“This is not a normal transition of power”
In the aftermath of the 2016 election, key moments this week highlight the fact that some Democrats are ready to battle Trump with every fiber of their being.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said, “Every day brings fresh evidence that President-elect Donald Trump is determined to give extremists, radicals and white nationalists a strong hand in guiding his Administration. As a result, this is not a normal transition of power. Fortunately, a growing number of Democrats in the Senate and the House are standing up for an America that believes in pluralism and rejects bigotry. They recognize, as we all must, that we are engaged in a contest of pluralism vs ethno-nationalism; inclusion vs exclusion; equal opportunity for all vs special advantages for some. If we are to live true to our national motto of E Pluribus Unum, we expect our Democratic representatives to stand with the majority of American people and our commitment to an America where everyone is valued, protected and included.”
Here are some recent examples of Democrats standing for American values and ideals.
Standing Up for Dreamers and Protecting DACA
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) held the floor this week to share the story of Oscar Cornejo, a DACA-mented student at Dartmouth University. Durbin vowed to do everything in his power to protect DACA and the DREAMers such as Oscar, who dreams of becoming a teacher. As Senator Durbin asked Trump and the GOP, ““Will America be stronger if we deport Oscar, or if he stays here and achieves his dream of becoming an educator? The answer is clear.”
Representatives Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) defended DREAMers and DACA in a letter to President Obama urging him to do everything possible to protect the 750,000 DREAMers, as their ability to live and work without the fear of deportation is at risk under a future Trump Administration. As the Representatives explained, “we have received reports of Dreamers who have taken their own lives as they are now facing the threat posed by the incoming president. Using your pardon authority, which is not subject to reversal, to protect these young people who relied on the program you implemented is quite literally a matter of life and death.”
Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) urged President-elect Trump to protect the names and private information of DREAMers: “We promised them security. Now they are facing a nightmare. When we asked immigrants to come out of the shadows, we never imagined the election of a candidate who ran on a policy of mass deportation.”
Standing Up to Hate
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) held the Senate floor to urge Trump to revoke Bannon’s appointment, contending that, “If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office, it will be impossible to take Trump’s efforts to heal the nation seriously.” During his speech, Senator Reid referenced the more than 300 incidents of harassment, intimidation, and violence that have been reported since Trump’s election.
Following Bannon’s appointment, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) vehemently denounced Trump’s decision: “My office has received thousands of calls from New Jerseyans who are rightly upset and frightened that someone who has promoted hateful, bigoted rhetoric and radical ideas through his website has been elevated to such a powerful role inside the White House. Hate has no place in our public discourse, let alone in the people’s house.”
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) held a press conference urging Trump to denounce the widespread violence and hate-crimes that have occurred across the country and to “immediately fire Steve Bannon, a white nationalist selected by Trump.”
These Senators were joined by Senate Minority Leader-Elect Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in denouncing Trump’s selection.
169 members of the House of Representatives also called on President-elect Donald Trump to rescind Bannon’s appointment to his Administration. The Representatives noted, “Since the election there have been a number of incidents across the country in which minorities….have been the targets of violence, harassment and intimidation. Mr. Bannon’s appointment sends the wrong message to people who have engaged in those types of activities, indicating that they will not only be tolerated, but endorsed by your Administration.”
Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), upon Jeff Sessions’ appointment to Attorney General, stated, “If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man. No Senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions. He is a staunch opponent of legal immigration and someone who has blocked every effort to improve, modernize, and humanize our immigration system, which is two or three decades out-of-date. He ran for the Senate because he was deemed by the Senate Judiciary Committee as too racist to serve as a federal judge. He is the kind of person who will set back law enforcement, civil rights, the courts, and increase America’s mass incarceration industry and erase 50 years of progress.”
Standing Up for Latino Voters
The media-sponsored exit polls are notoriously off when it comes to capturing the political behavior of individual ethnic groups such Latino voters. Still, many in the media are using these flawed figures to suggest that Trump performed better among Latinos than many had anticipated.
Misrepresenting the Latino vote is a form of disenfranchisement, which is why Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) is leading a campaign to force Edison Research, the company behind the exit polls, to be transparent about its Latino polling data. As Becerra noted, “It’s incumbent upon any polling organization, but especially one which has a monopoly over the reporting, to provide an accurate assessment of exit polling data for a presidential election. Right now, there is little transparency regarding Edison Research’s survey of Latino voters. It’s hard to believe the results being reported by the media when they are in such conflict with all of the reliable polling done up to election day. I’m reaching out to Edison Research to request the data and methodology behind its reporting and I urge media networks to do the same.”
Standing Up Against the Normalization of a Trump Presidency
Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) held the floor to caution his colleagues about the dangers of collaborating with, and therefore legitimizing, President-elect Trump. Gallego said: “We cannot treat him like any other politician, or even like any other Republican, because he is not. He represents something much more dangerous. And while none of us want this to be the case, we have a duty to treat him like the threat he is – a threat to our values, a threat to our people, and a threat to our national identity.
“We should be horrified because it is horrifying. The man who boasted that ‘I alone will fix it’ will fix nothing. He has broken us apart. Millions of Americans are living in fear because he has threatened them. Muslims, Latinos, African-Americans, women, the disabled, the LGBT community, and more.
“Donald Trump will be our next President. We here in Congress must oppose his agenda. We must oppose his efforts to build up his power. Anything that makes Trump more powerful, makes him more dangerous.”