Ex-Hill Staffers Put A Spin On The Tea Party Playbook In Anti-Trump Guide

Alex Brandon

A group of former congressional staffers has a message for Democrats dismayed at Donald Trump’s election: act like the tea party.

In an online guide made public Wednesday night, a number of those onetime Hill staffers say that the best way for individuals to derail the policy agenda of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is to organize locally and badger their own congressional representatives to vote against individual pieces of legislation.

The guide argues that, like the “Tea Party patriots” who found common cause in their unified loathing of President Barack Obama, progressives who oppose Trump should stand against him before all else rather than try to articulate a policy agenda that has no hope of advancing while the GOP controls all three branches of government.

“We believe that the next four years depend on citizens across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda,” the authors write in the guide, which is formatted as a live Google document. “We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize our fellow citizens. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.”

One of the authors, Ezra Levin, wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post that the guide was compiled to correct the "misinformation" about how to influence Congress that he said has circulated since Election Day.

The guide contains tips on getting members of Congress to listen to their constituents’ voices, such as showing up in groups to town hall meetings and looking “friendly or neutral” to ensure staffers will call on them and allow them to ask pointed questions. The authors also recommend flooding lawmakers’ offices with calls on specific issues and targeting weak Republican candidates ahead of local elections.

The emphasis is on consistent, coordinated, grassroots action that focuses on nitty-gritty policy specifics and individual elected officials.

Two of the listed authors are former staffers of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). Levin served as his former deputy policy director and Jeremy Haile worked as his legal counsel.

Some big Democratic names, including Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, have circulated the guide on Twitter.

Read the full document below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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