“Freedom or Fascism:” Deb Haaland, Priya Sundareshan, and Oscar De Los Santos Powerfully Lay Out What is at Stake in the 2024 Elections

Photo by Delaney Corcoran.

“Freedom or Fascism?”

“Our Elections Matter.” “Our Votes Matter.”

“Having elected officials who care about you and your family and not just themselves.”

“Make no mistake He (Donald Trump) will take a wrecking ball to the foundations of our Democracy.”

Photo by Delaney Corcoran.

Earlier this evening (June 21, 2024) at the Copper Star Coffee Cafe in Phoenix, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, Arizona State Senator Priya Sundareshan, and State Representative Oscar De Los Santos powerfully laid out what is at stake in the upcoming November elections, making the case why President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should be re-elected to a second term and Democrats up and down the ballot should be chosen to serve the people.

State Representative Oscar De Los Santos. Photo by David Gordon.

Representative Oscar De Los Santos Sets the Mood for the Campaign Event

Representative De Los Santos set the mood for the evening for the audience by asking “Are you excited to send Donald Trump to the trash bin of History this November? Are you excited to send Kari Lake to whatever dark Q’Anon corner of the internet she came from this November?”

He ably framed what was at stake by telling the audience that this election was not about “Two candidates, or two politicians, or two political parties? Frankly, it’s not even a choice between liberals and conservatives…This is a choice that fundamentally comes down to choosing between a future that is decided by freedom or one characterized by fascists.”

He then pointed out a couple of contrasts between President Biden and Donald Trump in this election including:

  • Somebody (Trump) who says he wants to be a Dictator on day one versus somebody (Biden) who granted one of the biggest reprieves for immigrants in American history just this week.
  • Somebody (Biden) who has signed into law the most historic climate change legislation and brought down prescription drug prices for seniors versus somebody (Trump) who’s committed 34 felonies.

When asked to elaborate on his remarks comparing the two candidates after the event, Representative De Los Santos offered:

“You’ve got one candidate (Trump) who’s already pledging to not accept the results of the election if he wins who’s pledging to be a quote dictator on day one versus the Democrat President Joe Biden who is ensuring that more people can vote. He’s looking to strengthen voter protections in the US Congress. So this couldn’t be more clear. It frankly isn’t about left versus right or Democrat versus Republican at this point. It’s about American versus Un-American.”

Senator Priya Sundareshan Speaks on the Vital Need to Protect Reproductive Freedom this Election.

Saying it’s because of Donald Trump and his three Supreme Court picks that Arizona is currently living under extreme abortion bans, Senator Sundareshan spoke passionately on an issue she championed throughout the last session of the Arizona State Legislature: Protecting Reproductive Freedom.

State Senator Priya Sundareshan. Photo by David Gordon.

After praising the successful efforts of the Democrats at the State Capitol to help repeal the 1864 era Abortion Ban that Donald Trump’s Supreme Court resurrected on the Grand Canyon State with their overturning of Roe v Wade, she reminded the audience that the new post-Roe reality makes “our state legislature plays an outsized role in protecting our rights or in not protecting our rights” and it was necessary to elect Democrats who have vowed to protect them.

She warned that “Arizona’s Republicans in the State Legislature and all the way up to the top are extreme and have followed Donald Trump, carving themselves in their his image, vowing to the MAGA wing of the Republican Party that they’re looking to restrict access to things like medication abortions, contraception, and even essential medical services like In Vitro Fertilization.”

She warned, citing the contents of the Project 2025 report, “that Donald Trump and his allies are going to continue to come for our rights, and, if given the chance, he and his allies will ban medication abortion nationwide. His allies have published their plans to get rid of, to rip away access to reproductive health care, including medication abortion and birth control in all 50 states by Executive action, so they may not need the help of Congress.”

In her closing comments, Sundareshan struck an optimistic note on the power of the people, saying, “Arizona’s votes matter. Our elections matter. Our votes matter…Representation matters...We’ve got to make sure that we turn out the vote because… we have the chance this November to put in our State Constitution, the right to reproductive freedom. But we also have to protect these rights at the national level as well and that includes the White House. We have to get Joe Biden back into the White House…We have to make sure that Donald Trump does not find his way back to the White House because then no one in Arizona will be safe if they follow through with their plans.

After the event, Senator Sundareshan conveyed her admiration for Secretary Haaland, calling her “a trailblazer” as a House Representative and Cabinet Secretary.

When asked to elaborate on her earlier remarks at the event she said:

We’re at a Crossroads again. We can continue to see our trajectory rising with the reelection of Joe Biden, but we also have the great risk that we could go back to the times of Donald Trump and all the terrible fears and darkness that brought.” 

When asked to comment on how Biden/Harris policies have benefited Arizona, Senator Sundareshan said:

“I mean just underlining the number of jobs that have been created during President Biden’s term. I think that’s really one key focus and I mean, it’s not just jobs. It’s good paying jobs. It’s union jobs. It’s jobs that have these protections. I think 15 million jobs have translated well in Arizona.”

