Short Summary of Original Indivisible Guide
Written by former Congressional staffers, the original guide described the Tea Party’s success, and provided a strategy that used similar tactics in order to oppose the Trump Agenda. Basically, it came down to;
- Creating local grassroots organizations (Indivisible chapters)
- Targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs)
- Focused on defense: 100% opposition to Trump and the GOP via
- Attending town hall meetings
- Attending events where MoCs will appear
- District office visits
- Coordinated phone calls/emails
2018: Indivisible on Offense – Brief Overview (Agenda Setting, Oversight, Resist)
Democrat’s Agenda-Setting Power: Now that Dems control the House of Reps, our MoCs are able to push legislation through committee and to a full house vote. We can decide what should be prioritized, helping to shift the national conversation to the issues that matter to us.
**It is important to recognize that while we may be able to push legislation through the house, we will not be able to do the same in the Senate. Even if a bill were to pass both chambers, it would still need Trump’s signature for it to become law. Keep expectations realistic.**
There are two types of legislative opportunities that House Dems have now:
- Introducing Messaging bills: A bill proposed by a MoC that has little chance of being signed into law BUT indicates that the issue in question is a top priority for that Member of Congress and the Dem party. These bills are telling the country, “This is who we are, this is what we care about.” Putting these bills to a house vote forces Republicans to go on the record on these issues.
- We expect our MoCs (DeSaulnier or Thompson) to introduce bills that address issues that we care most about. We also expect them to co-sponsor bills that we support.
- Leveraging Must Pass Bills: A “must pass” bill is exactly what it sounds like, a bill that must pass in order to keep the government running or extending important programs. Most of these are funding bills. Even though the GOP controls the Senate, they will need some Democratic votes to pass these bills, and each of them presents an opportunity to demand important concessions in exchange for votes. Our MoCs are very progressive, and they have the power to push Democratic leadership to the left. The 3 biggest bills that will come up this year are the Government spending bill (which is generally extended with continuing resolutions), the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Debt Ceiling.
Oversight and Investigations: Whether it is through subpoenaing witnesses or information, holding hearings, or conducting investigations, Democrats now have the power to start holding Trump accountable for his actions. House committee assignments are unlikely to change and we are lucky to be represented in two of the most powerful places- Thompson sits on Ways & Means and DeSaulnier sits on Oversight & Government Reform, both will play a huge role in investigating Trump. Every committee will play some part in oversight, our job is to pressure our reps to be aggressive on every committee they are assigned.
Continue to Resist the GOP agenda: The Senate is going to be working overtime to push Trump’s agenda. Our Senators will need to continue using the rules of the Senate to delay their progress. More details to come, but the three biggest tools they have are withholding consent, filibustering, and denying quorum.
Indivisible4c on Offense
Other Important Info for 4c
The rest of the guide covers the strategies and tactics that Indivisible chapters should use to make our MoCs listen. This is similar to the original guide, acting local, town halls, phone calls, etc. We want to remind everyone that we are committed to only contacting our MoCs. We all hate Ted Cruz, but there is almost no scenario where calling his office would help our cause.
Indivisible is also encouraging chapters to spend more time on state legislation. With the recent election of Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, all 4c members are represented by dems in CA. That doesn’t mean they are always on our side, but we will be spending more time keeping them in check.
At 4c we also believe that it is important to engage with city councils, school districts and local issues. While we would never ask you to call or email city council members outside of your town, there will be many times we will ask you to attend meetings in cities throughout Central Contra Costa County in order to support (or oppose) local action. In many ways, this is the heart of what we do. By standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors, even when it does not impact us directly, we can make a huge impact throughout our entire community. Some city councils are much more conservative than others, and the residents of those cities need our support. Some issues are specific to a small geographic area, but those issues are based in values that all of us care about, and they need our support.
For everything we do, it comes down to one basic truth, there is strength in numbers. This is our power. This is how we make change. We must look out for each other. We must speak out, we must show up. We can do this, but only if we are willing to do the work.
There is one quote that we include in all formal 4c material, and we feel it defines us as activists, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel