Trump Acquitted: Where Do We Go From Here?

By Penn Diehl and Alex Wyckoff

Today concludes the most consequential trial in American history, the second impeachment of Donald Trump. We at Sunrise San Diego recognize that these are confusing, tumultuous times. In light of that, we wanted to offer our thoughts not just on the state of politics, but on what we can do about them. 

Donald Trump has spent the last few months telling hundreds of disprovable lies about the legitimacy of the election. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (established under former President Trump) released a statement with its assessment that the 2020 General Election, “was the most secure in American history” and, “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” The former president’s lies climaxed in Trump making dozens of incitements to violence, including the Jan 6 rally where he whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and then ordered them to march to the Capitol and, “Fight like hell.” 

This event and many of his lies and words of incitement were well documented in the trial.  We saw shocking video of the mob he incited, crushing a police officer in a hundred pound door as rioters smashed through the Capitol and openly declared that they sought lawmakers for the purpose of executing them. In their own words, rioters credited Trump with inciting and directing them, and openly sought to murder not just Democrats, but anyone who would not decertify the election results. Rioters targeted Mike Pence, Trump’s own Vice President – himself a Republican, who at the time was the second highest ranking politician in America. Rioters actually came within seconds of encountering Pence himself. The angrily shouted words, “HANG MIKE PENCE!” will echo in the halls of Congress for decades to come. 

Though House Impeachment Managers presented irrefutable proof that Trump incited an insurrection, Republicans still acquitted him. The truth is, they had made up their minds long before the trial. Many kicked their feet up, giggled, made drawings, napped, passed notes, and tapped their fingers impatiently, while others chose not to show up at all. Worse still, Republicans, who were supposed to act as impartial jurors, were caught meeting with Trump’s defense team. In a court of law, this would never have been permitted. Rule 3.5 from the American Bar Association states: “A lawyer shall not: communicate ex parte with a judge, juror, prospective juror, or other official during the proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order.” But this was not a court. Republicans made it a partisan political theater. 

After he voted to acquit Trump in the Impeachment Trial, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (the highest ranking Republican in America) said, “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. . . . The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on the Earth.” 

Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans understand that Trump incited an armed invasion on our Capitol against American democracy. McConnell openly admits this. And still a majority of Republicans refused to convict Trump. Unmoved by facts, they hid behind technicalities in order to keep their power. Trump’s words and actions led to the death of 7 Americans (5 were killed, 2 committed suicide), the wounding of at least 140 police officers, and the wounding of untold numbers of Trump’s insurrectionists. Trump’s actions almost led to a massacre of Republican and Democratic Congresspeople alike, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is second in the line of Presidential succession after Pence. Republicans just set a precedent that future presidents can do anything they want in office and not be held accountable by their party. By failing to punish Trump for his lies and insurrection, we leave the door open for these events to repeat.

Unfortunately, Republicans shirking their responsibilities and seeking to dismantle democracy is not new. For years they have sought to disenfranchise voters by reducing the number of polling places in predominantly BIPOC communities, communities that tend to vote blue. This year they made robocalls illegally intimidating voters, limited early voting and mail voting (which likely increased COVID deaths), purged voter rolls, and created disinformation campaigns, all to reduce the number of Democratic voters. These measures combined with gerrymandering allow Republicans to choose their voters, not the other way around, guaranteeing their undemocratic minority rule. For years, they have strategically sought to make it harder for their political opponents to vote. They have admitted this openly and in court. On the other side, Democrats felt so strongly about protecting the health of our democracy and Americans’ right to vote that they introduced a sweeping voter rights and election reform proposal as the first numbered bill of the term. H.R. 1, The For the People Act of 2021 expands Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduces the influence of big money in politics, strengthens ethics rules for public servants, and implements other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and more.

