Organize locally to create resistance to Trump’s policies

voting_handsOn Wednesday, January 4 The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) had a segment about a group of former progressive congressional staffers who created a guide to help small local groups create resistance to the Trump/GOP agenda. They incorporated the strategies used by the TEA Party to weaken (a very popular) President Obama in his first term.

We are reminded that in 2009 the president was a democrat, the Senate and House were both controlled by democrats. Opposite of what it is today. The movement that became known as the Tea Party began as small, vocal, dedicated groups of constituents who worked at holding their representatives accountable. They were locally focused. They were almost purely defensive. Their party  had no power to enact their agenda, but they were able to stop the Democrats from fully enacting theirs.

“Indivisible” points out what influences Members of Congress (MoC), and what does not. Politicians  respond to factors that affect if they get re-elected. Grass-root issue-based petitions signed by 100’s of their  constituents are more meaningful to the representatives   than on-line petitions signed by tens of thousands of Americans. Personalized statements (letters) handed to the representatives are well more important than form letters cluttering up their in-box.

The authors suggest the following activities:

  • attending Member of Congress’  Town Hall meetings question his version of the issues 
  • making phone coordinated calls to the MoC office on specific issues, organize events (rallies. etc) at the representative’s office
  • go to ‘non-town hall meetings’ that the representative attend (photo-ops, etc.) and ask him policy questions or about Trump’s latest tweet.
  • pass petitions to residents of your congressional district stating your opinion on current issues and present them to your representative’s office in person. 
  • meet with staffers and have a specific “ask” (Vote against X), leave a brief clearly written summary of your request
  • Advertise what you are doing

The guide is more than a list of strategies. It discusses how to create active groups, how to organize them and what works. It is a work in progress. It provides the group email and personal Twitter accounts and they ask for questions, recommendations feedback and stories.

Rachel’s segment below starts with three who were part of a recent sit-in at Sen. Jeff Session’s Roanoke, Virginia  office. They mention the “Indivisible” guide. Rachel explains it, then talks with one of the authors. It takes 5 1/2 minutes. You can read/download the guide from

Two days after this segment, Rachel announced that over 1,550 Indivisible groups started, and it is growing.

The key is to start.

Rep. Reed’s Offices Phone numbers

  • Washington (202) 225-3161
  • Corning–(607) 654-7566
  • Olean(716) 379-8434
  • Jamestown (607) 654-7566
  • Geneva (315) 759-5229
  • Ithaca (607) 222-2027

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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6 Responses to Organize locally to create resistance to Trump’s policies

  1. whungerford says:

    I like the ideas but see difficulties:
    1. It isn’t easy to make a point at Tom’s Townhall meetings.
    2. Tom doesn’t announce his plans for other semi-public appearances ordinarily.
    3. As a constituent reported recently–He met with Tom’s representative who took no notes during a lengthy discussion.
    Tom, an incumbent in a safe district seems remarkably disinterested in any opinion differing from his own.


  2. catkestler says:

    Very true William. I have found that sending an email and carbon copy our sitting Senators and other NY Representatives has gotten his attention because on the Hill he makes it out that everything is hunkie dory in his District. This calls him out and let’s his coworkers know he’s not pulling his weight.
    Your column pretty much refers to what OFA (Organizing For Action) has been trying to do for years. It helps when people sign up and actually follow through with what they signed up for.
    Contact me at:
    I am the current National Team Leader for Chautauqua County and I wouldn’t mind joining up with other OFA factions in the NY 23rd to hold Reed to task.
    Remember our voices are stronger together and he can’t ignore a bigger faction working together.


  3. whungerford says:

    How do you know that an email got Tom’s attention? Can you think of any instances when constituent input affected Tom’s views or votes? The ethics watchdog fiasco may have been one.


  4. Rynstone says:

    There are a few fallacies in Rachel Maddow’s piece. The TEA Party’s rise was not so much aimed at then President Obama but at the entire Congress, especially big spending and big government Republican House & Senate members. TEA Party is simply an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already”. By Both Democrats and Republicans in the Federal Government and many State Governments.
    The Obama Administration’s pushing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare) thru the Congress in early 2010 then drew the attention of the TEA Party. The Many local TEA Party groups are composed of members who are registered Democrats, Republican and Independents. Also some here in NY State are also registered Conservatives.

    The big difference between the Obama Administration and the incoming Trump Administration is that Trump is being targeted ferociously by the media before he has even taken office and being criticized by liberal and progressives in Hollywood and across the US. President elect Obama and the first year of teh Obama Administration did not draw this much criticism.
    What we are witnessing now against President elect Trump is unprecedented.


  5. Rynstone says:

    It was President Obama and others who reminded us that elections have consequences.

    Democrat, Republican and Independent voters did exactly what President Obama told them to do.

    President Obama telling illegal aliens that they can vote in US elections

    more good Obama Quotes


  6. whungerford says:

    Trump’s bizarre behavior is also unprecedented.


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