Thursday, November 5, 2020

On an Election in Limbo,#CountEveryVote March

After a peaceful march calling for every vote to be counted, 
the NYPD kettled in and arrested some 62 protesters.
Democracy feels on trial here. 


“This is the worst shape I’ve seen the United States since I’ve been here,” said my friend Gene on election night. He moved to the US from the USSR in 1980. He’s seen a lot.

That says a lot.


It’s a rough patch we find ourselves in.

A lot of us were wondering if we even have a future here?

The austerity is cutting us to the bone.

The erosion of public trust undermines democracy every day.

It feels like we were falling off a cliff.

Can we hold it all together?
I’m not sure.


All day we wondered about the evenly split thin margins between states, while one candidate maintains a 3.5 million vote lead in the popular vote, as if that doesn’t matter.

The electoral college and its nod to the influence of small, often slave owning states, continues to minimize the influence of populace economic engines of New York and California.


To even tilt it a little bit, we need millions more votes.

By Wednesday afternoon, Biden started pulling away.

My colleague Mery Diaz wrote:  


“What's needed

Michigan: 16

Wisconsin: 10

Nevada: 6

Total of these: 32

238 + 32 = 270.”


Turns out, we don’t quite have Arizona.

AP called it early.


And Trump’s team is already appealing to the Supreme Court.


Isn't it time to put the electoral college to rest?

What’s wrong with the popular vote?


Nicholas Kristof reminds us:

“Biden will easily win the popular vote by millions of ballots, and yet the outcome is in doubt only because of the Electoral College. Between 2000 and 2016, in two of the three times when Republicans won the presidency, it was while losing the popular vote. And if the Supreme Court does weigh in on this election, one-third of the justices were appointed by Trump after he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.

The Senate has similar issues. The current Democratic senators represent 14 million more voters than the Republican senators, but it’s the Democrats who are in the minority because of the outsize influence of low-population states.

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, has bluntly said, “we’re not a democracy” but a republic (actually, we’re both).”

As of now, it takes votes from small states to give us that nod.

So we feel stuck.

We have to push to make sure the government counts every vote and it doesn’t get to the courts.

I tried to stay busy Wednesday, doing laundry, prepping for class, checking up every few hours for updates.  

Throughout my Trauma informed practice class, students sent updates about Michigan and Wisconsin going to Biden as we talked about ways to keep our minds and stick together during this uncertain period.




And organize.

One student talked about her mother’s journey through the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1970’s, hiding from genocidal armies and war planes.

Another talked about checking herself in the hospital to finally take control of her own life.

We all have our coping strategies.

We all figure ways to survive.

It was good to laugh together.

Trump doesn’t get our joy, a few of noted, navigating through the steps of trauma theory from establishing safety to remembrance and mourning to reconnection.

After class I’d join everyone from my union and the Rise and Resist at the big count every vote rally beginning at the NY Public Library.

We all needed to talk.

As the reality of the election set in, we knew that the dems would not be able to make many constitutional of structural reforms in what looks to be a split government, pending senate runoffs.

Just as many people voted from Trump, despite the lies, the racism, the xenophobia, the botched response to the epidemic, leaving nearly a quarter million dead and the economy wounded.

And yesterday, 1,600 deaths yesterday alone.

Before I left for the rally, I heard about furloughs at City University.

I arrived at the rally at 5th and 25th street.

My friend Leslie Cagan was marching alone.
She’s been at it as long as anyone.

The night before, she’d written about her own crisis of meaning.

“Not feeling good. Yes, for sure, there are still many votes to be counted, but this is all feeling too close for comfort. Even if Biden wins, it does not look like the landslide that was needed. All of those people who voted for Trump after four years of horror upon horror, topped off by criminal negligence in regard to COVID, and so much more...after all of that they still voted for him. I can't figure out if I am more angry or more sad about it all. Guess it doesn't have to be a competition. Maybe if I can sleep I'll wake up to better news...maybe...”

“I felt the same way,” I said to her. “A lot of did.”

I looked at everyone I knew, feeling the crackle of the night, a hot protest, the crisp fall energy in the air.

“But we have each other,” I said when I saw her.

Diane Green Lent had said the same thing.

We talked about a pic she took of my daughter 18 years ago.

That was as the war over weapons of mass destruction.

Since then its gotten worse.

We’ve lost public trust.

And the capacity to tell the truth, said Cagan, who organized the protests against the war.

Yet, she keeps on marching through the night.

We all do.

By the time I got home, I heard about the mass arrests that took place after the march got to the West Village. The NYPD kettled in and arrested some 62 protesters.   