Republicans for years have implemented bad policies which harmed millions of Americans. The Nixon Administration admitted it began the war on drugs not to stop drugs, but to target black Americans.The Reagan Administration admitted its economic policies, which Republicans champion to this day, do not work, and that they disproportionately hurt the working class. While Democrats have fought for healthcare reform for years, the Trump Admin. fought in court for years to try to repeal non-discrimination for pre-existing conditions. There have been at least 70 Republican-led attempts to repeal, modify or otherwise curb the Affordable Care Act between its inception as law on March 23, 2010 and July 29 2017. Though Democrats have fought to spend wisely, Republicans added $1.5 trillion to the deficit with their 2017 tax bill, which gave tax breaks and handouts to millionaires and billionaires at the cost of increasing middle and working class taxes in 2021. It gave corporations a massive permanent tax break and repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a move that is estimated to leave 13 million fewer insured in the 10 years following passage of the bill, and increase premiums by an average of 10 percent. By 2027, 53% of all Americans will see a tax increase as a result of this bill. Politics does not have to be this way.

There is a better path. Progressives across the country have suggested bold, innovative ideas to end the pandemic, make an economy that works for everyone, and address the crises of climate change, racial and socioeconomic inequality, and our crumbling infrastructure. We propose that every American has a right to affordable healthcare, education, and a job. Major bills to address these concerns are S.1129, The Medicare for All Act of 2019 (guarantees affordable healthcare and comprehensive benefits to all Americans for life, has no premiums, and replaces private insurance), S.672, the Debt-Free College Act of 2019 (makes public universities and colleges free), and H.R. 4278, The Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act Of 2019 (provides a job, with a living wage, to all citizens over age 18 seeking employment. Creates full employment and maintains price stability). These proposals all have majority support among Americans. We propose that Americans struggling during COVID deserve real help rather than months of theater that ended in a subpar, $600 stimulus check. 

We can get Americans $1400 stimulus checks, better unemployment payments, and a September extension for the federal eviction moratorium. We can provide money to help pay for utilities in these trying times. We can pass a 15% increase in food stamp benefits and additional nutritional assistance, financial aid for child care providers, limits to health care premiums, additional funding for mental health and veterans health, a $15 minimum wage, and a massive boost to vaccinations and COVID testing. And right now all of this is in one bill: President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Republicans have argued against the bill, despite polling showing broad support among Americans (A 68% approval rating, including 47% support amongst Republicans, a plurality). They claim that it is too expensive despite former President Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury saying last October that inadequate stimulus spending would weaken our economic recovery, while spending “too much” (A Republican claim for which they give no factual justification) would only strengthen and accelerate our economic recovery. In The Great Recession, Republicans also made the argument that Democrats’ proposed relief was too expensive. Democrats conceded to their demands and instead passed a much smaller package, which ultimately slowed economic recovery for Americans. We need to beat this pandemic so that we can reopen the economy and put our kids back in school. We can get this passed, but we need your help.

This effort takes all of us to succeed. That means you, your family, your friends, and your coworkers. Together, we become an unstoppable coalition. We urge you to reach out to everyone you know and get them fired up about advocating for these amazing policies. And if you’re under 35, come join the fight with the Sunrise Movement! We have a developed hub here in San Diego and are always accepting new members. We work on policy issues from the city of San Diego, all the way through the county, state, and federal levels. If you are convincing your friend to join a Sunrise hub, but they don’t live here, don’t worry! Sunrise has hubs in every state. You can find your nearest hub here: 

If you or your coworker want to change our country but are older than 35, there are a variety of organizations who are doing this work as well. Other organizations doing progressive activism include, The Sierra Club, MoveOn, Color of Change, Indivisible, The ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and the NAACP. No one leader can implement the change we need. Change begins with us, with our involvement, with our voices and with our votes. Former President Barack Obama once famously said “Yes We Can.” If we come together, however, we can do even better than that. Together we can change the narrative, and change the course of our country. Together, we can transform “Yes We Can,” into something new: “Yes We Will.” And, “Yes We Did.”


What we think of the incoming San Diego political class 2020

In general, we think we managed well this election. San Diego City Council, County Supervisors, and the Mayor are all Democrat-Controlled, which, while certainly better than Republicans, can mean many different things. We wanted to share our thoughts on the records of these officials, and where we would like to see improvement. So here are our current report cards for the political class, San Diego City and County, of 2020.

