On 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 https://www.indivisibleguide.com.
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