Will Donald Trump leave office if he loses the election? Many are wondering how he might bend the law to stay in the White House. The president frequently inveighs against "voter fraud" and says his opponents will steal the election with fraudulent mail-in ballots. Further, he refuses to say if he will accept election results.
Labor Day is not just a national holiday, a day off from work, for some. Labor Day is an acknowledgement of the working people, activists who fought for worker's rights around the country.
"In 1885 and 1886, various American cities declared the first Monday in September to be a workers’ holiday, and on February 21, 1887, Oregon became the first state to recognize Labor Day. Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, and New Jersey followed later that year.
The activists who participated in and helped organize these early rallies also fought for the eight-hour day. Without that struggle, a labor holiday providing eight paid hours off was unthinkable. In fact, the slogan so synonymous with May Day — 'Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will' — appeared on banners at the first Labor Day demonstration in 1882."
Eugene Debs, a labor activist, wrote the following.
While we celebrate Labor Day, we need to be aware of the struggle that still continues in the United States. We currently stand in very poor ranking worldwide, for worker's rights violations. The United States ranks #4 - Systemic violations of rights, with 5+ being the worst.
Another indicator of the decline of workers rights is the decline in union memberships in the United States. The latest 2019 union membership numbers are down to 10.3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unions have long fought and defended workers rights.
So while we celebrate Labor Day and hard fought victories for the health and safety of workers, please be aware, with declines in union membership on par with the Great Depression, with growing worker rights violations, we can't rest on our ancestors laurels, we need to fight for our current and future generations worker rights, so that Labor Day is not just a federal holiday, but something to truly celebrate.
The article below, Could we slide into the abyss like Germany in 1933?, is posted with permission by Jim Nelson.
The article is not fearmongering. In fact, recently in Portland, the President sent federal agents, some in unmarked uniforms and unmarked vehicles taking protesters off the street to unknown locations without any accountability and journalists have been targeted.
Neither the mayors or governors of Oregon or Washington requested Federal assistance. "Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement in a statement Wednesday and described the federal officers as 'an occupying force' that has 'refused accountability and brought strife to our community...' Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have repeatedly condemned the federal presence as Trump, Wolf and U.S. Attorney General William Barr have said the officers must stay until violent clashes at the courthouse stop." Trump has threatened use of federal officers in other Democratic states.
Here are some articles highlighting particulars in Seattle and Portland, which concern many people on a democracy level, feeling that it might be a test case for implementation in the upcoming election or Trump's responses afterward.
Trump politically targets cities like Portland, Seattle, stoking fears of new conflagration - "Trump’s deployment of federal agents in Portland and other cities comes as his foundering reelection campaign increasingly shifts toward a 'law and order' theme. The crackdown, in cities whose elected leaders don’t want federal agents, has been promoted by Trump in nakedly partisan terms."
OSP troopers have been deputized by the federal government. Here's what that means - authorizing troopers to charge protesters under federal law, "What it does mean is it’s an attempt by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute more of the crimes they see occurring." Conviction of felonies removes a person's right to vote.
Protesters in Multiple States Are Facing Felony Charges, Including Terrorism - "Prosecutors and lawmakers in several states have responded to mass protests against police brutality by charging demonstrators with committing felonies, including terrorism charges. The trend of criminalizing protest has been on the uptick since the 2016 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock, during and after which numerous states upped charges for protests “near critical infrastructure” as felonies."
Could we slide into the abyss like Germany in 1933?
Matters are so serious that a bipartisan think tank of 100-plus current and former senior government and campaign leaders conducted matrix games on what could go haywire between the Nov. 3 election and the Jan. 20 inauguration. The Transitions Integrity Project concluded that there is “a high degree of likelihood that November’s elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape.” You can read the report at https://paxsims.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/preventing-a-disrupted-presidential-election-and-transition-8-3-20.pdf.
Trump has at his fingertips secret emergency powers called Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs). They are, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, “executive orders, proclamations, and messages to Congress that are prepared in anticipation of a range of emergency scenarios….” They only require Trump’s signature.
