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Resister’s Digest: Trumpcare Bill Unleashes the Fury of the Left

Donations pour in to target vulnerable Republicans after House vote.

Theo Anderson

The GOP’s healthcare bill, which passed the House last Thursday, now moves to the Senate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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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.

'The country is at a point where I think it believes in universal coverage.'

The GOP’s healthcare bill, which passed the House last Thursday and now moves to the Senate, has sparked a massive wave of donations to progressive and Democratic organizations. Swing Left, which is raising funds to target the 35 most vulnerable Republicans who voted for the bill, reported that it had received about $850,000 in donations from 20,000 people in the day following the vote. That’s about four times more than the total it had collected since its launch on April 13. The website Daily Kos, which is targeting 24 GOP incumbents in districts where Trump’s share of the vote was less than 50 percent, received $800,000. In the wake of the House vote, the Cook Political Report changed its 2018 forecast for 11 House seats from likely Republican” to leans Republican.” It changed three seats from leans Republican” to toss up.”

In addition to donations, blowback to the GOP’s bill is finding various outlets:

  • Special elections: The next election will be May 25 in Montana, where progressive Rob Quist is competing for the state’s only seat in the House of Representatives. The race is a crucial test of the party’s chances to take control of the House in 2018. Several outside organizations are focusing on it, including the Fight Back PAC and Swing Left, and Quist’s campaign is seeking volunteers. His opponent, Greg Gianforte, hasn’t taken a public stance on Trumpcare but was caught on tape expressing support for the bill in a call with donors. Meanwhile, the House race in Georgia’s 6th district continues, with Democrat Jon Ossoff and the GOP candidate locked in a tight race. A poll released last week showed them statistically tied. The importance of the race is reflected in a spike in voter registration. There have been 559,000 voter-registration applications already this year, according to The Nation, versus 95,000 in 2015. The election will be held June 20, and Ossoff’s campaign continues to enlist volunteers.
  • Town halls: Only one in five Republicans — 54 of 238 — held a town hall meeting in the April House recess. They seem equally reluctant to face questions about their votes during the current recess. Those who do have faced enraged constituents. Indivisible is the single best resource for information about town halls. Its Facebook page has links to video from recent events, and its website has a page devoted to town halls, as well as one devoted to defeating Trumpcare, including a detailed plan for next steps and sample scripts for calling your representatives. Go to Town Hall Project to search for upcoming town halls.
  • Single-payer push: Last week, conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer predicted that the United States will have a single-payer healthcare system, or Medicare for all,” within seven years, because the country is at a point where I think it believes in universal coverage.” Several progressive organizations are working to make that prediction come true, in part by pushing current and prospective members of Congress to support Medicare for all. As of last week, 85 House Democrats had not yet cosponsored HR 676, a Medicare for all bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Democrat from Michigan. Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats have partnered to make it a priority, and they provide regular updates on the legislation, which has steadily gained cosponsors since January. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Working Families Party also sponsor petitions in support of Medicare for all.
  • Analysis and education: Bill​Moy​ers​.com has put together a set of recommended resources for tracking the healthcare debate and the fate of Trumpcare. They include STAT, which has a fact-check of GOP claims about its recently passed bill, the Remaking Health Care” blog by the Center for Health Journalism and the Off the Charts” blog by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
5 minutes, 5 calls

5calls​.org simplifies the process of calling Congress by offering scripts about a wide range of issues, and by providing the phone number of relevant politicians and agencies, customized to your zip code. Scripts that focus on demanding a town hall from your representative and protesting Trumpcare are at the top of the list. There are also scripts devoted to the Paris climate change agreement, net neutrality and more. The site links to articles that explain why phone calls are, by far, the most effective way to influence Congress.

Breaking the fossil fuel habit

The Global Divestment Mobilization continues this week. Last week’s actions included testimony by DC ReInvest activists at a Washington, D.C., Council budget hearing, where they urged the finance committee chair to schedule a hearing on divesting from Wells Fargo because of its investment in the Dakota Access pipeline.

Meanwhile, there is some small progress in forcing Congress to take climate change seriously: A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House on Thursday would create a commission to look for economically viable solutions to climate change,” Inside Climate News reported. It noted that amid the pro-fossil-fuels push by the Trump administration, the effort reflects how a small but increasingly vocal group of Republicans is embracing the reality of climate change and pressing the issue in Congress through modest steps.”

Electing more women and people of color

Indivisible Chicago and several other organizations are sponsoring a symposium on Tuesday, May 16, that focuses on how to elect more women and people of color. There will be speakers, breakout discussion sessions and a networking fair. General admission tickets are $25. Details here.

Summer of resistance

MoveOn​.org is organizing a resistance summer” to develop community leaders and activists who want to gain organizing skills and be part of an ongoing national network of organizers standing up to Trump’s agenda.” The program’s trainings will focus on topics like developing a campaign strategy and attracting media coverage, and its actions will focus on building relationships within communities. Each participant will also be part of a group of 25 mobilizers” who take on a specific project. The time commitment is about five hours per week, and the program runs from mid-June to early September. Applications are due by May 22. Find details here. Apply here.

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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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