Mayor: Todd Gloria

San Diego has a long history of abusive law enforcement practices used in communities of color. The police department currently practices excessive force like curbing, lethal force, canine units, gang registrations, and gang suppression units. Mayor-Elect Todd Gloria has said explicitly that he will not defund the SDPD as mayor, but sponsored bills to demilitarize the police, end private prisons in California and ban the carotid restraint as an Assembly Member Gloria accepted endorsements from the Police Officers Association which represents San Diego Police Department officers. This may cause a conflict of interest in the future. This is pretty much inline with most elected official, but we want to see better. To stop the grade from lowering, we advise reinvesting funds from the police budget back into the community through services that improve public safety such as mental health, substance abuse and other services.



Board of County Supervisors: Nathan Fletcher

According to Climate Action Plan, the San Diego County Climate Action Plan is fatally flawed as it allows for continued urban sprawl, relies on dubious “climate offsets” and makes no attempt at curtailing road-based emissions. A Democratic controlled Board of Supervisors must act quickly to introduce a regional Climate Action Plan that addresses the climate crisis’ severity with bold action. Supervisor Nate Fletcher has been a longtime critic of San Diego County’s CAP and a welcome advocate for Community Choice Aggregation (producing regional clean energy) and smart housing plans (building housing around transit to reduce sprawl.) However, his approach is extremely technocratic and relies on electric vehicles which are unaffordable, carry large carbon footprints and ignores the fundamental intersection between good climate policy and environmental justice. He and the rest of the Board of Supervisors must produce a community-first model to tackle the issue of the climate crisis while dismantling environmental injustices present in our county. We advise Supervisor Fletcher and the rest of the Board to fully utilize this election’s Climate Mandate to fully transition San Diego’s energy, invest in robust regional mass transit and ban carbon offsets from being used to cheat San Diego’s emission reduction targets.



California Senate: Ben Hueso

Nearly 5.5 million Californians live within a mile of an oil well; the state ranks fourth in oil production in the country. Los Angeles County had 5,194 operational oil wells as of 2015, and as of 2017 over 80 percent of them sat within 2500 feet of a home, school, or hospital. AB 345 will mandate a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer zone between new oil and gas wells and sensitive land uses, which include schools, day care centers, residential homes, and hospitals, thereby creating a safe distance between drilling operations and vulnerable populations in order to avoid serious public health and safety risks and impacts. Ben Hueso made clear, in voting against AB345, that he does not stand with the frontline communities living near oil and gas extraction sites. In fact, he doesn’t want to hear these communities’ voices at all. Hueso called the legislation a “waste of time” and a “publicity stunt” by environmental justice groups. Instead of voting to protect California families and children from the health impacts of oil and gas drilling, Senator Hueso has once again failed our communities and the over 5 million Californians — mostly black, indigenous, and people of color — who live in a mile of drilling sites. During his state legislative career, Hueso has received $27,300 in campaign contributions from companies that lobbied against AB 345. Senator Hueso is bound to the interest of the fossil fuel industries, not his constituents, because he receives massive campaign donations from oil and gas corporations like Chevron, BP, and Western States Petroleum Association. We advise Senator Hueso to listen to the people, listen to his constituents, and reconsider his no vote for AB345.



California Assembly: Chris Ward

Sempra has been investigated for campaign financing violations in both the U.S. and Mexico, using strategic “contributions” to maintain and expand their network of natural gas plants. Their history of fossil fuel use, exploitation, and corruption cannot be ignored. Chris Ward has accepted campaign contributions from Sempra, giving them monetary stake and control over his political career. Chris Ward is agreeing to sacrifice air quality, noise pollution, and community health of San Diego by continuing to cooperate with Sempra. The current campaign finance structure allows coorporations to force politicians to choose profit over People. Chris Ward and the other members of the State Assembly must take the No Fossil Fuels pledge and reform campaign finance to remove the dangerous influence of corporate lobbyists.



