Updated: Jan 22, 2021
To say 2020 was quite a year is an understatement.
But with Joe Biden’s decisive victory in the presidential election, we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We successfully limited an authoritarian ruler to a one-term presidency. With the inauguration coming up in a few weeks, some friends have been asking “What’s next for the Loyal Opposition?” Not to worry, we’ve still got plenty to do. Voting Trump out of office was not the endgame; shoring up and ensuring the long-term health of our democracy is. And we’ve got some high-priority items on our to-do list. Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on four key areas:
Countering white supremacy: With the election of Donald Trump in 2016, white supremacy returned to mainstream politics. Trump and the GOP reinvigorated racist tropes to stoke their base giving white nationalist ideologues an opening to advance their agenda. With the election of Kamala Harris as the first African American, Asian American and woman to the vice presidency, it is quite likely that the anger and resentment of white supremacists will increase and become more aggressive.
Shining a spotlight on disinformation: Disinformation is nothing new, but our reliance on digital communication, and especially social media, has made spreading it much more efficient — and more dangerous. Learning to recognize it, inoculate ourselves against it, and avoid spreading it is critical to rebuilding our weakened democracy. We also need to develop effective strategies for holding those who traffic in disinformation accountable.
Protecting our elections and voting rights: The right to vote is the cornerstone to our democracy. Attacks on election infrastructure and integrity, whether by foreign or domestic actors, cannot be tolerated. We are witnessing aggressive, underhanded tactics to interfere with our right to vote and have a voice in who governs us...everything from partisan gerrymandering, to voter suppression, and most disturbingly, attempts by elected leaders to overturn the results of secure and valid elections. All eyes are on Georgia now, understandably so, and in addition to that, we must prepare for the high priority tasks ahead such as restoring the Voting Rights Act and ensuring every state engages in fair and impartial redistricting efforts.
Advocating for accountability and the rule of law: Given the rigorous attacks on our democracy in the last few years, and the longstanding attempts to undermine it over the last several decades, we cannot move forward without reckoning with our past. To be clear: this is not about revenge. Accountability is about holding every person to the same standard. That standard is the law.
These focus areas do not exist in silos. They overlap and intersect in a myriad ways, so that at times it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins: Disinformation is used to promote the agenda of white supremacy, and to spin false narratives on everything from election integrity to public health; Elected leaders have attempted to undermine the rule of law to interfere in our elections and disenfranchise voters--particularly Black voters--and obstruct justice to avoid accountability. It’s impossible to read the news or scroll through your social media feed without seeing daily examples of these things, all of which threaten the integrity of our democracy.
Our job at the Loyal Opposition is to call it out, identify constructive actions we can take, and promote other organizations that are doing the same. This is a huge undertaking. No one individual or group can do it on their own. We’re going to have to crowdsource this. It’s not enough to quote the words, “Of the people, by the people, for the people.” We need to live by them. That means continuing to be active participants in our own governance.
Let’s get to it.