Our vote is our voice and the people have spoken. As veterans who swore to defend our democratic institutions, we turned out to vote in record numbers. We are proud of our fellow Americans who exercised their right to vote despite a pandemic, an economic collapse, and attempts to silence us at the polls through blatant voter suppression tactics. We came together to send a strong message that the American people have a vision of justice and liberty for all.
“Veterans sent a message to Trump: you’re fired!” said US Army Veteran, Jim Sandoe from Pennsylvania. “the last four years have been difficult for those of us who believe in social and racial justice, for women’s rights and who see the dangers of climate change. For Joe Biden to win the Presidency, especially with Pennsylvania putting him over the top, is gratifying and a great relief. But we must remember that despite our jubilation, we have a very deep hole to crawl out of. This is not the time to rest because of our hard-fought victory, but to double our efforts to see that the power is returned to the people. All of the people. It’s time to get to work.”
At the start of Election Day just under 100 million Americans had cast a ballot using early voting, far exceeding the 47 million people that voted early in 2016. This massive turnout is no coincidence. This is the result of 4 years of an abusive Trump administration and the tireless work of grassroots organizations mobilizing communities to take back our power all across the nation.
Common Defense was first formed in 2016 by veterans uniting against Trump’s campaign of hate, and his use of veterans as props. For the last four years, tens of thousands of veterans across the country have worked to defeat Trump’s racist, self-serving agenda, and to hold his enablers accountable.
“This election year we organized veteran communities in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, and Maine. In the last two weeks before Election Day we contacted around 80,000 veterans to get them out to vote. And we trained hundreds of veterans to be ready to mobilize around the country to defend our democracy by demanding every vote be counted. Our veteran community showed up to uphold the oath that we swore to defend our democracy and triumphed,” stated US Army Veteran and Common Defense’s Executive Director Jose Vasquez.
“This victory belongs to everyone, but especially the selfless, dedicated organizers all across the country from the multi-racial, working class progressive movement. As part of that movement, our veterans were determined to vote Trump out by persuading and mobilizing the largest, most diverse coalition ever – and we succeeded. Today, we start a process of collective healing and the work has just begun – but when we come together we have the power to bring about change,” said Stephanie Flores, US Navy veteran and Common Defense’s communications manager.
We look forward to continuing to work with grassroots organizations around the country to demand the change we need. We are confident that the Biden administration will remain accountable to the coalition that put him in the White House, and we look forward to partnering with President-elect Biden to implement his policy platform – including his commitment to bring the Forever War to an end.
Tomorrow, we will start rebuilding our nation better, together. Common Defense represents the largest, most organized community of progressive veterans in the US and we will continue to recruit and organize more progressive veterans to continue the fight for everything our communities deserve.
Team Common Defense