San Diego City Council: Monica Montgomery-Steppe

Montgomery-Steppe has dedicated their career to racial justice, starting as a student in Bonita Vista Highschool by holding the school’s leadership accountable for enacting rules that racially targeted Black students for wearing bandanas. As chairperson of the City Council Public Safety committee, she has been a leading force by working with the community to put in place TRUST SD’s ordinances for protection from mass-surveillance and San Diegan’s for Justice’s Measure B for a new board to independently investigate police misconduct. In the FY 2021 city budget hearing, City Council voted 8-1 to adopt an increase of $27M to SDPD which accounts for 1/3 of the entire budget. In comparison, only $15M was allocated for COVID and rental relief. Montgomery-Steppe negotiated $3M for a Community Equity fund and to create an Office for the Race and Equity which will function to address systemic racism. We advise City Council to vote for Montgomery-Steppe for President. City Council needs to admit that systemic and institutional racism exist. Furthermore, they need bold leadership. One that has a record of working with community advocates like the Racial Justice Coalition, TRUST SD, Pillars of the Community. These relationships will build trust and make tangible changes to bring equity and racial justice to BIPOC people and communities.

Montgomery: A
City Council: B

KPBS Podcast: Monica Montgomery Responds To Criticism Over SDPD Funding

NBC: City Council Approves Budget with $27M

SDUT: Montgomery will bring ‘no-excuses’ attitude, policy expertise to San Diego City Hall

KPBS Video: Community Conversation: The Future of Policing in San Diego

VOSD Podcast: Why Montgomery Steppe wants to be city council president

We’ll be checking with everyone 100 days after being sworn in. We hope to see good progress from everyone, but are ready to do our part in keeping them accountable if they don’t.


Justicia Racial

Today starts hispanic heritage month, (and in spite of this), Sunrise SD will be highlighting Xicanx history and impacts of colonialism on our region and how its impacting the health and quality of life of people in our community.
Did you know “Hispanic” is a misguided blanket term when you consider the complex identities within the Latinx community. The Oxford Dictionary defines the term as “relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Central and South America” and as “relating to Spanish-speaking people or their culture, especially in the U.S.” In Spanish,
“Hispanic” translates to Hispano: “a person descended from Spanish settlers in the Southwest before it was annexed to the U.S.”
“[‘Hispanic’] is very Eurocentric and it denies our indigenous heritage,” Matthew R. Fraijo wrote in his 2004 coming-of-age book, The Transcendent Journey. “The Aztecs had a society far more advanced than anything in Europe at the time. Look, the word has the root ‘panic’ in it. But whose panic? His panic. The white man’s panic.”
“Latino” and “Latina” work around this by including people from all Latin countries, though with a gendered subtext. That is why “Latinx” is a more favorable and inclusive term.
Sunrise SD hopes to share knowledge and different perspectives on Xicanx history, and if there is something you think we left out or we didnt consider, please let us know as we are all growing together!
A note on language: Throughout this month we will be using the term ‘Xicanx’. We’re doing this for a few reasons. First, the term rejects any nationalist identity — as opposed to ’Mexican-American or Latin-American — and instead emphasizes an identity rooted in political activism and decolonization. We use an ‘X’ in stead of the traditional ‘Ch’ in the beginning, as it aligns with the indigenous etymology of the term. We use an ‘x’ at the end to make it a gender-neutral term that inclusive to all gender identities.

