1 down, 47 to go.
We’re just over a month into the Trump presidency.
But we’re not giving up. We’ve seen an incredible wave of activism across the country, and it’s not slowing down. People have marched for women’s rights, for immigrants, for science, and more. Members of Congress that have supported Trump’s policies have been flooded with calls and letters, and faced serious pushback at town hall meetings in their home districts- even in “deep red” states such as Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, and Kentucky. This week, our key action item focuses on these town halls – even if you’re in a blue state, or your congressperson has been doing a stellar job fighting back against Trump, it’s important that we show up and keep the pressure on. We need the Trump administration to face the facts: no matter what they throw at us, we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to stop fighting back.
More and more people are looking for ways to get involved in the fight against Trump’s destructive policies. We’re here to help. So this week, we’d like you to make a particular effort both in person and on social media to recruit more people to take the pledge!
Besides that, we’ve got four action items for you this week. Do as many as you can! Please also take a few seconds to do our one-question survey.
1) [URGENT] Attend Town Halls!
Congress continues to be in recess this week, with many Senators and Representatives back in their home districts holding meetings with constituents. More members of both parties are holding meetings this week than in recent years. Therefore, it is a critical time to make your voice heard: showing up in person is the best way to influence your elected officials. Protests at town hall meetings all over the country this week have demonstrated the power of direct communication. Many of the protests have focused on Republicans’ current attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and whether or not Republicans are willing to stand up to President Trump.
- Find your Representative’s upcoming town halls at the Town Hall Project or Resistance Recess, sign up for Voterheads to get notified, or look on your Member of Congress’s homepage (find your MoC here).
- Before you go to a meeting, read this guide on how to communicate effectively, and check out the Congressional Management Foundation’s report on citizen advocacy. For more detailed strategy, check out this doc.
- And if you feel the need for some inspiration (or just schadenfreude), check out WaPo’s YELL-O-MATIC™: Pick a politician, watch them get yelled at. When you attend a town hall, take a video – maybe you’ll find it getting shared too!
2) [MA-specific] Pressure Governor Baker to support the Safe Communities Act (and oppose pipelines while you’re at it)
In his Presidential News Conference, Trump announced that he would issue a new Executive Order on immigration early this coming week. While the order isn’t out yet, on Tuesday he released two memos on enforcement policy. The memos call for hiring 10,000 customs and immigration agents, allowing local police to become de facto enforcement agents, and arresting and deporting all undocumented immigrants regardless of whether they have committed a crime. It’s not clear how soon these policies will go into effect, but it is clear that it’s time to act proactively to protect immigrants and refugees.
The Safe Communities Act, which is supported by 81 state legislators, would make Massachusetts a “Sanctuary State.” This would not allow Massachusetts to refuse the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law if the administration comes in with a warrant. It would, however, prevent state funds from going towards enforcement, and it would prevent law enforcement and the MA RMV from providing information that would be used to create a Muslim registry.
- Call Gov. Baker (617-725-4005) and MA House Speaker DeLeo (617-722-2500) and tell them you want to make sure that state resources will not go towards enforcing raids based solely on immigration status or religious discrimination.
- Mention that Trump’s threat to pull funding from Sanctuary States is unconstitutional and should not prevent us from protecting our state’ residents.
- Don’t live in MA? Maryland, California, Colorado, and New York are considering similar legislation. If you are from one of those states, call your representatives and urge them to support the relevant bills!
- Join other MIT students to phonebank this coming Monday 2/27 (noon-2 PM, Stata Center Booth 1) with MIT Dems to advocate for the Safe Communities Act and similar bills from other states.
The Safe Communities Act is endorsed by CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) and Centro Presente (an East Boston-based immigrants’ rights group). The Act is also supported by the ACLU as part of their “Freedom Agenda.” You can use their call tool to find your representative and advocate for this legislation.
While you already have your phone in hand, the local environmental group FRRACS has an urgent request for help: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the federal certificate required for the Atlantic Bridge project, a stepping stone for Spectra Energy to pump unnecessary fracked gas north through a compressor station in Weymouth. Governor Baker continues to say the decisions are all with the federal government, but his administration’s Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), as intervenors in the FERC process, can file a Request for Rehearing. The deadline to file is THIS FRIDAY (February 24). The Governor oversees this key state committee chaired by Secretary Matthew Beaton. Can you urge Governor Baker to stand up for Weymouth and the entire South Shore and ensure that the EFSB files a Request for Rehearing for the Atlantic Bridge project?”
- Call Gov. Baker today at 617-725-4005 or email him and ask him to insist that the EFSB file a rehearing request and to support the people of the South Shore.
3) Flip a House seat in Georgia’s 6th District special election
Support Jon Ossoff, a Democrat running in this year’s first competitive special election for the House, down in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. He has the support of Congressman John Lewis, who has stated that “Jon is committed to progress and justice and he knows how to fight the good fight. We should unite behind Jon and send a clear message that Donald Trump doesn’t represent our values.”
The House seat is vacant due to the confirmation of Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of DHHS. The seat looks increasingly flippable: in 2012, Georgia’s 6th district supported Mitt Romney by a wide 61-37% margin; but in 2016, Trump barely eked out a 48-47% win. The special election, which will be held on a TBD date in April, will see all candidates from all parties together on a single ballot, with the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advancing to a runoff if no one takes a majority. Ossoff is the most likely to make it into the top two; if he doesn’t, Democrats will likely be locked out of the runoff election, losing the chance to pick up a GOP-held seat.
It’s crucial that those of us on the left learn to think both long-term and local: in a fight like ours, every single seat in Congress matters. You can support Ossoff’s campaign by volunteering to phone bank or donating, and sharing info about his campaign on social media as we get closer to the special election.
4) Flood GOP’s “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey”
Last week, Trump called the “fake news media” the “enemy of the American people,” a shocking attack on the press that was reminiscent of some of the worst authoritarian regimes in history. In order to claim public support for this attack, the administration has released a heavily skewed survey that, according to NPR, is “enough to make a social scientist cringe.” While unlikely to be useful for real data gathering, the survey is a way to voice your opposition to Trump’s war with the free press.
You can help prevent the Trump administration from using the results of this media survey to claim widespread support for his agenda: take the survey and tell him what you really think of his demonization of the media. And if you need some ideas on how to respond, check out these humorous suggested responses from WaPo and MTV, and more serious responses here.
Until next week,