,

Nicolas Lampert, Milwaukee, WI, artist and writer, Justseeds Artist’s Cooperative

Dan S. Wang, Los Angeles, CA, artist and writer, Resident Artist, 18th Street Arts Complex

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