Bigger than the Tea Party: Trump opposition goes grassroots
If the GOP assumed that there would be no resistance to their draconian, oligarchic agenda, they were wrong. Trump has no mandate, congressional Democrats got more total votes than Republicans, and people are organizing and fighting back:
Jill Fox admits it: she tuned out of politics for a while.
Barack Obama was in the White House and she agreed with much of what the Democrat did while he was there. But that all changed when Republican Donald Trump won the race to replace Obama as president.
Fox — who was stunned that Hillary Clinton didn’t win — said she felt an immediate need to do something.
She started attending local meetings for Democrats, volunteering with groups such as Planned Parenthood and getting involved with the Texas Legal Access Fund. And she joined in last month’s Women’s March.
“I got involved in civic organizations I should have always been involved in,” said the 36-year-old Fort Worth HR and legal administrator for a real estate investment firm. “If there’s a silver lining to the election of this president, it’s that a lot of people who have a lot to give are finally motivated to do it.
“I just wish it hadn’t happened this way.”
Fox is among those who, for years, have focused on their jobs, family and friends. Now, instead of complaining about who is running the government, they want to do something about it.
They are protesting, joining Democratic groups and contacting members of Congress to weigh in on issues such as appointments to Trump’s Cabinet. Some are considering taking it a big step forward and possibly running for office themselves.
They call it the Trump effect.
“There’s absolutely a reaction to Trump actually becoming president by people who have not been involved in politics before,” said Jason Smith, a longtime Fort Worth Democrat who recently hosted a reception for Progress Texas. “Last fall, when we had phone banks, we were lucky if we could get half a dozen people there.
“Now we are having to accommodate for unexpectedly large crowds.” …
Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Deborah Peoples said she sees similarities between the beginning of the Tea Party and the Democratic movement now underway: they both began at the grassroots level.
Case in point: the women’s march started with women who wanted to make a point, and many others joined the effort. Then citizens across the country began flocking to airports to protest travel bans put in place by Trump. And then people began holding phone banks, trying to organize opposition to various Trump appointments and actions.
“This kind of activism is something we haven’t ever seen,” Peoples said. “It bubbled from the ground up. … We know we need to capture and channel this kind of activism. … The 2018 election is just around the corner.”
Republicans are not the only ones who should be sweating about an energized “blue America” grassroots. Progressive populism has conservative-leaning Democrats feeling a touch of the flop sweat:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Thursday compared a faction of Democrats calling for their party to become increasingly progressive to the Tea Party movement that grew out of Republicans’ opposition to President Barack Obama.
That wing of the party, McCaskill said on “The Mark Reardon Show” in St. Louis, could offer up a primary challenger to take on the two-term senator when she runs for reelection next year.
“I’m for sure going to run,” McCaskill said. “And I may have a primary because there is, in our party now, some of the same kind of enthusiasm at the base that the Republican Party had with the Tea Party.”
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