Resister’s Digest: Sputtering Congress Takes a Break. The Resistance Gears Up.

Protests, town halls and other events are scheduled for this recess.

Theo Anderson April 3, 2017

By failing to explicitly use the term “working class,” the party risks not being heard by the very voters who have the most at stake in this election. (Mark Dixon/ Flickr)

Resister’s Digest is a week­ly roundup that spot­lights ways read­ers can con­nect with and learn about cam­paigns to oppose Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s agen­da, pro­tect human rights and pro­mote equal­i­ty. Have ques­tions or tips? Con­tact writer Theo Ander­son at theo@​inthesetimes.​com.

"During the recess in February, boisterous town halls helped stop the momentum in Congress for repealing the Affordable Care Act."

Late this week, Con­gress begins a two-week break from its three months of paral­y­sis and fail­ure to pass Don­ald Trump’s leg­isla­tive agen­da. Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑Texas) recent­ly said his par­ty has four pri­or­i­ties for the remain­der of the year: repeal­ing Oba­macare, pass­ing tax cuts, reduc­ing reg­u­la­tions and approv­ing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

This has the poten­tial to be the most pro­duc­tive Con­gress in decades,” Cruz said. On the oth­er hand, if we screw those four up, 2017 could be a heart­break­ing missed opportunity.”

Dur­ing the recess in Feb­ru­ary, bois­ter­ous town halls helped stop the momen­tum in Con­gress for repeal­ing the Afford­able Care Act, or Oba­macare. Sup­port for the law has spiked sharply since then, with 65 per­cent of respon­dents to a poll last week say­ing that Oba­macare should be kept as it is, or strength­ened. Among Repub­li­cans, oppo­si­tion to it has dropped by 11 points since Feb­ru­ary, to 57 per­cent. Over­all, only 26 per­cent of respon­dents favored out­right repeal; anoth­er 7 per­cent thought it should be changed to do less.

More town hall and oth­er events are sched­uled for this recess, which runs from April 7 – 23. MoveOn​.org is com­pil­ing a list here, and offers mate­ri­als and videos to help with plan­ning and pulling off a suc­cess­ful town hall here. Indi­vis­i­ble also offers a detailed guide to prepar­ing for a town hall event and how to effec­tive­ly take part in one. For exam­ple, it sug­gests telling per­son­al sto­ries, which have the pow­er to dis­rupt a [Mem­ber of Con­gress’] nor­mal pro­ce­dure for inter­act­ing with con­stituents,” because there is no way to deflect or dodge when faced with a pow­er­ful per­son­al sto­ry.” Find the guide here. On Tues­day, Indi­vis­i­ble will also con­duct a webi­nar to hear about this recess’ pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties and our lat­est tips on how to hold your Mem­ber of Con­gress account­able.” Find details and sign up for that event here.

Ral­ly­ing for eco­nom­ic, racial and gen­der justice

Fight for $15 and Black Lives Mat­ter are spon­sor­ing ral­lies for eco­nom­ic and racial jus­tice on April 4, the 49th anniver­sary of the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Find details here. A 2014 report by the Pew Research Cen­ter found that the wealth gap between whites and African-Amer­i­cans con­tin­ues to grow. In 2004, white house­holds had about sev­en times as much wealth as African-Amer­i­can fam­i­lies. By 2013, they had 13 times as much.

April 4 is also Equal Pay Day, which rep­re­sents how far into the new year women must work to close the earn­ings gap with men. In 2015, women made only 80 cents for every dol­lar earned by men,” accord­ing to the Insti­tute for Women’s Pol­i­cy Research, and in mid­dle-skill occu­pa­tions [like man­u­fac­tur­ing], work­ers in jobs main­ly done by women earn only 66 per­cent of work­ers in jobs main­ly done by men.” Equal Pay Day events are sched­uled for Chica­go, Den­ver, Orlan­do, Indi­anapo­lis, New York City, New Orleans and sev­er­al oth­er cities, which can be found here.

Berniecrats at the polls and on the ticket

A spe­cial elec­tion for California’s 34th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict on Tues­day is being viewed as a test of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ con­tin­u­ing influ­ence with­in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. Sev­er­al Berniecrats” are among the two dozen peo­ple com­pet­ing in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry. In the 2016 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, the dis­trict went for Sanders over Clin­ton by a mar­gin of 3.6 points.

Flip­pable is com­pil­ing a list of upcom­ing spe­cial elec­tions here. The orga­ni­za­tion focus­es pri­mar­i­ly on state-lev­el races, and it aims to turn our coun­try blue from the ground up” by offer­ing data on the most flip­pable seats and provid[ing] mean­ing­ful actions to win, through spread­ing aware­ness, vol­un­teer­ing, and donat­ing.” Flip­pable is now focused on races in Vir­ginia, North Car­oli­na and New Jer­sey, and plans to broad­en out its focus next year. Find its act now” page here. Watch its inter­view with Jon Ossoff, a Demo­c­rat com­pet­ing in the spe­cial elec­tion in Georgia’s 6th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, here.

Push­ing for sin­gle-pay­er healthcare

The Cam­paign for New York Health, which is devot­ed to pass­ing and imple­ment­ing leg­is­la­tion for uni­ver­sal health care in New York State,” is orga­niz­ing a statewide day of lob­by­ing and a ral­ly on Tues­day, April 4, in Albany. Reg­is­ter here.

The People’s Health Move­ment is tak­ing part in a glob­al day of action” against the pri­va­ti­za­tion of health­care, with events in sev­er­al cities. Details here. Health Over Prof­it for Every­one has tools and ideas for tak­ing action here.

Ris­ing up

People’s Action is plan­ning Rise Up,” a mul­ti-day event, in Wash­ing­ton D.C., April 23 – 25. It will mark and build upon the first 100 days of resis­tance to the Don­ald Trump pres­i­den­cy.” There will be speak­ers, ses­sions and spe­cial events devot­ed to unveil[ing] a new polit­i­cal force com­prised of peo­ple unit­ed against the Trump-Ryan-McConnell agen­da.” Tick­ets are $99 for a sin­gle day and $200 for a three-day pass. Reg­is­ter here.

Theo Ander­son is an In These Times con­tribut­ing writer. He has a Ph.D. in mod­ern U.S. his­to­ry from Yale and writes on the intel­lec­tu­al and reli­gious his­to­ry of con­ser­vatism and pro­gres­sivism in the Unit­ed States. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Theoanderson7.
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