A Look Inside the Progressive Group Ruining Minnesota Town Halls

Progressive group takes page from Tea Party to resist Trump agenda

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Photo credit: Donna Azarian AlphaNewsMN

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Last week, Minnesota Republican Congressmen Tom Emmer (CD-6), Erik Paulsen (CD-3) and Jason Lewis (CD-2) were all targeted by the recently-formed group known as “Indivisible.” During the congressional recess from Washington, D.C., progressive activists in Minnesota showed up in droves to attend local town hall meetings and gathered at republican congressional offices, whether or not the congressmen were in attendance.

Indivisible is a national organization which Breitbart reports has links to George Soros and Barack Obama. The group is calling last week’s events “Reclaim Recess.” Indivisible’s  Reclaim Recess Toolkit instructs followers to “stop the Trump agenda” by initiating meetings for congress members or hijacking already scheduled ones.  Using “With or Without You” forums, Reclaim Recess was just one of the several methods Indivisible used to fight back against the new administration, by taking over town halls or barging into congressional offices to make their voices heard.

A recent article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency says Indivisible was started by married couple and former congressional aides Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg and is headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia. Levin worked as a staffer for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat.  Greenberg was a staff assistant in the office of Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia. The Washington Post reports Greenberg also previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Levin told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I think right now we are facing an existential threat, quite literally, from this administration and this Congress. The only thing that I think is going to really work, to convince Congress to do something else, is local groups [that] stand up and make their voices heard.”

Levin said he turned down a job offer at Georgetown Law School Center on Poverty and Inequality to work as Indivisible’s executive director.  “This is the most meaningful work I’ve ever done in in my life,” Levin told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Indivisible doesn’t hide the fact that that it was founded by progressives for progressives. They have written a 26-page manifesto called “A Practical Guide For Resisting The Trump Agenda” which instructs fellow Indivisibles on how to contact Republican congress members (in-person visits are preferred over sending letters) and asks their followers to bring a prepared script of questions to town hall meetings where they are also instructed to be polite but persistent.  The guide encourages members to speak with message-friendly media and instructs them to use social media to contact them.

In Minnesota, an Indivisible protest outside of Congressman Paulsen’s Eden Prairie office on February 25 attracted about 150 people.  Some wore pink hats and others wore “Indivisible” buttons. The majority carried signs – homemade and pre-printed – and shouted through bullhorns demanding that Paulsen hold a town hall. Paulsen’s office was closed at the time of the event. Protest organizer Kelly Guncheon spoke to Alpha News and confirmed Indivisible organized the protest and said that the group was going to be “relentless” with Paulsen and said they have a “long way to go.”  Similar protests were held in Jason Lewis’ congressional district on the same day.

Congressman Emmer held a town hall meeting in Sartell, Minnesota, on February 22 where several hundred protesters showed up to denounce the Trump administration and demanded the congressman’s ear. Inside the meeting, shouts from those still outside could be heard, with chants of “Do Your Job” and “Hey, Ho, Donald Trump Has Got To Go!”

Levin and Greenberg say they conceived the idea for the Indivisible guide around Thanksgiving, just a few days after Donald Trump was elected President.  The guide, according to the couple, is patterned after strategies used by the Tea Party which used grass-roots efforts to oppose the policies of Barack Obama.  Indivisible uses brash, in-your-face techniques like swarming a representative-scheduled town hall meeting en-masse, armed with scripted questions and narratives from the guide, demanding to be heard. Notifications of meetings are posted on progressive social media sites, producing swells of anti-Trump attendees who can not all fit within a venue. These meetings have included people who don’t even live within the congressional district.  Indivisible uses these meetings to try and control the narrative and verbally pounce on the elected official when they are not satisfied with the answers they are given.

Another technique is for Indivisible members to arrange a town-hall-like meeting within a congressional district, inviting only progressives, liberals and democrats. The meeting is not arranged or approved by the congressional district office.  Republican representatives are “invited” to attend this meeting by Indivisible.  The congress members are then lambasted by the group for not attending the meeting and then Indivisible uses social media to broadcast that the elected official refused to show up and does not care about or listen to their constituents. Indivisible held two “With or Without You” meetings last week for both Paulsen and Lewis. The local congressional offices did not schedule or approve the meetings and both representatives had prior commitments.

A quick search of Indivisible’s website shows 83 “local action” groups within a 100 mile radius from Minnetonka, Minnesota.  Groups are listed in Indivisible’s directory provided they agree to resist Trump’s agenda, focus on local defensive congressional advocacy and embrace progressive values, according to the website.  Some of the Indivisible groups have names like “Hellz No Action Team” and “Tolerance Equality Action Movement.”

“Like it or not, the Tea Party really did have significant accomplishments—facing more difficult odds than we face today—and that it’s worth thinking about what parts of their strategy and tactics really enabled that,” Levin told New Yorker Magazine. “We aimed to balance that acknowledgment by being very clear that we’re not endorsing the Tea Party’s horrible and petty scare tactics.”

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Guncheon told Alpha News at the Indivisible rally outside of Paulsen’s Eden Prairie office last week.  “We’ll be doing this on a regular basis.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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