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Progressive Groups Aim To Resist Trump Policies With Tea Party Tactics

Jabez Lebret of Together We Will San Diego addresses people assembled outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in downtown San Diego, Feb. 7, 2017.
Christopher Maue
Jabez Lebret of Together We Will San Diego addresses people assembled outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in downtown San Diego, Feb. 7, 2017.

Progressive Groups Aim To Resist Trump Policies With Tea Party Tactics
Indivisible Works To Be Progressive's Answer To Tea Party GUESTS: Kathy Stadler, organizer, Indivisible San Diego Central Chris Cruz, member, Indivisible San Diego

Some organizers say this is just the start of resist Trump Tuesday then I brought that message to Republicans and Democrats alike. The groups are loosely aligned with a nationwide effort called indivisible named after a playbook written by former Democratic congressional staffers after the election of Donald Trump. Among other things it describes the tactics used by the teeth -- tea party to disrupt the political agenda and urges progressive activists to use those lessons against President Trump. Joining me as Kathy Stadler. Thank you for coming. Thank you for having me. And Chris crews with San Diego Twitter account. What are some of the key ideas in the indivisible guide and how are you using them in San Diego. The main tenant of the indivisible guide is to be heard loud present and in front of are members of Congress so that we can hold them accountable as their constituents for representing us on the things we want to see them deal. Basically you are using the page from the book to go to the congressional offices and just be seen and be heard. It has been a call to action the indivisible guide cannot immediately following the election and immediately prior to the inauguration President Obama had given his farewell address and put out a call to people who were upset about things and feeling very uncertain about the direction that our country is taking and said do not agonize organize. There are so many groups in San Diego doing that right now. I am involved with together we well which is one of the larger indivisible teams in San Diego and also has a broader mission as well as indivisible San Diego central. You posted a mission statement for indivisible San Diego what specific goals are you hoping to accomplish? It's based upon three times. Being involved in the system being able to turn the 49th and 50th blue and sort of a sense of making sure that our elected representatives are representing the public interest are not special interests. Sean Spicer the White House press secretary suggested over the weekend protesting has become a profession and some of the protest against the Trump administration were not organic. Are either of you being paid for your work? Not at all in fact yesterday at our rallies we sent a message off to Mr. Spicer asking him where our checks were if that was the case. I can tell you wholeheartedly this is the most organic uprising of civic participation that I have ever seen in my lifetime here in San Diego and I would imagine that the case across the country as well.'s How to use the indivisible organized? You seem to be a lot of separate group. That is great. You have upwards of 400 people joining in the San Diego group and we have 300+ I think 400 and downtown. We have avenues for folks to get engaged and get active some might see it as too far of the spread but I think it is not enough of a spread because it gives spokesman places to engage at the entry-level that they want to engage with. The that risk confusion? I think that's a certain challenge so have been so many people stepping up and so many people wanted to step up -- many of them are viewed as pretty progressive already so what are you hoping to accomplish by rallying outside say Senator Kamala Harris's office. What is that about. One of the things I want to make sure that our legislators in California in a is that as a very progressive and solidly loose date which California has become we want them not only to leave the resistance to what is coming out of Washington but we want them to forge progress in its face. We want them to present a different picture in America we want them to introduce legislation that speaks to our better values and the things that make us the United States and on a more local level state legislators and elected officials need to be doing the same thing. We need to be out front leading the country in this time and showing people that there's a different and a better way to get things done. If these legislators do but confirm a Trump cabinet nominee for compromise on a piece of legislation are you determined to start a primary challenge against them? For me personally and the group I am working with together we will and the teams that I am working with our objectives are for us determine Congress blue. Here in San Diego we are directing our efforts to the 49th and 50th congressional districts and that it stare nicer and booking Hunter. That is our primary objective is to turn the seats. We want to hold Dianne Feinstein and, Harris accountable if they do start to take the that do not necessarily represent our values but I do not anticipate that happening so we will be able to focus on those swing states. DC the tendency for legislatures to become intimidated and vote a straight line because they do not want to have a challenger from the left in a primary. I think if our senators can stay on the line he saw the effects with Eric Cantor. As far as the sitting senators no on the mission statement we could just go was Lynch in the 50th Bush 49th and 50th. The tea parties activism was influential in moving the Republican Party further toward the rice -- right increasing partisan divide in Washington and clearing the way for the candidate of Donald Trump. Kathy to use you as a risk for individual -- indivisible I see where people are coming from the saying that and where that might be an issue but we represent a far broader spectrum of the population in the tea party which was on the very far right I can tell you one of my closest friends is that is involved in this is a state that issues a veteran and very moderate in many ways and as she described it I'm a newly radicalized liberal feminist and until things in Washington change in this administration is out in Congress has turned around I'm going to be a newly radicalized liberal womanist and I will be fighting tooth and nail to make that happen. I think that we represent those books that are in the middle. We represent the people that have one that popular vote make positive change in the country. I do not see us them. It is less than a month since President -- President Trump has been sworn in and all the radical activity going on right now but wouldn't it be reasonable to us in that as time goes on this kind of energy -- to assume that as time goes on this kind of energy will fade away. There is always the risk that it will go over. Will this continue? I definitely see it continuing. I have met with able across the county who are so fired up and ready to go not to borrow the expression from earlier but people who are asking more season organizers and activists had a we do this work I am brand-new to help me develop skills that I need and I think that's why having so many groups is fantastic. One -- for example one of our goals is to resist the agenda and participate in an indivisible team but we also want to get people a place in the community to be active and step up their activism as well as to align with groups. I've been keeping with -- speaking with Kathy and Chris both are members of indivisible groups in San Diego. Thank you so much.

Indivisible Works To Be Progressive's Answer To Tea Party
San Diego organizers gathered in front of the offices of U.S. senators and members of congress to lay out a progressive alternative to the Trump policies they oppose.

A collection of progressive groups continue to converge on the San Diego offices of federal lawmakers. The groups are part of a loosely-coordinated national movement which sprang up after President Trump took office.

Roughly 200 people gathered Tuesday in front of the San Diego offices of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. They’ve been there every Tuesday since the inauguration. This Tuesday they wanted lawmakers to vote against Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Judge Neil Gorsuch. It’s part of a grassroots effort to force lawmakers to push back against the Trump administration the way the Tea Party pushed Republican lawmakers to the right eight years ago.

“We definitely saw the GOP run a really strong campaign around not allowing everything to pass,” said Jabez Lebret of Together We Will San Diego. “They really put up a wall between Obama and his administration. We want to put up a wall between number 45 and his administration on some of the actions they are taking.”

Together We Will is one of several progressive groups which sprung up, coming out of protests like the Women’s March on Washington. They’re under the loose umbrella of Indivisible, from the Indivisible Guide, an organizing handbook created by a group of former Congressional staffers.

People sign a petition outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's downtown San Diego office. The gathering is part of the organizing effort for the progressive coalition Indivisible, Feb. 7, 2017.
Christopher Maue
People sign a petition outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's downtown San Diego office. The gathering is part of the organizing effort for the progressive coalition Indivisible, Feb. 7, 2017.

Calling it Resist Trump Tuesday — protesters gave a staffer at Feinstein’s office a copy of that day’s agenda. A week earlier organizers said they promised to bring cookies, so the note came with a bag of chocolate chips. The group also appeared at the offices of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, along with Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa.

In 2010, Republicans were able to end the Democratic majority in the House and their super majority in the Senate.

The idea behind Indivisible, Lebret said, is to keep coming every week, with an eye toward allowing progressives to make similar gains in the midterm elections in 2018.