Resisting Trump without Representation
January 25, 2017 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I live in Washington DC so I don't have voting representation in Congress. Most of the non-donation suggestions I've seen for resisting the Trump administration focus on contacting the representatives that I don't have. What other actions can I take?

My husband and I are already donating money to organizations like the ACLU and the NAACP. I'm looking for things I can do -- letters I can write, calls I can make, whatever -- that don't require representation in Congress. I've called some Senate offices about cabinet nominees but since I'm not actually their constituent I know they don't care what I think. I'm writing emails warning about the growth of fascism to family members (who are probably pretty annoyed with me but whatever). I don't know any Nazis I can punch. What else can I do?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Law & Government (16 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: One deleted; apparently the Swing Left group that's being passed around is a scam data-collection operation, so better not to give them the googlejuice.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

Honestly, I would pick the closest representative to you and still call. The most I have been asked for is my zip code to show that I'm a constituent -- it's not like they are literally tracking down your voter registration record. You can also send postcards to district offices -- again, that isn't going to have a full address on it anyway.

You could also check out Swing Left to find the closest swing House district to you, and get involved in that campaign. (From what I have seen, the Swing Left folks themselves aren't super organized/focused, but it can be a good source of information to then go do your own research and get involved.) [Edit - based on previous comment, I took out the link -- I will say the website gave me accurate information and I have not been spammed, but buyer beware, I guess? You could presumably look up info on nearby swing districts yourself too.]

You might check out Tuesday rallies at Senator offices and see if there is something near you -- these rallies are more about numbers, no one is checking where you live/vote. I went to one yesterday and it was very inspiring/great energy.
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Since the White House phones have been turned off, some cheeky folks at a SuperPac have created this tool for calling Trumps businesses and demanding to be heard on various issues. I find it very relaxing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

(Just to follow up, the Swing Left skepticism is something Daily Kos has been reporting, folks can follow here for example)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:13 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Issues with Swing Left aside, I do think volunteering for campaigns is the way to go. They don't have to be near you if you can do digital phonebanking! My go-to resource for this is - they highlighted Foster Campbell's US Senate campaign in Louisiana (for which I phonebanked - I'm in California), followed by two statehouse races in Virginia (I donated to those, but they included phonebanking info as well). They've promised to keep releasing info as off-season campaigns and special elections come up, so it's not just for 2018.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is the perfect question to pose directly to your "shadow" Congresspeople and House delegate. Find out what efforts they're already involved with and ask how you can help. Contact info at the top and bottom of this .pdf. (Edited to add that I volunteered in Norton's office when I lived in DC.)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: One thing you can do that most of us can't is show up at protests and actions taking place in DC. As we've seen, those things tend to hurt Trump's feewings a whole lot, so as much as you can stand around and yell in the general direction of the White House with a few thousand of your closest friends.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:00 AM on January 25, 2017 [24 favorites]

Help those who are protesting in DC through facilitating access, offering places to stay, etc.
Talk to Senators and Representatives when you see them out in public.
Show up for protests.
Tell the many DC-ers who work in the federal government about secure ways to leak information to the media (most major news orgs have a way to share information securely, check Pro Publica and The Interecept.
posted by cushie at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Are you from DC originally? If not, do you identify with your home state? I lived in DC for 8.5 years, but always considered myself a Virginian. I would not hesitate to write to Senators Kaine and Warner about issues that mattered to me, nor to Rep. Scott (who represents my hometown), for example.

And by all means write to your DC folks, even though they can't vote.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 11:21 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm in the same boat and plan to focus some effort on the Senators and Reps from other states who are trying to undermine DC's right to self-rule -- as well as those from neighboring MD/VA districts who will be voting on such measures (e.g., Barbara Comstock (R), who only narrowly won VA 10 in 2016). I found some info here, including a "Get Involved" signup. I'm also attending my local ANC meetings whenever possible. I'd love to hear more about other resources from metafolks who are active in DC.
posted by argonauta at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I suggest following the Washington Peace Center. They have a weekly newsletter that goes out on Wednesdays listing local protests, actions, etc. (you can sign up here). Most of the demonstrations tend to be during the workday, but the newsletter I just received included this as an example of something you could do - call the mayor and city council tomorrow afternoon to demand that they express support for refugees and Muslims. They'll be posting scripts today before the call-in begins.
posted by LNM at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Swamp Revolt is organizing in DC (and running bystander trainings).
So is Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Not sure if anything religious based works for you, but All Souls (Unitarian) and Jews United for Justice are organizing (as well as many other places).

Link with other people and start organizing. Help build that diverse community we need to resist. Make friends with neighbors you never spoke with before.
posted by anya32 at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Virginia is one of the few states that has off-year elections. While November is pretty far away, you can learn about the candidates running for governor, pick your favorite and get involved with their campaign. I'm sure they will need people to make phone calls before the Democratic primary. After that, the state Democratic party will start ramping up for the general election and will hopefully be in a position to direct volunteers to help out with competitive races in the House of Delegates. Virginia is barely blue and the state party could use all the help they can get to keep it that way. From what little I know, I expect the governor's race in particular to be tough as whoever wins the primary won't have the name recognition and resources that the current governor did and he barely won.
posted by kat518 at 12:19 PM on January 25, 2017

I think people can check out SwingLeft and decide for themselves if they want to support it. LobsterMitten called it a "scam" and linked to this post from a random anonymous Daily Kos diarist, which has two pieces of evidence. The first piece of evidence in that diary is that someone involved is Russian, which is a) not evidence that the site is a scam, and b) racist. The second piece of evidence was someone did a search and got an inconsistent result (or maybe not), which is not at all surprising for a new site which is still filling in data. Here is another Daily Kos diary on the site/founders, "I don't think is a "fake" site. Read and decide for yourself. I'll be participating."
posted by andoatnp at 12:21 PM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have worked on two presidential campaigns and currently work in political advocacy, my advice to people who live in blue states where they don't have to worry about the federal representatives is this.

Contact voters in targeted districts and encourage/help them to contact their legislators. Legislators are most responsive to their own constituents because that's who they are ultimately accountable to.

You could connect to groups like your local democratic party, Move On, or Organizing for Action to find ways to influence other voters. Groups like Planned Parenthood will plan actions in districts. Calling or canvassing voters in Virginia is definitely something you can do and can help make a difference.
posted by brookeb at 12:40 PM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for asking this! I also live in DC (hi neighbor!) and work in political advocacy and have been thinking about this a lot. Showing up for the protests is good. Volunteering with campaigns in Virginia and Maryland is good. There's an election in Virginia for governor and state legislature this November. The primary is happening in June. There are lots of campaigns just over the river that would love to have help!

Supporting our local government's efforts to resist the Trump administration is good. I've also been looking for opportunities to volunteer to strengthen our community in DC, starting with Bread for the City.
posted by fancypants at 7:59 PM on January 25, 2017

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