Progressive Leaders Urge Mass Mobilization over 'Five-Alarm Fire' Trump

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Progressive Leaders Urge Mass Mobilization over 'Five-Alarm Fire' Trump

Open letter demands massive nonviolent mobilization including protests and voter turnout efforts

Donald Trump's candidacy, the letter reads, "is a threat to the America we love." (Photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr/cc)

From non-violent organizing to large-scale marches and rallies to massive get-out-the-vote efforts, left-leaning Americans must do all they can to keep Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump out of office.

So says a new open letter, released Tuesday and signed by leaders of 22 top progressive and liberal advocacy groups including Greenpeace, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Jobs with Justice, and the National People's Action Campaign.

Though some of the signatories have openly backed Bernie Sanders while others support his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, all are united in their opposition to Trump.

The New York businessman, who could lock up the GOP nomination on Tuesday depending on the outcome of primaries in five states, represents "a five-alarm fire for our democracy," the letter states.

Trump's candidacy, it continues, "is a threat to the America we love, and we must respond to him and what he is stoking as such — with a nonviolent movement grounded in love and community that ensures that he never comes anywhere near the White House, and perhaps even more importantly, makes clear to every other politician and every person in the United States that racist demagoguery is a dead-end political strategy that most Americans reject."

The letter's signatories include Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman of MoveOn.org, Rea Carey of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Ai-jen Poo of the Domestic Worker Legacy Fund, and May Boeve of 350.org. According to a press statement, the officials "plan a massive nonviolent mobilization including protests, voter turnout efforts, and greater accountability for leaders who refuse to condemn Trump."

Specifically, the letter calls for:

  • Non-violent mobilization and organizing. What could this look like in your community? 500 families rallying against hate at the high school football stadium, or 50,000 marching in the streets of your city for love and against hate. Door to door conversations about the values that make our democracy thrive. Teach-ins on the importance of confronting hate. Letters to the editor. Vigorous social media presence. Prayer vigils. Yes, yes, and yes.
  • Asking every media outlet, corporation, and office-holder—from the school board on up to Congress—"Will you condemn Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia?" No one’s off the hook. Decades of dog-whistle politics from political, corporate, and media elites rigging institutions and the economy in their favor at most people’s expense have fertilized the ground that Trump is now tilling for his own gain.
  • A voting renaissance. We know that a majority of Americans reject hate-baiting and racism—if we vote, we stop Trump, and we show that our country is better than this. We can do that while building an even more powerful progressive majority. We need to build a massive volunteer effort to door-knock, phone bank and have real conversations with voters of color, new U.S. citizens, women, Muslim-Americans, working class voters and white voters. It's that simple.

Politico, which first reported on the letter, described it as a "progressive call to arms against Donald Trump."

Recent polls have shown that while both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in a general election, Sanders would do so by a more comfortable margin.

Of course, as journalists David Smith and Ben Jacobs wrote at the Guardian over the weekend, there's more at stake in this election than a potential Trump presidency. "Many Democrats fear the prospect of...Trump in the Oval Office because they don't know what the bombastic businessman would do there. But the prospect of his top rival, Ted Cruz, in the White House frightens many far more because they know exactly what he would do there."

And last week's GOP debate showed why electing any of the Republican contenders would be a mistake, Guardian columnist Jeb Lund argued on Friday. Though the event, compared to previous face-offs, "was a subdued affair," he wrote, "the best thing you can say about it is that a controlled and even-toned insane statement can be just as menacing and just as insane."

After excoriating the candidates' stated positions on everything from foreign policy to climate change, Lund said: "If there is any lesson here, it is that a measured professional-sounding set of stupid ideas is no less dangerous than one screamed from a step-pyramid of upended shopping carts. It just makes it easier for people enamored of unreasonable things to subscribe to such stupid ideas in public."

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