ADVERTISEMENT

There’s a lot of talk about progressives forming an actual, functional movement. Ordinarily, progressives blow off steam, with silliness, like the Occupy Movement, which was big on symbolism and had zero effect on the real world. They risk doing that again, calling themselves “the Resistance,” but some are also talking about forming a left-wing movement fashioned after the Tea Party, called, “Indivisible.”

ADVERTISEMENT

After the largest change election in a long time, and the highest approval ratings seen in decades, progressives thought they had a Reagan-like movement in 2008. But the Tea Party was all over the media by 2009, and took control in 2010, wiping out any chance of Obama accomplishing much.

Democrats could get a movement going, especially if the excessive expectations on Trump bring frustration among blue collar workers, for instance. But it’s a reach. Republicans are sitting pretty to maintain majorities in both the House and Senate in 2018. But that could change. After all, who would have thought Trump would be able to win Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and even Wisconsin and Michigan??

The Washington Enquirer says progressives are finally waking up to strategy.

A group of former Democratic congressional staffers wants to stop President Trump and thinks emulating the Tea Party is the way to do so, assembling a new group called “Indivisible” to push back against Trump from the grassroots.

Their manifesto, “Indivisible: A practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda,” is a 26-page “how to” manual written by scores of former staffers that outlines how progressives can use the most successful tactics employed by the Tea Party to their advantage. . .

“We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components: A local strategy targeting individual members of Congress; a defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption,” they wrote.

They advise voters to assemble at the local level and to focus solely on their own elected representatives. . .

“[W]e can all learn from their success in influencing the national debate and the behavior of national policymakers,” the group says about the Tea Party. “To their credit, they thought thoroughly about advocacy tactics.”

The “indivisible” group does not advocate replicating bullying and violent methods, which they say the Tea Party used.

“In terms of some of that violence and aggressive and abusive rhetoric and behavior — we are 100 percent opposed to that as a tactic and it’s not consistent with our values,” Padilla said.

You can get the booklet here.

One of the things “Indivisible” suggests is going to go to town halls, but from my experience, that’s a waste of time if the representative is not in a contested district. In fact, town halls can be counter-productive. In 2003, leading up to the Iraq War, Republican Representative Fred Upton scheduled a number of town halls in Michigan—not to “hear” from constituents, but to let them blow off steam.

Prior to the town halls, people talked about going into the streets to protest. But after speaking at the town halls, all their energy was gone. They even kissed up to Upton, gee wiz, thanking him for “listening.” He wasn’t listening. He voted against their wishes, and since their energy had been dissipated, there was no protest—and the country was doomed to be in Iraq for many years.

As noted above, 2018 will not be as friendly to progressives as 2010 was for conservatives, according to The Blaze.

The problem progressives face is that the 2018 electoral map presents a brutal challenge for Democrats, particularly in the Senate. Democrats will be defending an astounding 25 seats in the Senate, compared to only eight for Republicans. Moreover, none of the Republican seats up in 2018 is in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, whereas Democrats will be defending 10 seats in states won by Trump.

Democrats’ best chance in 2018 might well be to retake the House and replicate the Republicans’ tactics of forcing constant budget showdowns with Trump over policy areas that are mostly unrelated to the actual budget.

Of course, thanks to clever and powerful Gerrymandering, it’s really not likely that Democrats will pick up many seats in the House.

The Women’s March showed some power.

They want to be the tea party, but they’re worried they’ll be Occupy Wall Street.

Millions of people — hundreds of thousands in Washington alone — flooded cities across the country on Saturday, completely overwhelming expectations and planned routes for the Women’s March. With the stands behind them at the Capitol still in place from President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, they covered the Mall well beyond the crowd that showed for him.

Now they have to figure out what to do next to channel the raw energy of the marches into political action. And what is it that they’re about: Women’s equality? Reproductive rights? Race? Climate change? Stopping Trump from putting someone they don’t want on the Supreme Court? Making him release his taxes? All of the above? Signs (and costumes) for all of that and more were all over the place on Saturday. . .

It has to be more than opposition in order to have an impact. And, like the Tea Party, “Indivisible” will have to challenge the its own party.

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, an initial Sanders backer, made a sharp plea for a more organized opposition.

“The old guard of the Democratic Party has got to go,” Moore told a crowd that included many Democratic members of Congress. He urged marchers to call their elected representatives “every single day” to speak up against Trump’s policies, and expressed support for Rep. Keith Ellison, one of six candidates to be the new Democratic National Committee chair.

Some say Bernie Sanders is the natural leader of “Indivisible.” But he has his own opinions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders bristled at the idea that liberal protests against President Donald Trump all over the country are analogous to the protests and demonstrations that marked the beginning of the tea party movement.

“It’s not a tea party because the tea party was essentially funded by the billionaire Koch brothers family,” Sanders said during an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “This is a spontaneous and grass-roots uprising of the American people.”. . .

“On February 25th, two weeks from yesterday, there is in fact going to be rallies all over this country, and I think you’re going to see people in conservative areas, in progressive areas, asking the Republicans: ‘What are you going to do when you throw 23 million people off of health insurance?'” Sanders said, adding: “‘How many of them are going to die? What’s your plan when you raise prescription drug costs, on average, $2,000 for senior citizens? Are you really going to repeal the protection against preexisting conditions so that people who have cancer or heart disease will no longer be able to have health insurance? You going to throw kids off of their parents’ health insurance programs?’

Sanders has given us a “red line.” If there are huge protests the weekend after this, Indivisible will be on its way to having an impact. If the energy has already dissipated, with small crowds, regardless of volume, then “Indivisible” will just be another embarrassing footnote. Time will tell.

Add Comment | Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Filed in: General News Tagged in:
Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

Subscribe Via Email

Sign up for instant election alerts and the latest content delivered to your inbox:

Comments