By Sarah Roark |
Someone who follows Refuse Fascism on social media posted the following comment:
Disregarding the importance of the electoral struggle beforehand may be a grave error. This is true for a number of reasons. 1) Though your fears seem justified, it MIGHT just work to get him out. Every small chance needs to be pursued. 2. If it doesn’t work, after the failure one can justifiably say, “We tried our best, but the electoral farce didn’t work. Now we need to use other means.” And people might listen!
Sarah Roak from the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board addressed this important question in an episode of the podcast #OUTNOW Live. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
We can’t afford to wait for the elections. And let me make something clear, as a Democrat who belongs to this non-partisan organization (Refuse Fascism), we really can’t afford to wait for the election. I am not saying don’t vote. I’m going to vote. I support all my friends who are doing electoral volunteering. People have died for the right to vote and we must exercise it while we still have it.
However, take a look at what happened in Georgia today (June 9) ―a hundred and forty thousand more votes for Trump in the Republican Party primary, compared to votes for Biden in the Democratic Party primary. And Trump didn’t even need the votes because he ran unopposed on the Georgia ballot.
In fact, everything that’s been going on with the election in Georgia, with the long lines, machines not working, ballot problems…is a test drive for November. It’s my conviction that the GOP is planning to pull out all the stops in terms of election interference, including cyber/hybrid warfare such as hacking voting machines and voter suppression. This is all on top of the Electoral College that got us, in 2016, where Hillary won by 3 million votes in the popular vote and it still wasn’t enough.
I would like to point out that Nancy Pelosi herself has said that she doesn’t think Trump will concede and leave office unless there is an “overwhelming”―that was her word―victory in November. Well, American presidential elections, even in normal circumstances, are not won by an overwhelming margin; that’s just not a thing that happens anymore. So she must know as much as any of the rest of us that we’re not on track for that. Even with free and fair elections.
And I’m sure she knows that if the Republicans have their way, this election is not going to be free and fair. They’ve been setting up all the mechanisms, and we have not been able to do the investigations, we’ve not been able to do the legislative reforms, because of Trump. So as passionate an advocate as I am of America’s system and as someone who volunteered full-time for Hillary in 2016 trying to keep Trump out of office, I don’t see how we can rely on the elections. As far as I’m concerned, lives are being threatened and ended right now by this brutality, by surveillance, by this regime’s destruction of democratic norms, by the coronavirus, you name it―these are all lives that are hanging in the balance right now. None of that is going to wait for us.
At the end of the show, Sarah addressed the power of people in the streets.
The creativity and the energy people have been bringing to this is inspiring. It reminds me yet again: we need to flip the equation around. For three years we’ve been coming up with the reasons why we can’t do this, why we can’t get Trump out of the White House until November, or at all. That basically, we’re on this ride until he decides we’re getting off of it.
That’s just not true. We need to take all that brainpower we were using to think of all the reasons why we couldn’t or shouldn’t, and start using it to think of the reasons that we must, and the ways that we can, and all the beautiful strategies and methods and artistry that we can employ for that. And really turn this into a joyful―I mean, I think it can be a joyful celebration. It’s not a celebration of Trump, but it is a celebration of our collective power and our collective spirit and a resurgence of American awareness.
Which is something that has come out. If you think about it, this hideous police murder of George Floyd, for nothing more than being a Black man in America, eight minutes and 46 seconds of strangulation, it’s hard to imagine a more torturous death than that, and yet, coming out of it, has been this overwhelming power, this response from Black Lives Matter and allies. It’s bringing the awareness that more is possible than we thought, that our masters are not all-powerful. We haven’t really flexed our muscles, yet, to anywhere near to the extent that we can.
These protests are showing some of the power that’s possible. If, in addition to the general demand that Black Lives Matter, that police brutality must end, if we add to that the URGENT demand Trump Pence must go, we won’t have a regime that blocks progress. Because we all know they are not going to be the ones to fix these issues, reform policing―they’re not going to be the ones to make our elections free and fair again. None of this can happen while fascists are in power. It’s just madness to think these things can be done while they’re still there. All these crucial demands can clear the way for us to live and thrive as human beings, we have to add the first step: to get the Nazis out. And I’m hoping the ties we forge now, among each other, wherever we are coming from in life, if we can come together to get these fascists out of power, I don’t see what we can’t do from there.
So let’s turn around the thinking. Let’s think of what is possible instead of what’s not possible. Let’s reclaim our power, our creativity and our courage.