Progressives across the country have mobilized with vigor after Election Day, particularly when it comes to local activism. Over the past few weeks, videos and reports from crowded town halls all over the U.S. have shown congressmembers getting heat from their constituents, and at least one GOP legislator, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, is convinced that these events will get in the way of the Republican Party's agenda. Specifically, Brooks believes these town halls will save Obamacare from being repealed. Progressives questioning whether their efforts are working should take this as a sign that, yes, they definitely are.
"There are a, in my opinion, a significant number of congressmen who are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak," Brooks said on The Morning Show with Tony & Gary. "I don't know if we're going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they're putting pressure on congressman and there's not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country."
He went on to suggest that what will likely materialize is an amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which will then be referred to as a "repeal."
The leaders responsible for igniting progressives' interest in town halls seems to be a group of former congressional staffers who wrote a guide on how to resist the Trump administration. Throughout its 26 pages, Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, the booklet focuses on the importance of local, grassroots-level action. Town halls are a key way to put pressure on legislators. Not only does the guide encourage readers to attend town halls, it also gives a breakdown of strategies to use during these meetings. There are two main goals: to make local representatives aware of the opposition they face, and to get media attention.
Several GOP members, including Brooks and New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, have decided to dodge town halls to avoid facing angry constituents. The strategy will probably fail to work, considering groups can still host their own discussions and debates regardless of whether or not their representative attends. These types of meetings would still serve to foster dissatisfaction with local leaders, which would lead to the lack of support public officials fear. Unhappy voters have also decided to hold protests directly outside their representatives' offices. Frelinghuysen's office has been visited every Friday by the group NJ 11th for Change for a month.
So, yes, the efforts against Trump's administration are working.