Takeaway: The Executive Council passed two resolutions about the election, one committing ourselves to take action if Trump tries to subvert the election and another endorsing Joe Biden. We are urging all of you to be ready to defend democracy; sign up here if you can promise to mobilize in Philadelphia if necessary. The future of democracy is literally at stake.
The 2020 elections are less than two weeks away, and never in history has the outcome of a presidential election been more uncertain. Polls have consistently shown Joe Biden with a large lead nationally and even a growing edge in the undemocratic Electoral College. But the difficulties of voting during a surging pandemic, the right wing’s legal and extralegal efforts at voter suppression, and Donald Trump’s unprecedented refusal to say he will leave office if defeated—or even promise to let all votes be counted—cast a long shadow of doubt and fear.
At our October meeting on Wednesday, the Executive Council voted on two resolutions related to the elections.
The first resolution, which passed unanimously, commits us to join with other unions and social movements in defending democracy if Trump and the Republicans try to stop a fair election. It reads in part:
If Donald Trump and his GOP enablers attempt to obstruct, subvert, sabotage, overturn, or reject a fair and complete count of presidential ballots (essentially a coup against democracy)….be it resolved, that Rutgers AAUP-AFT, in collaboration with other labor and progressive forces, will take whatever nonviolent actions are necessary to protect our democracy, the law, and our nation’s democratic traditions.
We need to prepare now so we are ready to honor this commitment. Some of our members live in Pennsylvania, which is predicted to be the pivotal state in the election and thus a likely target of right wing forces trying to subvert voting. If the right threatens polling places on Election Day or sites where ballots are counted afterward, our union will mobilize to defend democracy. We ask you to pledge to join us if you possibly can. Fill out this form right now and share it with your colleagues.
The second resolution endorses a vote for Joe Biden for president. After detailing the many ways that “Trump represents a profound threat to democratic rights and the rule of law should he win a second term as president of the United States,” the resolution further states that the union will “recruit and engage members” to be registered and ready to vote; “urge members to support the Biden presidential campaign”; and “begin immediately to push a President Joe Biden to support” our priorities on education and other issues.
Trump and the Republican Right have thrived all along on fear, chaos, and intimidation. Like any other struggle, we must not allow ourselves to be silenced. United we fight, at Rutgers and beyond.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Find the latest messages to members and union statements here.
Read how Rutgers AAUP-AFT is confronting the crisis here.