SocraticGadfly: Organizing against Trump — #IndivisibleTeam has #TeaParty based ideas for suckers, by Dem sheepdoggers (newly updated)

February 22, 2018

Organizing against Trump — #IndivisibleTeam
has #TeaParty based ideas for suckers,
by Dem sheepdoggers (newly updated)

Sounds great, huh? Take some ideas that the Tea Party used to fight Obama, do a little intellectual judo, and use this new set to fight Trump? (They have a new Web version now, which is no better.)

Erm, not so fast, Cochise, or rather, not so fast Jeremy Haile and compadres. There's a bit more, and a bit less, to the situation than what you claim. Haile worked for Lloyd Doggett, so he KNOWS some of the things that I'm going to list below are true. Levin also worked for Doggett and I suspect that Angel Padilla has similar Texas connections. In other words, per items they list, and my responses below, they know better.

Time for a bit of additional sharp elbows. GovTrack ranks Doggett as less liberal than Eddie Bernice Johnson! Yoikes!

First, they don't tell you that Preznit Kumbaya, by continuing to sing from the Kumbaya playbook, helped shoot some of his own plans in his own foot.

Second, they don't tell you that Preznit Kumbaya was and is a neoliberal who, initial statements aside, hated people trying to "push him" from the left.

Third, they don't tell you that, even though a fair amount of the Tea Party movement did start at the grassroots, much of it became corporately co-opted by people like Dick "Dick" Armey.

There's more here, part of it as noted in a screengrab of I sent Haile.

And, that part about Eddie Bernice and Jelly is true, true, true. Sorry, folks.

Shit, in my current district, where I've not been for too, too, long, but way too long, my Congresscritter hasn't even had a staff member visit. Nor has he announced a visit of even a staff member to my town, or the nearest town of over 25K, in local media.

Speaking of local media, there's "issues" with Indivisible outposts, as noted below under Localization Problems

Update, April 5, 2017: I'm sure the "team" doesn't want the general #resist idea-makers wondering why the hell, nearly three months since they organized, their mentor, Doggett, per the graphic at right, has yet to sign on to John Conyers' "Medicare for All" HB 676 — Conyers' bill for single-payer national health care.

And, if you look at the graphic? Ted Cruz challenger Beto O'Rourke, and possible O'Rourke challenger Joaquin Castro, are both among non-supporters. So too is wasted space Eddie Bernice Johnson, the Texas House Dems' hot young gun Mark Veasey and others.

That's eight in all, or almost three-quarters of Texas 11 Democrats in the U.S. House. Guess the Indivisibles need to look inside themselves on this whole advocacy schtick.

As for grassroots advocacy stopping Obama? Nooo, he helped with that himself, not to mention the moneybags co-opting of most Tea Party groups.

Dear Leader undersold and underfunded his stimulus plan, and part of its projects weren't shovel-ready. TARP et al were used to insure banksters got money even on defaulted mortgages that were shite in the first place. The "quick rinse" bankruptcy for Ford and GM pissed off others. And, failure to put banksters through any sort of nationalization, or close to that pissed off yet more people from Dear Leader's left — the types of people he said he wanted to "push" him, then bitched when they did.

And, Larry, Moe and Curly above know that, too.

As for Tea Partiers pushing their own members in the GOP? Well, that's true.

When was the last time you saw a left-liberal Dem primary a Rahm Emanuel Blue Dog, though? Larry, Moe and Curly know that, too.

Claiming, in essence, for Congresscritters that there is no such thing as a "safe district" is even more laughable.

Besides, the authors undercut themselves by admitting that Congresscritters don't care about deep-thinking voters:

MoC Cares a Lot About
MoC Doesn’t Care Much About
Verified constituents from the district
(or state for Senators)
People from outside the district
(or state for Senators)
Advocacy that requires effort - the more effort, the more they care. Calls, personal emails, and especially showing up in person in the district
Form letters, a Tweet, or Facebook comment (unless they generate widespread attention)
Local press and editorials, maybe national press
Wonky D.C.-based news (depends on MoC)
An interest group’s endorsement
Your thoughtful analysis of the proposed bill
Groups of constituents, locally famous individuals, or big individual campaign contributors
A single constituent
A concrete ask that entails a verifiable action - vote for a bill, make a public statement, etc
General ideas about the world
One single ask in your communication (letter, email, phone call, office visit, etc)
A laundry list of all the issues you’re concerned about.