They were created during the Eisenhower era in case of a Soviet nuclear attack. Over time they have been expanded. PEADs are, as a government document describes them, intended “to implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations.”
- What powers do PEADs provide?
- Detention of dangerous persons
- Suspension of habeas corpus
- Martial law
- Search and seizure of persons and property
- Declaration of war
Go to the Brennan Center to learn more: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/presidential-emergency-action-documents?fbclid=IwAR0ziqVRxGGWzdSi-maVOiGSWxeEdzwfs_e9c9tJQcKNjCF1RoxektPe0Yk.
While there are legal scholars who believe PEADs are unconstitutional, that remains to be seen. Therefore, it is important that “we the people,” as the Constitution states, speak out about these potential dangers. Unless we do, we could easily slide into the abyss that befell Germany in the 1930’s. The similarities are hauntingly similar.
- Arrest of enemies of the state
- Suspension of habeas corpus
- No right of assembly
- Search, seizure, and confiscation of property
The rest, as we say, is history. Could something like that happen here? We like to think our democratic traditions would prevent us from collapsing like Germany. While history does not always repeat itself, it offers insights into the dangers that societies face. An unstable president with unlimited power are ingredients that have poisoned democracies before.
As the philosopher George Santayana warned, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
The Very Rev. Stephen Brehe is the retired dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena.
Jim Nelson is a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court.
Many voters are concerned about the 2020 Election, with good reason.
Make sure your voter registration is up to date by following this link - My Voter Page.
Below are some resources and information to assist voters in casting your vote this election.
Due to previously mail distribution center closings in Montana (for ex. mail in Helena goes to Great Falls, then back again; Bozeman's mail goes to Billings, then back.), we recommend that you fill out your mail-in ballots, drop them off directly at your county election offices (link below), to ensure ballot receipt. If you can't drop it off, please fill out and mail back immediately.
On the 6th of August, due to COVID19, "Governor Steve Bullock today issued a directive to ensure all eligible Montanans can safely vote in the 2020 November general election by allowing counties to expand voting by mail and early voting. Whether or not they provide mail ballots, all counties will be required to offer in person voting opportunities and take precautions to ensure Montanans have the option to register or vote safely.
The CDC has recognized that in person voting on election day increases the risk of transmitting COVID-19, and has urged states to use voting methods that reduce crowd size. Many Montana election workers are over the age of 60 and are often in close proximity to each other, large crowds, and interact with paper, pens, and other items that could be infected and exchanged frequently."
- Counties may choose to send mail ballots and expand early voting for the November 3, 2020 general election.
- Counties are encouraged to publicize available options and to work with nonprofit organizations to ensure that all Montanans will have access to a ballot, whether in person, early, or by mail.
- All counties must establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies at polling locations, designated drop-off locations, or other public-facing portions of facilities involved in voting.
Please check with your county elections office to find out your specific details.
If voting in person, please make sure to wear a mask for your and others' safety.
"Calling Gov. Steve Bullock’s August directive permitting counties to hold the Nov. 3 election via mail ballot illegal, President Donald Trump’s campaign and three other Republican groups sued Bullock on Wednesday seeking to overturn it.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Helena by Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Montana Republican State Central Committee also names Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican."
PDF includes address and contact information for each county office.
USPS Mail Ballot Issues:
"Audrey McCue, elections supervisor for Lewis and Clark County, sent an informal survey to all 56 counties. As of last week, 52 had responded, with only 10 opting for poll elections."
"Sources told MTN News that high-speed sorters, that can sort up to 30,000 pieces of mail in an hour, have been removed this summer in Great Falls and Billings, and that smaller mail sorters have been taken out in Great Falls, Billings and Missoula.
It’s unclear how many blue U.S. mail drop-boxes have been removed in Montana, although Tester’s office said it had reports that as many as 65 had been removed or slated for removal, including 30 in Billings and 18 in Missoula."
