Divided on Indivisible

A political resistance movement is gaining traction. Town hall meetings are being disrupted. Senate phone lines are jammed. Organizers are focusing campaigns on swing districts, as I wrote about last week.

All of this comes straight from the Indivisible guide, which is fast emerging as the go-to reference manual. The guide was written by politically progressive Congressional staffers who took lessons from the Tea Party movement to develop tactics for progressive Democrats.

Today, I read the Indivisible guide and reflected on it. The core tactic is to spark action through small, local cells of activists. Per the guide, “Only 1 in 5 self-identified Tea Partiers contributed money or attended events.” So a few concerned citizens can have a big influence if they know how to engage their members of Congress. It’s a cynical (“It’s all about reelection, reelection, reelection”), but realistic guide to influencing political sausage-making. It is explicitly defensive, espousing a consistent message of, I’m paraphrasing here, “oppose <fill in the blank> without offering solutions.” And it just might work.

But not for me, at least not right now. First off, my members of Congress are pretty well established among progressives. Think Elizabeth Warren. My phone call isn’t going to fire her up. Second, I don’t really identify as a “progressive.” It’s true that on today’s headline issues, I side with progressives. Decisively, I might add. But their rabid support of a doctrinal platform reminds of, well, the Tea Party. So, for now, I’ll still be more selective in my political bedfellows.

Third, I just can’t suppress my technocratic beliefs. I want politicians to be more concerned by policy than they are about politics. I’m not naïve; I know that Indivisible is right (“reelection, reelection, reelection”). But some politicians at least pretend. And a world in which we’ve all given up the conceit that policy matters is one in which no good policy will be made.

I haven’t completely given up on Indivisible. Today, I also signed up for Indivisible’s mailing list, so I can be notified as their tactics evolve.

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