Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.
Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President- Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding.
We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.
We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance,
and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.
To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.
We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.
INDIVISIBLE: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda
WHO IS THIS DOCUMENT BY AND FOR?
We: Are former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.
We: See the enthusiasm to fight the Trump agenda and want to share insider info on how best to influence Congress to do that.
You: Want to do your part to beat back the Trump agenda and understand that will require more than calls and petitions.
You: Should use this guide, share it, amend it, make it your own, and get to work.
NOTE TO IMMIGRANTS AND NONCITIZENS
The U.S. Constitution ensures equal representation for all individuals living in the United States, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, or immigration status. Noncitizens, though they may lack the right to vote in federal elections, have the right to have their voices heard by their representatives in Congress.
This guide is intended to serve as a resource to all individuals who would like to more effectively participate in the democratic process. While we encourage noncitizens to participate to the extent that they are able, individuals should only take actions that they are comfortable taking, and should consider their particular set of circumstances before engaging in any of these activities.
Individuals are under no obligation to provide any personally identifiable information to a member of Congress or their staff. Individuals may be asked for their name and zip code, but this is only to confirm that the person is a constituent, and providing this information is strictly voluntarily. NO ONE is required to provide any additional information, such as address, social security number, or immigration status.
Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes top- level takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities.
How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama. We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:
- A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).
- A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
How your MoC thinks — reelection, reelection, reelection — and how to use that to save democracy. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.
Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.
Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have three MoCs — two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voices in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:
- Town halls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.
- Non-town hall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
- District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
- Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific issue.