@protest_nyc wrote:  "Police begin to mass arrest kettled group at 5th and 8th St.  Protestors, packed like sardines, are beaten and arrested while onlooking officers laugh."

Democracy is on trial here.

Another march is scheduled for Saturday. 

If you'd like to marshal or form bike bloc, I can put you in touch with organizers. 

Common Cause put out the call for the demo:

In a desperate attempt to cheat his way back into the White House and silence those who didn't vote for him -- Donald Trump is trying to declare himself the winner of the 2020 election.

Around 2:30 this morning, he claimed victory in some key swing states that are still much too close to call, with millions of ballots left to count -- and regurgitated his shameful, baseless lies about our voting process.

Regardless of what Trump says -- in our democracy, it's the voters who decide the election winner, not candidates. The American people must swiftly reject this blatant attempt to hijack our democracy.

Sign the Petition: Every last vote must be counted, even if it takes extra time -- and we refuse to let Trump declare himself president without final election results >>

The fact is: millions of votes from across the country still have yet to be tallied. These voters faced a global pandemic, vote-suppressing politicians, and rampant disinformation to make themselves heard in this all-important election year -- and they will not be shut out of our democracy.

This is just the latest step in Trump's plot to tamper with this election -- first, he spread dangerous lies about vote-by-mail. Then, he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.

Now, with no regard for our democratic values or the will of the American people, he's trying to hijack the election and name himself the winner. And he even said he'd go to the Supreme Court -- where he just appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to be a tie-breaking vote -- to stop ballots from being tallied.

Add your name: join the nationwide outcry and REJECT Trump's shameless attempt to cheat his way back into the White House >>

Let's be clear: every ballot will be counted in this election, including mail-in ballots. That's the law.

And no matter what Trump says or does, no one can declare themselves the president. That decision is to be made by the American people.

Common Cause is not in this fight to advocate for a particular candidate or outcome, but to make sure that every single ballot is counted fairly -- and that voters, not partisan political interference, decide the outcome of this election.

I hope you'll speak out today,

Devon Nir, Digital Campaigner

and the team at Common Cause


Andrea Vásquez wrote to the members of our union.



Dear Members,


Tomorrow is election day.


The PSC urges each of you to vote and, of course, we respect each member’s individual right to decide whom to vote for. As a union, we believe this is the most important election in generations. The PSC leadership has joined unions and progressive groups across the state in urging members to vote for the Biden/Harris ticket on the Working Families Party ballot line. We believe a vote for Biden/Harris on the WFP line is the best choice in this election for working people, unions and our students.


Over the past year, this country has seen increased voter suppression and obstruction and attempts to undermine the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and the election itself. These attacks on our democracy will continue through election day and may include acts of violence and intimidation in addition to the expected legal maneuverings. Incredibly, we may also see a refusal to count millions of legitimate votes that have already been cast across the country.


In response to this existential threat to our rights as citizens, labor unions and others have made plans to come out onto the streets in the days after the election, in cities and towns everywhere. From small community organizations to the AFL-CIO, millions are united around the common goal of counting every vote, defending the democratic election and ensuring a peaceful transition of power. The effort starts with election day voting but—unless Biden has a clear and decisive victory by Wednesday— it may continue for days, weeks, or even into next year: fighting to count every vote, defending against subversion of election results, and defending an orderly transition until the January 20th inauguration. The future is on the line. We need millions on the streets across the country in repeated demonstrations until there is electoral justice.


Here are the groups the PSC is a part of and here is how you can participate. Our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, is working intensely with a broad coalition of groups and interests on a plan to protect the election. You will be receiving updates from the AFT about mass mobilizations in the days immediately after the vote. The PSC is also working with Protect the Results (PTR) and Labor Action to Defend Democracy (LADD), groups that are organizing nationally alongside the big national unions. As in any fast-developing coalition effort, there is overlap between actions.  PTR is planning demonstrations in New York City, and AFT and LADD are focused on Saturday, the 7th. The key goal for all is getting masses of people ON THE STREETS in the days following the election. Lawyers and politicians will play key roles, but nothing will speak louder than masses of people demonstrating for justice.


Protect the Results

Wednesday, Nov. 4th  4:00 New York Public Library, march downtown

PSC will meet at 3:45 on Fifth Ave. and 41st St.


March to “Count Every Damn Vote”

Saturday, Nov. 7th   1:00 Columbus Circle, march downtown

PSC will meet at 12:30 at Lincoln Center, Columbus Ave. between 64th and 65th St.


I understand that not everyone is able to attend an outdoor demonstration but, for those who can, I hope you will make every effort to join with other PSC members at this historic moment. Our presence in every town and city in the U.S. is at least as important as our vote.


In solidarity,


Andrea Vásquez

PSC First Vice President







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