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

Donations pour in to target vulnerable Republicans after House vote.

Theo Anderson May 8, 2017

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

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.

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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