David C.W. Parker, a political scientist at MSU, began analyzing the mailbox removals, compared to 2018 vote in the precincts and noticed a pattern. "In all but ONE location, the Dem vote for Senate was > (greater) for the precinct than the county percentage."
Montana Progressive Voters, please network trusted, accurate election information in your communities, when posting on social media.
Thank you for participating in our democracy.
Campaign Yard Signs are now available at coordinated campaign field offices across the state.
To make sure we're being COVID safe, please reach out to the contact listed below and schedule a time for pick-up.
Please keep a respectful distance and "Mask Up Montana" at all times when going into the field offices.
23 Neill Ave Suite 209/211 Helena, MT 59601
Contact: Cormac Gahan, (269) 767-6196, [email protected]
120 W Granite St Butte, MT 59701
Contact: Quinton Berkompas, (360) 304-3632, [email protected].org
220 W Lamme St Bozeman, MT 59715
Contact: Connor Duff, (971) 647-4164, [email protected]
1520 River Drive N Great Falls, MT 59401
Contact: Becca Day, (603) 969-7878, [email protected]
420 N Higgins Ave Suite B Missoula, MT 59802
Contact: Hadley Stack, (845) 891-6810, [email protected]
1702 1st Ave N Billings, MT 59101
Contact: Liam Carolan, (703) 964-7858, [email protected]
12 E Oregon St Kalispell, MT 59901
Contact: Nicole Gray, (630) 525-1125, [email protected]
Polson (Available Friday, August 21)
110 Main Street #101 Polson, MT 59860
Contact: Alannah Boyle, (860) 992-3649
120 E Park St Livingston, MT 59047
Contact: Dominic Patafie, (336) 594-9054
106 S 2nd Hamilton, MT 59840
Contact: Lucas Johnson, (434) 414-4244
417 1st St Havre, MT 59501
Contact: Dani Musoff, (914) 815-7289
516 Bridge St Suite A Miles City, MT 59301
The Black Student Union - UM, held their "Say His Name - George Floyd" rally, today in Missoula.
But there are 4 other Montana solidarity protests coming up you can participate at, to show support/solidarity for George Floyd & against systemic racism against Blacks/POC.
Click links below for more information.
"Ballots for the June 2 primary must be received at elections offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted, the Montana Supreme Court said in an order Wednesday.
The order, signed by five of the seven justices, reverses a decision last week from Billings Judge Donald Harris that changed the cutoff to include ballots postmarked by June 2 and received by June 8. In past elections, mailed ballots needed to arrive at elections offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day."
To ensure your ballot is counted, it is advised for voters to drop off their mail-in ballots at their county elections office or the designated drop-off locations.
Your VOTE matters.
Our next public Montana Progressive Democrat Board Meeting will be
May 29, 2020, at 4 PM.
Our meetings are open to the public, so feel free to join us, just click on the link below.
Early Agenda includes:
Progressive Happy Hour
Social Media Update
Montana Progressive Democrats, in the interest of transparency, inclusivity and of course, in the time of coronavirus & social distancing, have been holding our Board meetings on Zoom.
Our next meeting is Monday, May 18, 2020, 5:30 PM.
We will be discussing:
Endorsements, including House
Special guest Tom Winter
Endorsements of PCO
Please join us.
This February 29, 2020, Montana Progressive Democrats held their election for Board positions.
The following people were elected:
Chair – Ben Darrow, Missoula
Vice-Chair – Angela Dansie, Dillon
Treasurer – Dakota Hileman, Missoula
Secretary – Stephen Wells, Florence
Communications – Kathryn QannaYahu, Helena
Legislative Liaison – Jennifer Merecki, Billings
Montana Progressive Democrats is a recognized partner organization of the Montana Democratic Party.
We are a grassroots activist organization made up of Organizers and Activists dedicated to revolutionizing the Democratic Party and bringing economic, political, equality and social justice to all Montanans.