Hoy comienza el mes de la herencia hispana, (y a pesar de esto), Sunrise SD destacará la historia de Xicanx y los impactos del colonialismo en nuestra región y cómo está impactando la salud y la calidad de vida de las personas en nuestra comunidad.
¿Sabías que “hispanic” es un término general equivocado cuando consideras las complejas identidades dentro de la comunidad latinx? El Diccionario Oxford define el término como “relacionado con España o con países de habla hispana, especialmente los de América Central y del Sur” y como “relacionado con personas de habla hispana o su cultura, especialmente en los Estados Unidos”. En español, “hispanic” se traduce como hispano: “una persona descendiente de colonos españoles en el suroeste antes de que fuera anexada a los Estados Unidos”.
“[‘Hispanic’] es muy eurocéntrico y niega nuestra herencia indígena”, escribió Matthew R. Fraijo en su libro de 2004 sobre la mayoría de edad, The Transcendent Journey. “Los aztecas tenían una sociedad mucho más avanzada que cualquier otra en Europa en ese momento. Mira, la palabra tiene la raíz “pánico”. ¿Pero de quién es el pánico? Hispano. El pánico del hombre blanco “.
“Latino” y “Latina” solucionan este problema al incluir a personas de todos los países latinos, aunque con un subtexto de género. Es por eso que “Latinx” es un término más favorable e inclusivo.
Sunrise SD espera compartir conocimientos y diferentes perspectivas sobre la historia de Xicanx, y si hay algo que crees que dejamos de lado o que no consideramos, ¡avísanos ya que todos estamos creciendo juntos!
Una nota sobre el lenguaje: a lo largo de este mes usaremos el término “Xicanx”. Hacemos esto por varias razones. En primer lugar, el término rechaza cualquier identidad nacionalista, a diferencia de ’mexicano-estadounidense o latinoamericano, y en cambio enfatiza una identidad arraigada en el activismo político y la descolonización. Usamos una “X” en lugar de la “Ch” tradicional al principio, ya que se alinea con la etimología indígena del término. Usamos una “x” al final para que sea un término de género neutro que incluya todas las identidades de género.

Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was a queer Xicana activist, teacher and writer who is known for her work in advancing Xicana feminist theory. During her graduate studies at University of Texas at Austin, she taught a course called “La Mujer Chicana” and was inspired to elevate Xicanx voices as she realized that there was a lack of written material about them. She used her writing as a platform to heal from her own experiences of loneliness and marginalization. She produced literary works such as Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza which detailed her life, explored the merging of cultures on the Mexican and Texas border, and the inequalities that persisted. She also co-edited an anthology of multicultural feminist writings called  This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.

Gloria Anzaldúa fue una activista, maestra y escritora chicana queer que es conocida por su trabajo en el avance de la teoría feminista xicana. Durante sus estudios de posgrado en la Universidad de Texas en Austin, enseñó un curso llamado “La Mujer Chicana” y se inspiró para elevar las voces de los xicanxs al darse cuenta de que faltaba material escrito sobre ellos. Usó su escritura como plataforma para recuperarse de sus propias experiencias de soledad y marginación. Produjo obras literarias como Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza que detalla su vida, explora la fusión de culturas en la frontera de México y Texas, y las desigualdades que persisten. También coeditó una antología de escritos feministas multiculturales llamada This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.

News Releases

December Nights Attendees Join in Moment of Silence for the Climate Crisis

San Diegans joined youth climate strike leaders in the midst of December Nights Festivities to demand citywide action on the continuing climate crisis.

SAN DIEGO, CA — Young climate strike leaders called on San Diego City Council to declare a climate emergency and implement a San Diego Green New Deal during a demonstration at December Nights.

Strike leaders took to the Bon Temps Social Club Stage in the Plaza de Panama for a spontaneous announcement to the thousands of festival goers. “We usually try to target politicians because they are the ones who can fulfill our asks, but what we really need is the power of the people united to pressure our elected officials,” explained Leah Spinner, the Actions Organizer for the group. “We decided to do it at December nights, one of the most popular events in San Diego. We are asking all of the people here to help us pressure city council to adopt the Green New Deal for the city and to declare a climate emergency right away.”

Peter Oliver, Gator by the Bay producer and stage emcee, invited Leah and two other organizers, Nikayla Jefferson and Nicolai Reeve, to interrupt the scheduled performance. The strike organizers led the audience for a 10 minute sit in, pointing attention to the landmark climate report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report warns there are only 11 years for global warming to remain under 1.5 degrees celsius, otherwise exponentially worsening the risks of extreme weather events and exacerbating the migration and poverty of millions of people.

Many attendees joined in the chants and cheered on the strikers as they waited out the 10 minutes in the middle of the dance floor in front of the Bon Temps Social Club Stage. “By calling upon San Diego City Council to declare a climate emergency and pass a Green New Deal, young people are issuing a challenge to the political establishment at large,” explained Nikayla Jefferson. “Either candidates stand with young people to ensure clean air, water, and justice for all, or run the risk of being voted out in the next election.”

The San Diego chapter of the national Sunrise Movement is planning additional sit-ins and actions to pressure the City to meet their demands.