Resister’s Digest: Want to Fight Trump? Upcoming Special Elections Could Hand Him Defeats

“Tax Day” marches and rallies for immigrant rights are also planned this week.

Theo Anderson

In a suburban district north of Atlanta, Democrat Jon Ossoff leads in the polls, running on a “Make Trump Furious” campaign. (Jon Ossoff/ Facebook)

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 races will measure the electoral intensity of the resistance to Trump."

The first special elections of Donald Trump’s presidency are approaching, with House elections scheduled for Tuesday, in Kansas, and in Georgia on Tuesday, April 18. The races will measure the electoral intensity of the resistance to Trump, since both races are in traditional GOP strongholds. Trump won the Kansas district by about 30 points, but the Republican candidate, Ron Estes, has run a weak campaign, and Vice President Mike Pence has been enlisted to help out. Meanwhile, in a suburban district north of Atlanta, Democrat Jon Ossoff leads in the polls, running on a Make Trump Furious” campaign. If no candidate gets a majority of the votes, the top two candidates will compete in a June 20 election.

In Montana, a Bernie Sanders supporter and popular folk singer, Rob Quist, is running for the state’s only House seat. The election will be May 25. Quist’s priorities include support for a single-payer healthcare system and preservation of public lands. Though Montana traditionally votes Republican, one of its senators, Jon Tester, is a Democrat. Sanders has said he will go to Montana to campaign with Quist as part of a national movement-building tour that launches in the coming weeks.

There are several resources for tracking and engaging with electoral politics:

  • Justice Democrats, for example, intends to rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch and make it represent the American people.” Along with Brand New Congress, it is recruiting progressive candidates to run for Congress. Suggest a qualified candidate here. Together, the organizations have talked with about 500 potential candidates;
  • Run for Something is recruiting and supporting progressive candidates under the age of 35;
  • Knock Every Door aims to build an army of volunteers to canvass the entire nation;
  • Swing Left focuses on 52 House districts that were decided by a margin of 15 percent or less in the November election;
  • Flippable focuses primarily on winning state elections but maintains a list of all upcoming special elections here.
Tax Day” uprising

Tax Day” marches are planned for April 15 in most major cities and many smaller cities across the nation, including Yuma, Arizona, Boise, Idaho, Greenville, South Carolina, Marquette, Michigan, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Trump’s not-yet-released tax returns will be a primary focus of most rallies, but many — such as the one in Bangor, Maine — are also focusing broadly on greater transparency in government and a fairer tax system. Search for nearby rallies here.

Resistance recess rallies

Indivisible has a recess toolkit” for applying pressure on members of Congress during their April recess. The toolkit includes Robert Reich’s suggestions for the most important issues to discuss with legislators, sample questions for town halls and advice for resisting Trump’s proposed budget. Find the toolkit here, and search for Indivisible groups and events here.

Immigrant rights actions

On Thursday, April 13, Chicago-area Jews and allies will use the rituals of the Passover seder to protest the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee policies. The organizers note that we will participate as a community in a program that recognizes that we are all refugees fleeing from tyranny; we are all immigrants in a strange land.” Details here. In New York City, there will be a seder in the streets” to demand that the mayor make New York a real Sanctuary City for all of those facing oppression.” Register here.

In Los Angeles on Thursday, a coalition of faith, labor, civil rights and immigrant groups will gather for the Interfaith Day of Prophetic Action. We call on all people of goodwill to create sanctuary spaces whenever possible,” they note, and to provide radical hospitality to the immigrant and refugee community.” Find details on the day of action here. In Boston, there will be a rally for immigrant rights on the Boston Common, in which college campuses across Boston will stand together to show solidarity and support for immigrants in our communities and on our campuses.” Details here.

Kids caravan to D.C.

Forty young people have embarked on a journey from Miami to Washington D.C., with stops in Atlanta and Raleigh, North Carolina. They’re part of the We Belong Together” kids caravan, a project of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and several allied organizations. Many of the young people have been affected by deportations, disinvestment in their schools and the criminalization of friends. On Thursday afternoon, April 13, in Washington, they’ll lead demonstrations in front of the White House. Follow their journey on Twitter (@WomenBelong and #webelongtogether). Learn details and sign up for email updates here.

Momentum building for single-payer healthcare

Public opinion is building across the political spectrum for a single-payer healthcare system. An Economist/​YouGov poll in early April found that 60 percent of Americans favor expanding the Medicare program to cover everyone. In January, Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, re-introduced a Medicare-for-All” bill, which now has more than 90 co-sponsors. Conyers recently said that he has never seen this much energy or grassroots pressure behind this issue.” Sanders is expected to release a similar bill in the Senate soon. Find details of his plan here.

While much of the spotlight is focused on passing single payer at the federal level, there are also organizations pursuing single-payer reform in more than a dozen states. Connect with them here.

GOP attacking hikes in minimum wage

In late March, Iowa became the most recent state to pass a preemption law that prohibits cities and towns from passing a minimum wage higher than the state’s minimum. And Bloomberg reports that Republicans are in the process of contesting and attempting to roll back the minimum wage hikes approved by voters in several states last year: In Washington, where voters opted for a $13.50 an hour minimum wage by 2020, and Maine, where it was set to rise to $12 that year, state legislators have proposed a battery of bills to water down the increases.” Critics usually claim that hikes in the minimum wage kill jobs. See this report for an analysis of that claim. Follow Fight for $15 for updates on the movement for a higher minimum wage. And follow the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions for updates on the fight against state preemption laws.

Bernie Sanders, podcaster

Sanders has a new podcast, The Bernie Sanders Show,” which is available on iTunes and on his website. Three episodes have been released so far — interviews with Rev. William Barber, science guy Bill Nye and playwright Josh Fox. 

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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