The protests that many expected would occur in the wake of Election Day began in earnest on Wednesday in Manhattan, as hundreds took to the streets to decry President Trump’s false victory declaration even as the votes in the 2020 presidential race are still being counted in swing states.
Some organizers also chose to look beyond the outcome of the contest between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, who currently leads. They fear that a Trump defeat won’t be enough to satisfy what they described as a socialist agenda and are repeating several popular demands by activists.
Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and diverting funds from the police to finance housing, education, and social services is still an uphill battle, according to Socialist Alternative NYC, an organization that rallied in Midtown Manhattan following an emotionally taxing Election Day.
Travis Morales, a lead organizer with Refuse Fascism, said Trump is in the process of usurping power from the American voter to his own ends.
“Trump is attempting to steal the election. And demands that as victor the counting of the ballots stop. Overwhelmingly, the uncounted votes are from the urban poor and minority voters. We need to say no and need to be in the streets demanding ‘Trump, Pence out now’,” Morales said. “White supremacy is illegitimate, patriarchal theocracy is illegitimate, fascism is illegitimate and no election whether fair or fraudulent legitimizes fascism, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Morales said instances of Trump supporter voter intimidation—such as seen at one location in Brooklyn on Tuesday, where two men were threatening individuals waiting in line to cast a ballot—were compounded by higher-level interference, such as alleged attempts by the White House administration to have the ballots of voters who reported to a drive-in poll site in Texas thrown out.
Marie O’Toole, an organizer with Socialist Alternative, wants to see strikes in industries that will hit the wealthy in the profit margins in order to gain in programs such as Medicare For All. Workers’ strikes and mass demonstrations of the working poor is a strategy she believes will get the needed traction, as shown by the 120,000 airline workers in December 2019 who threatened to strike for better pay and benefits after a lucrative decade for the industry.
“We really need working people in the streets en masse to defend our democratic rights. The fact is that Donald Trump has signaled over and over, even last night he went on to say he is the victor of this election and the fact is that they’re clearly trying to undermine the democratic rights of working class people,” O’Toole said. “They’ve done that the whole way with the attacks on USPS , they staged fake ballot boxes and the only way that working people are going to be able to claim our rights and work for a program that we really need… is if we have a new party of the working class.”
Wednesday’s rally with these groups drew about 300 people on the steps of New York Public Library at 41st Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
On Wednesday, Biden claimed Wisconsin and Michigan, prompting Trump to call for a recount.
The electoral college count places Biden at 253 and Trump at 213 as of press time, with 270 needed to call a victory for either candidate. Six states remain to be called with Arizona and Nevada being considering the two to tip the balance.