By Anthony Cody.
The 2016 presidential election has generated equal portions of hope and frustration. The Democrats are likely to offer us Clinton, and with Trump as the chief rival, some feel we have little choice but to support her, even though she does not offer much evidence that she will take on the issues we care about most. But that choice is such a narrow question, and leaves out where we are in this moment in history. There are many choices far more important than this that are available to us, and I hope we can engage in the vital discussion of how to make real change beyond the framework of this year’s election.
Both teacher unions have endorsed Clinton. But many activists supported Sanders, and are looking for ways to keep the energy of his political revolution alive. So I went to some of my friends on Facebook to see what their thoughts are. I think this is an important discussion to have, and I hope readers will join in the comments.
Here are the three questions I posed:
What should we do as activists beyond the vote?
What should we do about the Democratic party?
Who will get your vote in November?
Anthony included me.
By Fred Klonsky
The 2016 Presidential election has been much better than I ever expected.
It has been far worse for the entrenched powers in both parties. This process has been full of surprises. Those in power hate surprises.
A year ago who predicted Bernie and Trump? As a retired public school teacher and Chicago-based social and political activist I looked forward to 2016 with a kind of dread.
Chicago is a city which has confronted the assault on public education and police brutality by regularly filling the streets with protest. It would not be the first time that streets were emptied and sucked into a black hole of narrowly defined electoral politics.
As I said, there were plenty of surprises.
Chicago was among the first to surround the arena where Donald Trump had planned to speak. We sent him packing. Trump cancelled his appearance blaming safety concerns.
Chicago was where Bernie Sanders was wise enough to ally his campaign with those who have battled school closings, privatization and brutal police conduct. He openly criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Even Hillary has been forced to keep her distance from the Mayor.
That never would have happened without action in the streets of Chicago.
Eight years of an Obama Department of Education have demonstrated that the leadership of the Democratic Party is not the ally of those who support public education.
The current administration has been our target, from Arne Duncan to John King. From NCLB to ESSA.
Nothing in Hillary Clinton’s history suggests she will change course without a continued fight-back by education activists. That is why I and others opposed the early no-strings endorsement of Hillary Clinton by our union leadership.
After all, there were and remain many Sanders supporters in the NEA and AFT. It seemed that they had no voice in the Clinton choice.
But now with Trump the presumptive Republican nominee, it does not surprise me that the current National Education Association Representative Assembly greeted and endorsed Hillary Clinton this week with 84% of the delegate vote.
There should be no blaming of union delegates on either side of the endorsement process given an openly anti-immigrant, racist, anti-Semite as the Republican candidate.
Some even see the Trump candidacy as an opportunity to beat Republicans and elect genuine progressives down ticket. Not just beat Trump, but beat him badly.
I will vote to help give the forces rejecting the overt racism of Donald Trump the largest vote total possible.
But with no illusions about what faces us after November.