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November 2018, Week 2

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 		 ["Indivisible," which organized protests around the country
against the president, has written a how-to guide for a progressive
agenda in Congress. ] [https://portside.org/] 

 INDIVISIBLE GUIDE GOES ON THE OFFENSE  
[https://portside.org/2018-11-14/indivisible-guide-goes-offense] 

 

 Indivisible Guide Goes on the Offense 
 November 13, 2018
MSNBC News
[https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/key-resistance-group-plots-how-newly-elected-reps-can-take-n935786]


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 _ "Indivisible," which organized protests around the country against
the president, has written a 'how-to' guide for a progressive agenda
in Congress. _ 

 Demonstrators join a rally, organized by Indivisible and other
groups, against the proposed Republican tax reform legislation on the
east side of the U.S. Capitol Nov. 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. , Chip
Somodevilla / Getty Images file 

 

WASHINGTON — Indivisible, the grassroots movement at the center of
opposition to President Donald Trump, taught its activists how to
influence lawmakers from outside of power with an online guide
[https://indivisible.org/guide]in late 2016 based on the tea party's
tactics under Barack Obama.

Now the "resistance" group is looking to prepare its members for life
under divided government.

Indivisible's approach two years ago went viral, local chapters popped
up around the country and its members helped fuel a Democratic
takeover of the House in the midterms. The updated sequel
[https://indivisible.org/campaign/indivisible-whats-next], a guide to
"Indivisible On Offense," looks to instruct progressive members on the
power that comes with Democratic control of the House and how they can
maximize it.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman-elect from New York, speaks to
activists with the Sunrise Movement protesting in the offices of House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13,
2018.Sarah Silbiger / The New York Times - Redux Pictures

"I was calling Indivisible leaders around the country to thank them
this week and the dominant theme was 'Okay, but what are we doing
next?'" Leah Greenberg, a co-founder of Indivisible, told NBC News at
a gathering in Washington for newly elected progressives.

The the new guide includes detailed advice on pressuring members to
investigate Trump, but also on how to potentially confront Democratic
leaders to secure concessions in what Indivisible calls "must-pass
bills."

"A small group of progressives willing to vote no on must-pass bills
that Democratic leadership needs to pass gives them leverage, if
they're willing to use it," the authors write.

In a preview of how the emboldened grassroots wing might operate,
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., joined climate protesters
in occupying Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office on Tuesday. The two
exchanged kind words on Twitter, but Ocasio-Cortez's demands were more
than symbolic: She pushed for a plan to combat climate change by 2020
drafted without input from Democrats who take donations from the
fossil fuel industry.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman-elect from New York, speaks to
activists with the Sunrise Movement protesting in the offices of House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13,
2018.Sarah Silbiger / The New York Times - Redux Pictures

Indivisible's goal, according to the book, is to "pave the way to the
post-Trump era" both by stymieing the Republican agenda and by laying
the groundwork for a more robust progressive platform if they defeat
Trump in 2020.

"In 2017, they organized against Trumpcare, they made the Republican
tax scam a liability," Ezra Levin, a co-founder of Indivisible, said
in an interview. "In 2018, they registered voters, endorsed candidates
and got out the vote. In 2019, they're going to be holding those same
representatives accountable."

The tea party movement and its legislative bastion, the House Freedom
Caucus, again figure prominently in the guide. The hope is to
replicate their success in influencing legislation while avoiding some
of the movement's stumbles after their own wave election in 2010.Part
of that approach could mean standing up to Democratic leaders, but it
also means managing expectations. The tea party frequently battled
Republican leadership, sometimes forcing them to negotiate with
Democrat members on spending bills, in part because activists became
convinced they could repeal Obamacare with a Democratic president and
Senate. Those tensions peaked in 2013 when conservatives forced a
government shutdown in an unsuccessful attempt to defund the
Democratic health law.

The new guidebook doesn't dwell on how high activists should aim, but
it devotes a lot of space to distinctions between "messaging bills,"
which are designed to build support for future policy goals and put
Republicans on record opposing them, and must-pass bills like spending
legislation, where members can withhold votes to force more modest
policy changes.

"We talk to people realistically about what's going on, what we think
is possible now, and what we think will take time to accomplish, and
that's a core philosophy that animates the guide," Greenberg said.

There's plenty of material on the Democrats' new power to investigate
the White House through subpoenas and hearings, which leaders say is
likely to be a big driver of activist engagement. The authors write
that members should "demand nothing less than Democrats using their
oversight authority on Day One to obtain Trump’s tax returns," while
also pressuring lawmakers to investigate potential cabinet-level
scandals in the relevant committees.

Once again, there are some notes of caution, with a section on
impeachment warning that it's likely out of bounds unless Trump's
political support collapses and investigations producer stronger
evidence. While the guide says Indivisible supports opening
impeachment proceedings on principle, it adds "we also recognize that
impeachment is not a matter of whether someone objectively deserves to
be impeached; it's a matter of whether the votes are there."

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