- Views & Opinions
For weeks after the 2016 general election, heartache, fear and fury sent people searching for hope, comfort and a way forward.
Sales of “Nasty Woman” T-shirts rose, as did contributions to progressive groups such as Planned Parenthood and environmental organizations like the Sierra Club.
Petitions circulated demanding recounts and the abolition of the Electoral College — or at least demanding the electors refuse to vote for Donald Trump.
Marches were planned.
But what will take hold and move progressives forward beyond Jan. 20 and through 1,461 days?
In mid-December, a crowd-sourced playbook drafted by about three dozen young progressives appeared online, promoted by this tweet by one of the co-authors: “Please share w/your friends to help fight Trump’s racism, authoritarianism & corruption on their home turf.”
Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda — available under a creative commons license for download at indivisibleguide.com — went viral.
The writers, in their introduction, say they are progressive former congressional staffers “who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.”
They see “the enthusiasm to fight the Trump agenda and want to share insider info on how best to influence Congress to do that.”
And to their reader, they say, if you “want to do your part to beat back the Trump agenda … understand that will require more than calls and petitions.”
Chapter one explores how “grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama” and how grassroots advocacy can work to stop Donald Trump. “The Tea Party’s success came down to two critical strategic elements,” the writers state. First, the Tea Party was locally focused. Second, the Tea Party members were defensive — focused on saying ‘no’ to members of Congress on their home turf.
Chapter two focuses on “how your member of Congress thinks and how to use that to save democracy.” To summarize the points in this chapter: It’s all about reelection, re-election, re-election — which is every two years for U.S. representatives.
Chapter three focuses on organizing. The section opens with a quote from civil rights icon Bayard Rustin: “We need in every bay and community a group of angelic troublemakers.” The authors advise on when to form a group, how to form a group, how to recruit people to take action, and how to diversify the membership.
Chapter four provides instruction in “local advocacy tactics that actually work” and urges constituents to visit congressional offices, call representatives and especially to attend congressional town halls and listening sessions.
“We wrote this guide because we believe that the coming years will see an unprecedented movement of Americans rising up across the country to protect our values, our neighbors and ourselves,” the authors state.
“Good luck — we will win,” they conclude.