Indivisible Gets Real

I recently wrote a piece talking about how the Democratic Party, and the broader left, needed to get beyond marches and rallies, and start getting political. The idea is pretty simple- it feels good to chant, march, rally, and go to town halls to yell at our elected officials. You never “lose” during those actions. Elections are less fun, but winning elections is how we get the policies we want. My argument was, simply, that Democrats needed to “eat their vegetables” and get strategic, and start trying to win. It appears that is happening.

I wrote then:

“Eventually though, we have to get out beyond the protests and the yelling, and actually think about the most important thing- winning elections. That will start soon, particularly for people in states with state legislative, judicial, or governor’s races- places specifically like New Jersey and Virginia. It will start for the rest of the nation in just a few short months. There is a huge difference in resisting Trump’s agenda and defeating Trump’s agenda. We need to resist it right now. We need to defeat it in 2017 and 2018’s general elections. This will eventually require a tactical change from the rallies, marches, and yelling of right now, as even the Indivisible writers would probably concede. After all, their guide is “A Practical guide for resisting the Trump Agenda.” We hope to soon not have to resist it anymore.”

Well, we’re getting there. Last week I went to a meeting in a targeted Congressional district on the East Coast where leaders from multiple “Indivisible” chapters, and other progressive organizations that have sprung up since November, met and planned their road forward. There are certainly struggles- like whether or not they should participate in local and state elections this year, or not focus on them (note: they absolutely, positively must focus on these elections if they want to have staying power)- but there is much more positive than negative. They are having serious discussions about how to work together, how to engage the party, how to target Lance, and how to build a lasting movement- all the things they need to be doing. Most importantly though, they are beginning to have the tougher discussions- who should and can run for office, what they want from candidates and how to resist Donald Trump in the manner that is most helpful for beating his Congressional allies.

One of the great worries, as someone who is active within the party, is that all of this energy and action against this President will go to waste. We must not allow that. It is becoming more and more clear to me that our friends in the movement want to put their energies to good use and to make real change. If they can do this, we will defeat the forces of xenophobia and backward thinking that currently dominate Washington.

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