Noisy town hall protests show how the left is trying out tea party tactics to fight Trump

By  Los Angeles Times

There has been no shortage of opportunities for the anti-Trump left to vent their angst since the president took office: Women’s marches, airport protests and impromptu rallies have become a near-daily feature of life in cities across California and the nation.

But people have also begun showing up at less likely venues: strip malls and business parks that house the offices of their members of Congress. Over the weekend, hundreds of people showed up to an overflowing town hall meeting being held by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) in his Northern California district, which ended when McClintock was escorted out by police while a huge crowd demonstrated outside.

“I think the importance was to show Mr. McClintock that we are not going to stand for anyone who’s on board with the Trump agenda,” said Doug Todd, who lives in McClintock’s district and helped organize some of the protesters. “We weren’t just going to smile and nod the whole time.”

Like many of the volunteer organizers, Todd considers his group an affiliate of Indivisible, a group recently created by former congressional staffers trying to deploy the same strategies against President Trump that made the anti-Obama tea party so successful.

Ezra Levin, who co-wrote a protest manual called “Indivisible Guide” with his wife and other former staffers, says the tea party’s focus on congressional representatives and just saying no to policy changes were the main ingredients of its secret sauce.

“They understood the fundamentals of constituent power … because they know that every member of Congress wakes up every morning thinking, ‘Hey, what can I do to get reelected?’ ” Levin said.

Indivisible has become a nonprofit since launching in December, and many of its thousands of registered groups are emerging in places like Orange County and the Central Valley, hardly known as incubators for progressive politics. 

The demonstrations organized by these groups haven’t been going entirely smoothly. Protesters at the offices of at least three Southern California Republicans say they have been met with locked doors and staffers who refused to pick up the phone over the past few weeks.

About 200 people gathered outside the office of Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) last week and couldn’t get inside. Walters spokeswoman Abigail Sigler said that the congresswoman was in Washington at the time and that the office doors were locked because members of the group “have repeatedly harassed the congresswoman’s staff,” including on Twitter. 



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