WASHINGTON — Leaders of the Indivisible movement — a grassroots group formed resist GOP-controlled Washington — want their army of newly- awakened political activists to crank up the heat on lawmakers who help President Donald Trump's agenda.
That includes Democrats – six of whom voted to confirm Trump’s controversial nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, in the Senate last week.
“For the folks in the resistance who are building this big, blue wave and coming out and donating their time weekend after weekend… that’s demoralizing to them,” said Ezra Levin, who joined McClatchy’s Beyond the Bubble podcast in studio Tuesday. “[T]he folks that they think they’re showing up for aren’t showing up for them.”
Levin and Leah Greenberg, a pair of 30-something former Democratic Hill staffers, wrote a physical guidebook on how to pressuring lawmakers in Washington.
While their group doesn't affiliate with Democratic Party, it's playing a big role in pushing the party left.
Levin told BtB he believes Democrats should use "every tool at [their] disposal" to stop Republicans on Capitol Hill, including obscure legislative tactics Senate Democrats delayed votes on healthcare legislation with last year. He was disappointed Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, agreed to re-open the government without securing protections for DACA recipients earlier this year.
That approach has permeated even some of the more pragmatic voices in the party, who believe Trump changed the calculus on bipartisanship.
“The only thing that matters right now is taking power from the people who are enabling someone who we regard as a fundamental threat to our values,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of the center-left think tank Third Way, which encourages intra-party collaboration.
Bennett is discouraging his party from a Tea Party-style revolution, which threw out Republican lawmakers it felt didn’t do enough to oppose Democrats. He wants Democrats to stay focused on November elections, where they have a chance at flipping the GOP-controlled House.
"Winning is everything right now, and ideological purity has to take a back seat," said Bennett.
Greenberg and Levin are urging activists the other direction.
“If you think the Democratic Party is doing just fine, then maybe you don’t need to get involved in a Democratic primary,” said Levin, who worked for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas. “If you think it’s at its lowest point in 90 years in terms of the number of seats it owns, which is actually true, then maybe you should have some say in the direction of the party.”
McClatchy’s Beyond the Bubble show is produced by Jordan Marie-Smith and Davin Coburn. Alex Roarty, a national political correspondent for McClatchy, and Andrea Drusch, Washington correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, recorded this episode at McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, May 22, 2018 .