Note No. 4 on the right-hand list:
(Member of Congress) doesn't care much about ... your thoughtful analysis of the proposed bill.
In other words, he/she allegedly, contra No. 3 on the right, DOES want something social-media like. BUT, they also contradict No. 2 on the "does like" side, to a degree. This would apply to groups as well as individuals.

(This also ignores using a "cutout" address within a Representative's district, or Senator's state, to get around the verification issue at the top of the left-hand side of the list. For former Congresscritter staffers, we don't have the brightest people in the book.  That said, the whole piece looks like it's written at Citizen Engagement 101 level, if not remedial level.)

As for occupying a Congresscritter's office. mentioned elsewhere? Our Democratic snowflake sheepdoggers, if they don't know the answer, need to be told that someone as "librul" as Bernie Sanders will arrest you for trespassing. My soon-to-be-former Congresscritter, Gohmert Pyle, aka Louie Gohmert, would sure as hell arrest people in his quite safe, very non-swing, district, for that.

Update, Jan. 24: Ted Cruz's staff called the cops on people at his Houston office.

And, the sheepdoggers know that. (Update, Jan. 26: And Trump, taking a page from Cruz, has shut down the White House phone line. But, as this story notes, you can call his businesses instead.)

More naivete, or bullshit, follows in the next chart:

Example Action
Desired Outcome
Bad Outcome
Letter to Constituent
Constituent feels happy that their concerns were answered.
Constituent posts letter on social media saying it didn’t answer their questions or didn’t answer for weeks/months, calls Congresswoman Bob unresponsive and untrustworthy.
In-district Event
Local newspaper reports that Congresswoman Sara appeared at opening of new bridge, which she helped secure funding for.
Local newspaper reports that protestors barraged Congresswoman Sara with questions about corruption in the infrastructure bill.
Town Hall / Listening Session
Local newspaper reports that Congessman Bob hosted a town hall and discussed his work to balance the budget.
Local newspaper reports that angry constituents strongly objected to Congressman Bob’s support for privatizing Medicare.
Policy Position
Congresswoman Sara votes on a bill and releases a press statement hailing it as a step forward.
Congresswoman Sara’s phones are deluged with calls objecting to the bill. A group of constituents stage an event outside her district office and invite press to hear them talk about how the bill will personally hurt their families.

Erm, on social media? Post an unanswered issue on a Congresscritter's Facebook page if he/she is in a safe district, and you'll get your ass flamed. They also either do know that or should know that.

Per my above comments, unless it's a BIG issue, the Congresscritter doesn't show up for groundbreakings. Staff does. And, your comments to mainstream media have a fair (not fantastic, necessarily, but fair) chance of landing in File 13/cutting room floor.

As for the protestors? Per the Cruz link above, and the right-hand side of the "in-district event," the Congresscritter will either ignore them, or, if they're blocking entry to his or her office, try to get them arrested for that.

Finally, although not explicitly stated, all the above is framed pretty much within the two-party duopoly, and that is itself a problem with this. That's part of how I was able to easily smell a fair chunk of the bullshit in all of this.

Double-finally, the whole "best practices" claim is Net 2.0-enough to add a small additional touch of barf inducement. Beyond being Net 2.0 popularized, it's in general a capitalistic business term. Pass.

Triple-finally, they're essentially saying "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" actually happened, and can happen again today.

I certainly support "resisting" Trump. And, as a Green, I'm OK with partnering with Dems, or Dem-affiliated activists, as long as they don't:
1. Pee on my leg and tell me it's raining, or
2. Try to co-opt my vote.

Well, Larry, Moe, Curly and other followers have already, repeatedly, done No. 1. I wouldn't be surprised if they try No. 2 as well.

If you like this analysis, Tweet the link to @IndivisibleTeam, or @ezralevin@angelrafpadilla@texpat@Leahgreenb. Or email

Or all of the above!


