The Resistance Is On the March. It’s Time For Senate Democrats To Catch Up.
Showing up at protests must be just the beginning.
The peaceful, inspiring, broad-based resistance to Trump and his shocking and extreme agenda will continue to surge. The people are in the streets — standing up, fighting, and leading. We’re doing our job. Senate Democrats must do theirs — by using every procedural tool available to stop Trump.
By Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman, Executive Directors of MoveOn.org
Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as President, millions of people from coast to coast and around the world took to the streets, from large cities to our tiniest towns. While some were seasoned veterans of past movements, many had never protested anything before in their entire lives but they felt compelled, inspired, and called upon to stand up and have their voice heard. (One sign passed around online read, “I’m not usually a sign kind of person, but geez.”)
The day after the Women’s March, MoveOn.org held an emergency national call to share ways for people to plug into ongoing resistance organizing. In the past, even at the height of our campaigns against then-President George W. Bush, we might have welcomed a few thousand callers. This time, we had more than 60,000 people join.
Two days later, on what we and others have begun calling #ResistTrumpTuesdays, more than 15,000 MoveOn members and members of partner groups turned out at more than 200 offices of Senators and Representatives, demanding a wholesale rejection of Donald Trump’s policies and cabinet nominees.
Last Thursday, as Donald Trump was addressing House and Senate Republicans at their annual retreat in Philadelphia, thousands took to the streets of downtown Philadelphia to demand that Republicans in Washington not take away our health care.
And this weekend, from JFK to SFO and nearly every major international airport in-between, thousands of people spontaneously gathered to protest Donald Trump’s shocking, unconstitutional, and fundamentally immoral effort to set in place a Muslim Ban.
In less than two weeks, we’ve seen more sustained and energized civic protest than we saw during two terms of George W. Bush.
And it is not just average Americans taking to the streets. We have seen the resistance joined by elected officials at the state and local level. We have seen mayors from coast to coast standing up to protect their community’s status as a sanctuary city. We have seen governors encourage their states to be hubs of resistance. We have seen attorneys general standing up and using their legal authority to protect all of their state’s residents. We have seen secretaries of state publicly debunk Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud.
We have also seen career government employees stand up for facts, truth, and science in acts of defiance of the White House.
The resistance is real, vibrant, creative and growing. It’s being felt in not only in every state and every congressional district but around the world.
But in one very important place, leadership has lagged behind the passion, creativity, organization, and commitment that we’re seeing around the country. That’s in the halls of Congress.
The public—which voted decisively against Trump—is demanding clear, principled, and total opposition to the Trump Administration’s extreme and unprecedented agenda.
We hope Senate Democrats will hear that message — and quickly.
To their credit, some Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bob Casey (among others) attended airport and other protest rallies this weekend. That they went to where grassroots energy was surging is an important step and they should be commended for it.
But that is not nearly enough.
Not 48 hours after millions had taken to the streets on inauguration weekend, a third of the Democrats in the Senate voted to confirm Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, despite his refusing to rule out reinstating the use of torture. Days later, numerous Democrats voted with Republicans to advance the nomination of Ben Carson to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development — despite the fact that his own spokesman says he is unqualified for the job.
In his first week in office, Donald Trump has put in place a Muslim ban, begun the process of rolling back the Affordable Care Act, restricted funds for women’s health care, put U.S. taxpayers on the hook to the tune of $14 billion to build his wall, and given a West Wing office and seat on the National Security Council to a white supremacist whose business is premised on spreading right-wing conspiracies.
President Trump is not a run-of-the-mill threat. He threatens the fabric of our democracy, our security, and our people. And while Democrats in the Senate continue to use an old, traditional playbook, Donald Trump and the GOP have ripped up the playbook and are playing by their own shocking rules.
There are many fights ahead — including important ones starting this week when President Trump attempts to fill the Supreme Court seat that Republicans stole by filibustering for nearly a year, and the Senate votes on Trump’s picks for Secretary of State and Attorney General, Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions.
Now is not the time for business as usual or playing by the same rules of the past. The moment demands more. The surging, agonized, energized grassroots resistance demands more. History will remember how our leaders showed up in this precipitous moment.
Just voting against Trump’s policies and nominees is not enough; Senate Democrats must use every procedural tool available to them to shut down the Senate. As Adam Jentleson, former deputy Chief of Staff to Sen. Harry Reid, points out in a recent Washington Post piece, Senate Democrats can effectively grind business in the Senate to a halt — if they’re willing to.
The peaceful, inspiring, broad-based resistance to Trump and his shocking and extreme agenda will continue to stand up, fight, and lead. The people are in the streets. We’re doing our job. Senate Democrats must do theirs — by using every procedural tool available to stop Trump.