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Montana Legislature Rapid Response
Montana Progressive Democrats (MtPD) put together a team to support progressive
bills being sponsored by legislators during the 2019 legislative session. We also
opposed some of the more nefarious bills that were introduced. With input from the
Progressive Caucus and research from our own team, we organized phone calls, email,
texts, and whenever possible, personal visits to committee hearings and floor sessions.
MtPD knew it was going to be a tough session going in with Republicans in control of all
committees and both chambers of the legislature. At transmittal, here were MtPD
- over 24 bills worked on by the team thus far, with info disseminated via email and
- 20 bills recommended to support, 4 bills opposed.
- outreach to about 13,000 Montanans; in future, plans to expand team and outreach
to rural and red districts. (Thanks, Barb Merrifield, for tracking the numbers.)
We’ll update MtPD membership with more statistics as they become available. Here’s
one take on the outcome of the session: https://themontanapost.com/blog/2019/04/28/
Legislators were very appreciative of the efforts made on their behalf by the Rapid
Response team. And although truly progressive, forward-thinking bills had a rough time
this session, the calls, texts, email and visits made a difference in passing some decent
legislation and blocking some of the more odious bills. A big shout out to the 40
volunteers and ten Progressive Caucus members who helped make this happen.
MtPD is working on a legislative scorecard ranking all the state senators and
representatives according to their progressive voting records. We’re picking 10-12 bills
from various disciplines: environmental, Native, campaign finance reform, social justice,
labor, women’s rights… If there are particular bills you’d like to see included, we’ll
certainly consider them. Email your suggestions to [email protected]
And stay tuned.
It seems like every cycle we say that this may be the most important election of our
lifetime, but it really isn’t an exaggeration in 2020. From our sociopath president to our
state legislators, any hope for real change rests with activists
like you. MtPD will being doing outreach, both urban and rural, to recruit, train,
campaign for and elect progressive candidates. Please give us your thoughts and work
with us to accomplish these goals. It’s not too early to start.
MtPD Annual Meeting
About 60 people attended our annual meeting in Helena on
March 9, the same weekend as the Mansfield/Metcalf dinner.
The focus was on current Rapid Response actions with an eye to the future: the 2020
elections (including recruitment, training and campaigning for progressive candidates).
Speakers included: Sen. John Tester, Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, Montana Democratic Party
Executive Director Monica Lindeen, Montana House members, Mary Ann Dunwell, Tom
Winter, Jessica Karjala, Marilyn Ryan, Tom Woods, Kim Dudick, Connie Keogh and
Andrea Olsen. Former U.S. House candidate John Heenan also addressed the crowd.
Subjects ran the gamut from Medicaid expansion and energy/climate change issues
(including reining in Northwestern Energy) to living wage and marijuana. Rapid
Response doubled-down on progressive bills moving from one chamber to the other.
State Democratic Party Needs an Environmental Partner
It has been more than two years since Montana Progressive Democrats became a
partner organization of the Montana Democratic Party. What our organization noticed at
various party conventions held each summer since our inclusion is a serious lack of
environmental input. Individuals may advance officer candidates and planks to the
platform dealing with climate change, wilderness, energy, recycling, etc., but there
hasn’t been a coordinated effort to make the Montana Democratic Party greener. A
environmental partner organization would go a long way in making this happen.
It isn’t a difficult process. Bylaws and officers are needed, and then the party’s executive
board votes on accepting the new partnership organization. If you or your environmental
organization is interested in playing a role in shaping the Montana Democratic Party’s
policies, contact Deana Dewire at [email protected] for more information.
Please Pay Your Dues and Thanks for Staying Involved
To continue the work we’re doing and build for the future, we need your support. Annual
dues are $25.00 a year or what you can afford. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mtprogressives
We’re Looking for a Treasurer
You would be a member of the MtPD Executive Board. It isn’t heavy lifting but there are
reports that need to be filed, especially during the campaign season (as we donate to
progressive candidates). Please contact us at [email protected]
Our heartfelt thanks to outgoing treasurer extraordinaire Linda Gillison.