Localization Problems

Feb. 22, 2018: Indivisible Houston claims it, due to state election laws, can't endorse individual Dems in a primary, specifically referencing the contentious Seventh Congressional District race.

That said, first, it says on its website:
Our chief job is as a supportive cavalry focused locally on elected officials for defensive purposes. However, since defense and offense are not clearly separated in politics, that can also mean engaging in proactive campaigns and removing politicians from office.
Well, per the Mueller indictment claim, an anti-endorsement is an endorsement, first.

Second, a Congressional race is federal, and so comes under Federal Elections Commission, not Texas Ethics Commission, insight overall. That said, I've asked them to cite TEC chapter and verse about why they can't endorse anybody.

They didn't. I found TEC's handbook on PACs. A "general purpose" PAC can endorse specific candidates. See page 6. I think that's applicable here. To interpret, a PAC, or PAC-like group, devoted to "resisting Trump" could also endorse one Democrat over another as better-qualified to resist Trump better.

That's even as I find their claims to be "nonpartisan" laughable, especially since the national organization was founded specifically to fight Trump. Almost as laughable as their overpriced merchandise.

Per other updates at the bottom of the post, I suspect Indivisible sub-outposts like Indivisible Houston are trying to dodge 2018 Democratic primary cross-currents and cross-fire. Doesn't work. By not endorsing, you leave yourselves open to just that anyway.

If they're wrong out of ignorance or misinterpretation of the law, that doesn't reflect well in other ways. Even more if some legal mouthpiece told them that.

THAT then said, Indivisible Houston claims they're not part of Indivisible national. To which I responded:
 Back to your original programming. (The "not to tell you" refers to something else.)

Sidebar: This disorganization, this .... DECENTRALIZATION .... reminds me of????


Sidebar: The nonpartisanship, speaking of the Green Party, doesn't seem to extend to giving the Green Party mention, criticizing Texas' ballot access laws or other things.

Sidebar: I wonder if this is also true of the Our Revolution movement. Are state and local groups independent of national?



As for Trump being the biggest popular vote loser to be elected president? (That's claimed not only here, but elsewhere.)

Technically true, but only if one goes by absolute numbers.

John Quincy Adams in 1824 (10.5 percentage points) and Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 (3 percentage points) both had bigger gaps than Trump's 2 percentage points.

Substituting flim-flam for actual history gets you a ding in my book.

Beyond that, over at Popehat, Ken White has some good ideas for fighting fake news, the meme of "fake news" and other things that probably apply here.

What's also "funny" is that the sheepdoggers, per Ted Rall, seem to talk more about resisting than about proposing specific ideas. Maybe because they know that today's national Democratic Party, with its neoliberal foundations, is largely bankrupt. And we haven't mentioned foreign policy.

Speaking of that, don't get sheepdogged by Bernie's new book or Bernie's presidential campaign staffers either, as I discuss in detail.



Oct. 9, 2017: Indivisible may take Soros money, though it's trying to politely spin its independence, even though it's gotten big $$$ from others connected to Democracy Alliance. That's Soros, as in left-neoliberal. Financier. "Bankster" if one is going to use that word broadly. The man who deliberately caused the 1998 Asian currency crash. And, it's definitely taken money from actual members of the left-neoliberal (the "institutional left" of the NYT story) Democracy Alliance, including an oil heiress.

Guess Indivisible won't be supporting a carbon tax anytime soon.

Claiming Dem leaders didn't have a strategy to fight Obamacare repeal is also "interesting." The strategy was "vote against it and hope in the Senate that one or two GOPers defect." (Oh, and Indivisible ignores that Bernie then officially proposed at least the outlines of Medicare for All.)

Sept. 12, 2018: Bits of teh Google indicate that the Indivisible folks, in many cases, may believe in Putin Did It, as in, not just, Russia meddled in the election of 2016, but Putin colluded with Trump to elect him. That's despite the fact that the Manafort conviction showed no collusion, that Putin is way too smart to pick somebody as dumb as Trump were he trying to actually get a Manchurian Candidate elected, and that the likes of Marcy Wheeler are largely full of hot air.

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