Election 2020 Mike Siegel

We Have Our Call to Arms

These are the lessons progressives can take from the Trump insurrection and the Georgia victories.

By Mike Siegel / Original to ScheerPost

On January 6, White nationalists sacked the U.S. Capitol at the command of our treasonous President. The same President who on Election Day in November won Texas easily — while dragging multiple Congressional Republicans to victory.

There are countless lessons to learn from the Trump insurrection, as well as from the legendary Georgia Senate victories of Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

But for those of us working in Texas, dedicated to changing the political foundations of this state, we have our call to arms.

Without hesitation, we must take on both White nationalism and economic injustice.

The people who defiled the House and Senate include self-described Nazis and neo-Confederates. These are not people we can negotiate with — they are planning for our murder. We must defeat them. And we must defeat their allies, like the Capitol Police who let them in.

We will need a rare, diverse, powerful coalition to take on White supremacy, here in Texas and across the nation.

And at the same time, we must weaken the Trump coalition by addressing the failure of the American economy.

One beautiful lesson from the victories of soon-to-be Senators Warnock and Ossoff is they won by using clear and direct progressive messaging.

“We’ll give you $2,000” helped two Democrats win a statewide special election in Georgia. And this progressive economic messaging is not only good politics. It is essential to saving any aspiration we have for American democracy.

The seditious racists who invaded the Capitol are the tip of the spear of the Trump coalition.  They don’t make it into the building without a much broader base of Republicans behind them.

But if Democrats can build a stronger working class coalition, we can isolate the most hateful and reactionary elements of the Trump insurrection. The Ku Klux Klan was crushed in this country after a sustained movement including public pressure, legislation, and civil lawsuits for damages. We need a similar effort to defeat the White hate groups that today are celebrating their ability to disrupt the transition of power of the most powerful nation in the world.

As a candidate for Congress, I spent the 2020 primary debating with moderates about whether we should have universal healthcare or something less, a Green New Deal or something less. Then I spent the 2020 general election debating with consultants about the very same thing.

But we aren’t going to save our democracy with garbled messages and equivocation. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff taught us — when Democrats say “we’ll give you $2,000,” and Republicans say “here’s $600,” Democrats win.

And if that’s true in Georgia, it’s true in Texas.

The difference between Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening, however, was that this isn’t just a conversation about electoral strategy. If it wasn’t clear before, it’s very clear now.

This is a conversation about life and death. The Trump insurrection is inspired by Confederates who wish a return to chattel slavery. By Nazis who sport logos saying “6 million was not enough.” By “Blue Lives Matter” cops who could have killed members of Congress by letting an armed mob into the building while a presidential election was being finalized.

Our ability to attract a small fraction of Republicans to the Democratic side could be the difference between a continuation of America’s experiment with democracy, or something far worse.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and dig in. Let’s build the organizations we need to reach every community across this State. Let’s unite across race, class, religion, and geography. Let’s talk directly to the people and make sure everyone knows the choice we have to make.

Our very lives are at stake.

Mike Siegel
Mike Siegel

Mike Siegel is a civil rights lawyer based in Austin, Texas. He was the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Texas 10th Congressional District in 2018 and 2020.

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