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Protesters wait to get into a town hall meeting held by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) in Roseville, Calif., on Saturday. (Photo: Katie Orr/KQED)

Protesters wait to get into a town hall meeting held by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) in Roseville, Calif., on Saturday. (Photo: Katie Orr/KQED)

As Resistance Turns Attention to Congress, Republicans Now Feeling the Heat

Surge of activism following election of Donald Trump has put lawmakers on their heels

Lauren McCauley

The fierce, coast-to-coast movement to resist U.S. President Donald Trump borne out in the Women's March and widespread, impromptu airport protests has in recent days turned its attention to Congressional Republicans—and they are feeling the heat.

With some demonstrations voicing discontent over GOP efforts to roll back regulations and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and others aimed at swaying votes against the president's controversial cabinet picks, protesters overwhelmed lawmakers back in their home districts over the weekend.

And with #ResistTrumpTuesdays actions now targeting lawmakers as well, the resistance continues this week.

Recapping some of the recent events, The Hill reported on Tuesday:

Hundreds of protesters lined the streets of downtown Janesville, Wis., on Saturday—just blocks from the home of Speaker Paul Ryan (R)—to protest President Trump's executive order on immigration.

In Roseville, Calif., Rep. Tom McClintock (R) needed a police escort to cut through the protesters who demonstrated at his town hall event.

...On Sunday, several hundred protesters gathered outside Sen. Dean Heller's (R) office in Reno, Nev., to pressure him to vote against [Education nominee Betsy] DeVos. Last week, scores of protesters gathered on the steps of city hall in Portland, Maine, to demand that Sen. Susan Collins (R) stand up to Trump's refugee order.

In another run-down of recent demonstrations, Campaign for America's Future senior fellow Dave Johnson observes that the actions "are becoming more focused and following some of the tactics that proved successful for the Tea Party. It looks like they may be starting to get results."

The hope is that the protests will further drive a wedge between Trump and Republican lawmakers, amid fresh reports that some are already attempting to "put some daylight between the policies and priorities of the GOP-led Congress and the new administration."

Some Republicans, including White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, have tried to delegitimize the demonstrations saying they are "paid protesters," while others went so far as to hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday regarding "how to protect themselves and their staff from protesters storming town halls and offices," sources told Politico.

For Democrats, according to The Hill, "who have seen their party lose control of Congress and many state governments, the protests are a hopeful sign that Trump has awakened the opposition." However, Democratic lawmakers, also targeted by recent resistance protests, have been accused of being too soft on Trump and Congressional Republicans and thus are in a position where they must prove their mettle.

"The activism we're seeing in the streets and at airports and women's marches is robust," Gara LaMarche, president of the progressive donor network Democracy Alliance, told The Hill.

"We're seeing it spring up at town halls and in places none of us anticipated," he continued. "It is very encouraging to see that kind of activism from the grassroots. These are ordinary people rising up... The real question is whether it can be sustained or aligned with the appropriate channels to make real political change."

To that end, The Nation's Joshua Holland on Monday published a list of what he described as "the most interesting or promising" of the new grassroots resistance groups to spring forward since the election.

One of those efforts, #ResistTrumpTuesdays, a joint project of The Working Families Party, MoveOn, and People's Action, held another round of weekly actions on Tuesday.


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