Biden supporters across the political spectrum united in outrage, grief and hope
As Joe Biden begins his job as US President, the balance of power is shifting everywhere.
Former President Donald Trump has identified, helped and supported strong leaders around the world. But Trump also united the protesters by pushing back – creating momentum that organizers say could help the Biden administration succeed.
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Trump’s term began in January 2017 with the Women’s March, the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. Subsequently, Harvard University sociologist Theda Skocpol and other researchers followed the protesters as they sought to continue their activism.
âSuddenly people showed up to Democratic Party meetings when no one was there. I would describe it as a revitalization of the roots of the Democratic Party.
“Suddenly people showed up at Democratic Party meetings where there was no one,” she said. âI would describe it as a revitalization of the roots of the Democratic Party. “
New grassroots groups have also sprung up across the country, many of which are led by women. And their collective efforts paid off fairly quickly. Skocpol says the 2018 midterm elections were “a turning point.” Newly mobilized activists banked phones and went door-to-door during mid-terms to elect – in many cases – moderate Democrats. She says they increased voter turnout with a broad coalition.
âThe way they saw it is any Democrat can build a majority, we’ll do anything for them,â Skocpol said. “I think they saw it as a way to really save the country from Trump and Trumpism.”
Then George Floyd, a black man, was killed in May 2020 by a Minneapolis policeman, and people protested against racism and police brutality in countries around the world.
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âThis summer has been a very, very transformational time. We saw more non-black people join the protests, we saw businesses speak out for the first time. And it happened in the midst of the pandemic, âsaid Arisha Hatch, vice president of Color Of Change, a group that campaigns for racial justice. âWe believe that racial justice is becoming a major issue. “
The movements have merged, she said. People across the political and demographic spectrum have been united in a similar sense of outrage and grief. They are motivated by a range of issues – from police brutality and family separation to health care and student debt.
Hatch believes the sense of unity between the groups that helped elect Biden will last – especially because of the attack on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. But she said Biden still had to use his slim Democratic majority in Congress to keep his promises.
âDemocrats should be very aware that they expect people’s lives to improve on a host of different issues because they are in the majority,â Hatch said. âDemocrats need to start figuring out how they’re going to behave for this coalition if they hope to keep this majority for more than two years. And yes, that will involve negotiations, back and forth and sometimes criticism. “
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The anti-Trump coalition believes Biden must succeed, said Leah Greenberg, co-founder of the nonprofit Indivisible. And she said they believed Biden could only do it by tackling the structural problems of the U.S. government.
âI think what we’re seeing is that people want to both cheer on President Biden and make him bold. And they are approaching this from a supportive but pressing angle. ”
âI think what we’re seeing is that people want to both cheer on President Biden and make him bold. And they’re approaching it from a supportive but pressing angle, âGreenberg said.
If the coalition that defeated Trump remains unified and continues to push, Greenberg said it could ultimately help defeat authoritarian right-wing figures around the world.
“What I hope is that Trump’s defeat and the successful transfer to Joe Biden are part of a larger wave, pushing back this right-wing ethno-nationalist current,” she said.
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If the United States can undertake the reforms necessary to represent and care for all of its people, Greenberg said, it could help countries prevent strongmen like Trump from regaining power.