“I have gone to many opening ceremonies (like a recent event for the opening of a Solar Gains facility in Tucson)and things like that”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Talks about “America’s Comeback Story” under the Biden/Harris Administration and Lays Out What is At Stake in this Election.

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland. Photo by David Gordon.

Picking up where Senator Sundareshan left off, Secretary Haaland told the audience that “representation does matter” and they, the people, have the power to go out, and educate their communities on what is at stake in this election and which ticket “Do we trust to fight for us for our families and for our future.”

She then went through a recent history lesson of what the country was like that last year of the Trump/Pence Administration, calling it “dark” because of the “deadly pandemic raging (thanks in part to Mr. Trump’s mismanagement across the country.”

She also reminded the people gathered that “there were thousands of small businesses that were shuttering, some of them forever. Millions of Americans were losing their jobs. Democracy was hanging by a thread. We were lurching from crisis to crisis all exacerbated by a chaotic dangerous President who was only thinking about himself every single day and never thought one time about you or me. We were a nation in desperate need of a healing voice in the state and how we found that in President, Joe Biden.”

The Secretary then recited the accomplishments and achievements of the Biden/Harris Administration, calling it “A great American comeback story. These accomplishments included:

  • “Investing in America’s middle class, rebuilding our economy for the middle out and the bottom up. 
  • A record chattering 15 million jobs.
  • More than 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs have returned to our shores and many of those are union jobs.
  • Main streets Across America are booming. Small businesses are launching at record rates. Latino entrepreneurs are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in over a decade. Black business ownership is growing at the highest rate in three decades.
  • The landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure investments. He’s modernizing roads, bridges, trains, public transit, and more making communities safer cleaner, and easier to navigate.
  • Lower drug costs for seniors on medications like insulin.
  • Inflation has cooled… Gas, milk, toys, appliances, electronics, car rentals, and airfare will all cost less than they did a year ago… Prices are down. Wages are up. Jobs are abundant and America is building again.
  • A recent rise in consumer confidence.
  • Expanded benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances (The Pact Act.)
  • The first major gun violence law in a generation.
  • The most consequential climate action in history.
  • Restored American leadership on the world stage rallying our allies to defend.”

Ms. Haaland thanked the Biden/Harris supporters in the room and others who voted in 2020 and 2022 that helped make the above results possible.

She then laid out the stakes in the upcoming November election, telling those gathered that the mission is to re-elect the Biden/Harris ticket so they can finish the job they started in 2021 and reminding them of the need to return the current administration and “elected officials that care about you and your family and not just themselves.”

She reminded everyone that the Biden/Harris Administration is about:

  • Having an America “where everybody has a fair shot at a better life no matter where you’re from.”
  • To give “all Americans more freedom.”

The Secretary reminded everyone of the never-ending turmoil that was the four years of the twice-impeached Trump Administration calling the 45th White House occupant “criminally indicted and disgraced” whose “office every day brought chaos, crisis, and corruption as he put his own interests ahead of ours.”

Ms. Haaland pointed out, based on the experience of January 6, 2021, the dangers to the American Republic, noting that “he (Trump) won’t think twice about burning down our Democracy just to stay in power except this time, he’s not even trying to hide it…He pledged to be a dictator on day one. That should scare every single one of us. And he declared that immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country. He told insurrectionists who tried to end American Democracy I am your retribution. He vowed to go after those who dared defy him using the full might of the federal government. Make no mistake. He will take a wrecking ball to the foundations of our democracy. And that means we have no choice but to beat him.”

She also evoked the MAGA Republican Domestic Agenda including “making the economy for the ultra-rich, breaking Social Security and Medicare, ripping away Health Care, outlawing abortion, polluting our planet, undermining our elections, and diminishing America’s standing in the world.”

In her closing remarks, the Secretary relayed:

“As our economy and our democracy continue to recover from the chaos of Donald Trump, we simply can’t afford to turn back the hands of time and go back to that dark and dangerous time. The stakes in the election couldn’t be higher in November. Our nation will choose between two dramatically different visions for our future. MAGA Republicans see a land of carnage. Joe and Kamala and the Democrats see a land of possibilities. MAGA Republicans see a failed state. Joe, Kamala, and the Democrats see the greatest country on Earth. MAGA Republicans see Americans as angry and divided. Joe, Kamala, and the Democrats know we can still do anything as long as we do it together.”

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2 thoughts on ““Freedom or Fascism:” Deb Haaland, Priya Sundareshan, and Oscar De Los Santos Powerfully Lay Out What is at Stake in the 2024 Elections”

  1. In the book Caste, which I am re-reading, the author and Cheryl Ifill suggest the question that we should pose regarding the “best interest’ of the working class and poor in the U.S. If you had to vote today, would you vote for democracy or whiteness? Many of the working class and poor will vote for whiteness because it gives them some “status” in the world i.e. a step above Blacks even at the loss of their own well being, their incomes, their health insurance, and their children’s education. Do not underestimate the negative impact of slavery and racism on this country.

    • What was the LBJ quote? “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”


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