Saturday, June 3, 2017

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Former congressional staffers write playbook to resist Trump agenda

WASHINGTON – A group of former congressional staffers calling themselves the Indivisible Team has drafted “A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” and the authors take some queues from the Tea Party.

“Like us, you probably deeply disagree with the principles and positions of the Tea Party,” authors of the resistance guide wrote. “But we can all learn from their success in influencing the national debate and the behavior of national policyholders. To their credit, they thought thoroughly about advocacy tactics, as the leaked ‘Town Hall Action Memo’ demonstrates.”  

The Tea Party strategy, the anti-Trump group writes, was being locally focused and to be “almost purely defensive,” focused on saying no to members of Congress on their home turf.

The playbook tells participants how to attend congressional town hall meetings, where to sit, how to ask questions – “Be polite but persistent, and demand real answers” and “Don’t give up the mic until you’re satisfied with the answer.” The guide says participants should record and post everything.

It also provides instructions to show up at a local congress member’s district office and ask questions. It doesn’t recommend sit-ins, saying they can “backfire.”

The anti-Trump people also urge organized telephone calls to district offices. “You and your group should all agree to call in on one specific issue that day. The next day or week pick another issue, and call again on that,” the playbook says.

Republican John Faso has been the target of many of these actions since he voted to dismantle Obamacare.

While he acknowledges it is an individual’s First Amendment right to express their opinions, some massive phone calls to his district office can disrupt the normal constituent business.

“Citizens that have issues with a federal agency or they are trying to get veteran’s benefits or clear up an immigration issue; we, unfortunately have had instances where people can’t get through because the phone lines are tied up by people who are engaged in this organized political effort,” Faso said. “That is an unfortunate side effect of what they are doing.”

The guide also says participants should keep a record of their conversations and report back to the media and their group about what their conversation entailed if they talked to a congressional staffer.

The authors said they wrote the guide “because we believe that the coming years will see an unprecedented movement of Americans rising up across the country to protect our values, our neighbors, and ourselves.” They wrote that the goal of the guide “is to provide practical understanding of how your Members of Congress think, and how you can demonstrate to them the depth and power of the opposition to Donald Trump and to Republican congressional overreach.”

 


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