Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: Defeat Bush/Quayle! Vote for Dukakis & the Democratic ticket

First Published: Unity, Vol. 11, No. 16, October 31, 1988.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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George Bush has made it clear what is at stake in this November’s presidential election. By the very tone of the Republican campaign, Bush has declared that if he is elected, he will take it as a mandate to continue the reactionary attacks on the people begun by Reagan. He promises to use the power and authority of the White House to carry out the right wing’s ominous agenda.

The pervasive message of Bush’s whole campaign is one of racism and repression. When eight of his top campaign staffers were exposed as Nazi collaborators and anti-Semites, Bush called them “honorable” men who had done nothing wrong. He uses racial code words about “law and order,” the “death penalty,” “the American family” and being “tough on crime and drugs” to fan up the fears of whites as society polarizes more and more along economic and racial lines. His whole campaign creates an atmosphere in which racist and fascist groups are free to continue their attacks on people of color and workers with impunity.

If a Democratic administration can slow the reactionary tide, even in a small way, it is objectively better for the masses of people. And it is better for the movements for peace and social justice, which gained hope and inspiration through Jesse Jackson’s historic campaign, and which continue to be at the cutting edge of the battle against the right wing.

We saw the power of the Black vote and the rainbow electoral coalition in the defeat of Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We saw hope and unity triumph over cynicism and despair, as Jesse Jackson won seven million votes among people of all nationalities who responded to his progressive message of economic justice, compassion for poor and working people, and seeking equality and common ground among all peoples.

At the heart of the momentum developed through the Jackson campaign was the people’s desire to fight back against the right and to change the direction of the country. But it is clear that we cannot take our cues from the Dukakis campaign strategy – a conservative and defensive strategy which focuses on the narrow sector of “Reagan Democrats,” while stupidly squandering much of the support that could have led to a Democratic sweep in November. It is clear that Dukakis and the Democratic Party leadership are not leading the struggle against the right, and in many ways are resisting the movement to open up the party to people of color and the poor.

So that task and responsibility falls on progressives and the forces that supported Jackson, as it has ever since Reagan first took office. We have to continue to follow our own independent strategy, to go out there and take the initiative to expand the electorate for now and the future, and to make it clear that 1988 is not a popular mandate for George Bush.

In these last few days before November 8, and on election day, we need to get out every vote possible to defeat Bush, and to vote for Michael Dukakis and the Democratic ticket. To vote for Congressman Mike Espy in Mississippi, and Faye Williams in Louisiana. To vote for the Democrats to retain their Senate and House majorities. And to vote for progressives and anti-right candidates running for county, city and school board seats all across the land.

Keep hope alive! Vote November 8!