We are counting down the days to some of the most horrific political battles in American history. All of us need to do our part.
At the federal level, we will see attacks from within on every agency of government. Following up on his campaign promises, Donald Trump has nominated the most radical (and unqualified) cabinet and subcabinet standard-bearers imaginable. They will disrupt longstanding political norms, if not democracy itself.
We can expect the earliest attacks to include: a crackdown on immigrants, most of whom have lived in the United States for more than a decade; attempts to make it impossible for women to obtain abortion services, despite constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade; and outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act, imperiling the health insurance of 30 million Americans.
State and local leaders need to fight back. And here are five ways you can.
Fight back against hate:
Since the November election, we have seen a wave of violence and threats of violence against anyone who disagrees with the Radical Right, and in some cases against subjects of “fake news” (e.g. “pizzagate”). As Trump whips up his supporters, violence and intimidation will likely increase.
You can sponsor or support the Hate Crime Prevention Act, which is designed to strengthen existing hate crimes statutes. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have laws that criminalize bias-motivated violence or intimidation (all except AK, GA, IN, SC and WY). Thirty-one states and DC also have a civil cause of action for hate crimes. This model helps ensure that your state protects the full range of hate crime targets and includes civil litigation. What is new in this model is coverage for hate crimes against abortion providers and patients, and against immigrants—they are in special peril today.
Fight back to support immigrants:
Because of Trump’s promise to deport millions of immigrants, they will be particularly vulnerable to extortion.
You can sponsor or support the Prevent Extortion of Immigrants Act, which specifies that it is illegal to gain something of value by threatening to expose someone’s unauthorized immigration status. Maryland enacted such a law in 2016 and three other states (CA, CO and VA) enacted it previously.
Fight back to protect abortion clinic patients and staff:
Violence and harassment against abortion clinic patients and staff has greatly increased since the November election. We should expect that anti-abortion extremists will escalate their attacks on clinics, providers and patients in lieu of Trump’s election.
You can sponsor or support the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which supplements criminal and civil law to protect facilities, providers, employees, volunteers and patients from anti-abortion violence and harassment. A federal FACE Act was enacted in 1994 but it may be difficult for patients and clinics to navigate the federal court system. That’s why state versions of FACE, like this model, have been enacted in California, New York and Washington.
Fight back to protect people’s health insurance:
Donald Trump and the right wing in Congress have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that would throw 22 million Americans off their health insurance. A resulting market collapse would likely cause an additional 7 million to lose their insurance. In fact, more Americans would be uninsured after an ACA repeal than before ACA was enacted.
You can sponsor or support the Health Care for All Assessment Act, which would create a commission to study the impact on your state of the federal repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The commission would provide recommendations for state/local action to help residents obtain or maintain affordable health insurance. Even if full ACA repeal is delayed, we need to prepare now for a potential health care catastrophe.
Fight back by fixing the dysfunctional Electoral College:
Because of the states’ winner-take-all systems of selecting who votes in the Electoral College, the popular vote loser was chosen President in two of the last five elections. This is simply undemocratic.
You can sponsor or support the National Popular Vote Agreement Act, which is an agreement among the states to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote. As of today, this agreement has been enacted into law in 11 states with 165 electoral votes (CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). It will take effect when enacted by states with 105 more electoral votes and it has already passed one house in 12 additional states that control a total of 96 electoral votes (AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR).
If you want to work on one of these proactive progressive policies, please contact us at the Public Leadership Institute and let us help you. Email PLI at email@example.com. We can provide assistance with bill drafting, amendments, support materials, messaging, public relations strategies, and networking.
For the next few years, we will all have a lot of important work to do. Let’s do it together!