Alarmed By Washington, Liberal Protesters Bring Concerns Home To Lawmakers
Aggrieved at what they perceive as acquiescence to President Trump's agenda, liberal demonstrators have begun taking a page out of a doctor's playbook: They are making house calls.
On Tuesday night, more than 4,000 protesters signed up to pay a visit to the Brooklyn apartment of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Facebook event — bluntly named " What the f***, Chuck?!" — called on the New York senator to show "no appeasement, no dealmaking, no collaboration."
As protesters crowded outside the apartment, fresh off a walk from a nearby plaza, they made their frustrations plain with chants of "Don't sell us out." At the rally, attendees unfurled a banner reading "#ResistTrumpTuesdays," a reference to a coalition of liberal organizations planning weekly protests.
Schumer's not the only one to get this treatment.
In deep-blue California on Sunday, a group of protesters headed to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's house in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.
"Hey hey, ho ho, Jeff Sessions — just say no!" the demonstrators chanted, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
FiveThirtyEight has ranked Feinstein among the Democratic senators who have shown the most support for Trump's nominees.
Feinstein's voting record so far didn't sit well with the protesters outside her home, or with progressives at large. Among the Democratic base, there is not exactly a climate for compromise at the moment.
As NPR's Scott Detrow explained, liberal protesters are following a familiar, if surprising, model: the Tea Party movement's.
"A lot of the outreach has been prompted by the Indivisible Guide, an organizing project launched by former Democratic congressional staffers that is aimed at mimicking the successful Tea Party movement, but on the Democratic side.
"In the wake of Trump's executive action on immigration and refugees, Indivisible organizers put together a conference call, urging people to ask their senators to do everything they can to walk back Trump's order."
Through grass-roots protests, pressure on politicians and a few front lawn demonstrations, the Tea Party effectively rolled back Democratic gains in Congress in 2010 and stymied many of President Obama's policy proposals.
And like the Tea Party's, progressive demonstrations against Democratic representatives already appear to be showing results. Schumer surprisingly voted against Elaine Chao, a Trump pick who had been considered a shoo-in for transportation secretary (and ultimately still was).
And on Sunday, demonstrators in Rhode Island confronted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse about his vote in favor of Mike Pompeo for CIA director. When Whitehouse came outside, he was handed a list of upcoming votes and a bullhorn. Whitehouse went through the list, eliciting cheers each time he promised a "no" vote.
And the movement shows no signs of relenting, as evidenced by lawmakers' voicemail machines.
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, for instance, reported being contacted by some 1,400 of her constituents — 95 percent of whom objected to Trump's education secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, according to Reid Epstein of The Wall Street Journal.
Heitkamp a no on DeVos. Release notes: "95% of the almost 1,400 North Dakotans who contacted Heitkamp about DeVos opposed Devos nomination."— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) January 30, 2017
NBC News reports Va. Sen. Tim Kaine received some 25,000 calls and letters against DeVos, while in the state next door, W.Va. Sen. Joe Manchin received more than 800 calls on Monday alone about a variety of nominees, according to USA Today.
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