Indivisible On Offense: A Practical Guide to the New Democratic House
This time two years ago, we were lost, angry, and scared. Donald Trump was on the verge of taking power, and we all knew that no one in Washington was prepared to stand up to him. In that moment, we began the original Indivisible Guide with these lines:
Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President-Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the Members of Congress who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist – and we have the power to win.
Looking back, we think this holds up pretty well.
In 2017, we made Congress listen. Indivisibles went to town halls, die-ins, and district offices. We defeated TrumpCare, rallied for immigrants, and turned the Republican tax cut for the rich and corporations into an enormous political liability. We stiffened Democratic spines and weakened Republican resolve. We couldn’t stop everything — but we did stop a lot.
In 2018, we remade Congress. Indivisibles endorsed candidates, registered voters, phone-banked, and knocked doors. We dragged our friends, family, and strangers to the polls. Drop by drop, we built the blue wave. As a result, this Congress will feature a new generation of bold, diverse leaders, and dozens of Trump-supporting Republicans are out of a job. To be sure, the new political reality is complex, and we didn’t get everything we fought for. But we know our next steps, and we’re not giving up.
This Guide is for what comes next. The 2016 Indivisible Guide was about using constituent power to defend our values, our neighbors, and our democracy. This Guide is about using our constituent power to go on offense.
Offense is exciting, but it’s more complex than defense. We have the opportunity to use congressional oversight to hold Trump and his cronies accountable. We can set the legislative agenda with a bold progressive vision rooted in inclusion, fairness, and justice. But none of this is automatic — we have to demand it of Congress.
Two years ago, we wrote the Indivisible Guide because we knew that everything we hold dear was under threat. We believed the only chance this country had was for us to come together and mount a powerful nationwide grassroots resistance — one grounded in a fierce commitment to defend progressive values. To stand up for our democracy, and for one another.
We’ve lost a lot since then, but we — along with critical partners — have accomplished so much to take hope from. We resisted. We retook power. And now, with control of the House of Representatives, we will stand indivisible to remake this country. The following pages offer a road map for the next two years of our journey. Together, we will pave the way to the post-Trump era. Together, we will win.
Indivisible On Offense: Empowering The States To Resist the Trump Agenda
In 2017, we saw the birth of a movement of hundreds of thousands of local activists who started organizing with their neighbors and participating in our democracy to resist the cruel and hate-filled Trump agenda. But the power of an activated constituency shouldn’t stop at our federal representatives in Washington. We have elected officials making decisions on our behalf at all levels of government — from our local school board to our city council and state legislature. The strategy outlined in the original Indivisible Guide describes, in general terms, how to engage in the democratic process; those tactics can be applied to anyone that we elect to represent our interests in government. For the last two years, we’ve followed the stories of dozens of Indivisible groups across the country that have realized that their constituent power has more leverage locally, and have already begun taking their activism to the state level to create change in their communities.
The GOP has been using a state-centered strategy to take and hold power for almost half a century.Conservative organizations like ALEC have been drafting dangerous model legislation and ushering it through statehouses across the country for over 40 years. Then a decade ago, GOP strategists laid out a plan called REDMAP (Redistricting Majority Project) to take back power through state legislatures after the 2010 Census — and it worked, dramatically. In 2010, there were 9 Republican and 16 Democratic “trifectas” (where a single party controls the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature). In 2018, Republicans fully control 26 state governments, while Democrats control 8.
By controlling state governments, conservatives have been able to suppress voting rights, control redistricting, and maintain power in Congress via gerrymandering. By drawing districts in their favor, the GOP has been able to consistently win and hold a disproportionate share of Congressional seats relative to the number of votes that they win. For example, the GOP retained the majority in the House of Representatives in 2014 despite receiving 1.4 million fewer votes. While we don’t believe in the GOP attempt to fundamentally undermine democracy, there are lessons we can learn from the Republicans’ strategy of focusing on states. Progressives have largely ignored state legislatures to our detriment. Now is our chance to take them back.
This document is for Indivisible groups and members who are interested in using their constituent power to influence their state’s policy agenda. We hope to demystify how states can resist the Trump administration and how to develop strategies and tactics for impactful advocacy.