Dear MoveOn member,
Last night Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress, doubling down on his agenda of ripping health care away from tens of millions of Americans and blocking or deporting millions of people—and entirely sidestepping his shocking entanglements with Russia's government and his personal corruption.
Yet, for all the pro forma applause by Republicans and a handful of Democrats, a lot of the assembled politicians had to feel nervous about actually trying to pass this agenda.
Why? Because they're still reeling from the massive wave of pushback from last week's Resistance Recess that you helped create.
Last week's town hall protests changed the game. Republicans are returning to D.C. sobered by overwhelming opposition from their constituents back home, and Democrats are on notice that their constituents demand stiff-spined resistance. Trump is still pushing his unpopular, extreme agenda. But his audience in Congress knows exactly what they just heard from their constituents: outrage and opposition.
So, before we dig into the next wave of work together to block what we heard last night—and to lift up a positive vision of what we need to build—let's take a moment to celebrate what we just did together:
- More than 100,0000 people organized or joined more than 600 Resistance Recess events across the country
- Hundreds or even thousands of people showed up for town halls—even when members of Congress refused to show up themselves
- Dozens of organizations joined together to help let people know how to join the fight, resulting in more than a million visitors to the Resistance Recess website ... and many more people got involved on their own accord
The story broke through. Roundups of video from town halls became a genre unto themselves, like these write-ups in Slate, Talking Points Memo, and A.V. Club. We've all watched the footage on "Good Morning America" and CNN, in the pages of The New York Times and USA Today, and in local coverage everywhere, often from deep-red states and Congressional districts, of people telling their own wrenching stories and crowds chanting thunderously while lawmakers squirm.
And most importantly, the town halls hit Congress hard. Don't take it from me—ask Republican Representative Mo Brooks of the Freedom Caucus, who told a local Alabama radio host:1
"There are a significant number of congressmen who are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak ... In my judgment, we don't have the votes in Congress to pass a repeal bill, in part because of what these people are doing."
The Wall Street Journal reported that Republicans may now try to ram their Obamacare repeal bill through Congress without a replacement plan in sight.2 In January, the conventional wisdom was that such a bill would sail through. Now, in the wake of Resistance Recess, such a repeal bill might crash and burn thanks in part to your great work.
The message from last week is clear: The public doesn't want health care ripped away. The public wants a full investigation of Trump's corruption and ties to Russia. The public wants all members of Congress to do their jobs—and stand up to Trump. And the resistance isn't going anywhere.
The Trump era is only just beginning—but already, progressives are on the march and Republicans are on the run.
Thanks for all you do.
–Katharine, Emma, Cody, Anna, and the rest of the team
P.S. A few highlights from coverage of the last week:
CONSERVATIVE NATIONAL REVIEW: "HEED THE PROTESTS"
In an article titled “Heed the Protests,” Rich Lowry of the conservative National Review noted that “in the normal course of things, it’s not easy even for a well-funded and organized group to get people to spend an evening at a school auditorium hooting at their congressman. If these demonstrations are happening in districts around the country, attention must be paid.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES: DEMOCRATS OPT FOR TOTAL WAR ON TRUMP.
The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns take a look at top Democrats’ strengthening backbone thanks to an “incensed army of liberals demanding no less than total war against President Trump.” Read more:
Now, spurred by explosive protests and a torrent of angry phone calls and emails from constituents — and outraged themselves by Mr. Trump’s swift moves to enact a hard-line agenda — Democrats have all but cast aside any notion of conciliation with the White House. …
“We have to fight like hell to stop him and hopefully save our country,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, echoing the near-apocalyptic stakes liberal voters are giving voice to at crowded town hall meetings.
MOVEON IN THE GUARDIAN: ‘YES, LIBERALS ARE PLANNING TOWN HALL PROTESTS. IT’S CALLED DEMOCRACY.’
MoveOn Washington Director Ben Wikler writes in The Guardian that, yes, liberals are helping mobilize the millions of Americans protesting Trump and the GOP—and we’re just getting started.
More than two dozen progressive activist groups are using ResistanceRecess.com, a site posted just last week by MoveOn.org, to search among more than 500 local congressional events around the country. Anyone can RSVP for an event and get a reminder email. So yes, that’s evidence of planning – apparently more planning than goes into a typical executive order issued by this White House.
But here’s the thing: the crowds are unmistakably real, and the anger runs deep.
Many of those showing up at town hall events have never done anything like that in their lives. Just like the participants in the millions-strong Women’s March and the spontaneous airport protests, the people filling these town hall events are acting with moral urgency – and with a deeply responsible sense of civic duty. Now it’s up to members of Congress to decide how to respond.
GOOD MORNING AMERICA: ‘MOVEON HAS DUBBED THIS RESISTANCE RECESS.’
Jonathan Karl reports on the Resistance Recess for "Good Morning America": https://act.moveon.org/go/8570?t=13&akid=178945.10220574.wrnmyd
1. "GOP Rep. Mo Brooks says town hall protests may prevent Obamacare repeal," CNN, February 24, 2017
2. "GOP’s New Plan to Repeal Obamacare: Dare Fellow Republicans to Block Effort," Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2017
Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump's agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation's pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your ongoing support, now more than ever. Will you stand with us?
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