News

In Trump's wake: Locals take leadership role in campaigns to elect Democrats

 

The Republican Party has been riding high with its control over state governments, with Republican majorities in the legislatures of 33 states.

The GOP did not arrive at its dominant position overnight or by accident, but it was the election of Donald Trump to the presidency that was apparently the last straw for many Democratic and politically progressive voters, including some in Portola Valley and Woodside.

Indivisible PV, one of some 5,000 chapters of Indivisible USA, formed after the 2016 election to resist the agenda of Mr. Trump and his party. With Portola Valley resident Dr. David Kaufman at the head of about 240 members, most from Portola Valley, the group has prepared posters, contacted members of Congress and participated in marches on issues such as taxes, science and climate change.

At its May meeting, attended by 40 people at the Woodside Village Church, the group's Action wing distributed packets of postcards in need of stamps and addressed to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in support of the committee's investigation of Russia's alleged meddling with the 2016 election.

The group also has an Electoral wing, which has other fish to fry: providing campaign materials and support for one-off 2017 federal races for the House of Representatives, including in Georgia and Montana.

Getting Democrats to actually vote is the key, says Rebecca Flynn of Indivisible PV. "We don't need to convert any Trump supporters," she says. "We just need to get out the vote."

Taking a page from the Electoral wing is Local Majority, a smaller group of 15 Portola Valley women led by JoAnn Loulan and providing campaign managers in Virginia with research and highly distilled written materials to help elect more Democrats to the House of Delegates, Virginia's lower house, in November 2017.

"What's a priority for me," Ms. Loulan says, "is flipping some of these state legislatures. Most of the egregious laws on the books," including laws restricting abortion, gay marriage and transgender rights, originated in state legislatures, she says. "The Republicans have been pretty smart."

Virginia is one of two states holding legislative elections in 2017. The other is New Jersey, which is solidly blue at the federal and state levels except for its governor, Chris Christie.

Meanwhile in Woodside, the local chapter of Swing Left is focusing on unseating Republican Jeff Denham who represents California's 10th Congressional District, a Central Valley area that includes Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Mr. Denham won re-election in 2016, but by a margin of just 3.4 percent.

A victory that closely fought meets the definition of a swing district for Swing Left, and there are 66 of them in House races in 26 states, according to the group's website. Democrats need to win 80 percent of those districts in 2018 to regain the House majority, says Denise Fenzi, the Swing Left chair in Woodside. "Then we can think about taking back the country," she adds.

Swinging Left

Swing Left, on its home page, advises its volunteers to "find your closest Swing District and join its team to learn about actionable opportunities to support progressives and defeat Republicans in that district, no matter where you live. We can stop Trump and the GOP agenda by working together NOW."

Ms. Fenzi, 48 and a Democrat with a master's degree in public administration, became chair of the Woodside chapter by virtue of her success at persuading people to attend an organizing party. "I didn't realize what I was signing up for," she says.

The 10th District election is 18 months away, but momentum for assigning tasks is picking up, she says. An online bulletin board to connect volunteers with 10th District campaigns is in progress. Voter registration events have been held, and a get-out-the-vote effort is ahead. Workers conversant in languages other than English, particularly Spanish and Assyrian, will be essential, Ms. Fenzi says.

The 10th District only recently swung Republican. Between 1996 and 2012, it was represented by Democrats. Ms. Fenzi's key questions: "What do people want? What do they need? How can we help them get there?" she says. "It's not about us. It's about them."

While the Woodside chapter of Swing Left consults with the Democratic Party and other Bay Area chapters, it's a bottom-up organization, Ms. Fenzi said. "We are allowed to do whatever makes sense," she said. The immediate goal is to "hand a pretty good pot of money" to the Democratic candidate who wins the 10th District's primary election, she said.

Tea Party methods

The handbook "Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda" is the work of former congressional staffers on how to effectively get the attention of members of Congress and participate in the democratic process.

The book's four chapters focus on tactics the Tea Party employed to oppose the policies of Barack Obama's administration. The authors don't hold back. "If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump," the introduction says.

The chapters go step-by-step over Tea Party methods:

• Use defensive tactics point out problems with your opponents' agenda rather than proposing alternatives.

• Be sensitive to a congressional representative's priorities: getting re-elected, not wasting time, and avoiding surprises and bad press.

• Mobilize locally.

• Make yourself heard when your representative is in the district.

In a district represented by Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, there's not a lot reason for Indivisible members to complain. Ms. Eshoo also opposes Mr. Trump and the ideas he represents. What's an activist to do?

Virginia beckoned. Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016, including its popular vote with a majority of 64 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.com. The legislature, however, is deep red -- just one vote shy of a veto-proof Republican majority in the House of Delegates.

Gerrymandering is an issue. The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected a district court ruling in support of 12 Virginia legislative districts that had been redrawn after the 2010 census, saying that the district court used an incorrect standard in deciding that race was not a predominating factor in the redrawing.

15 women

Of Local Majority, Ms. Loulan says: "You can't believe these people, the 15 women that are doing this."

In an effort to inform Virginia voters, the women of Local Majority are studying in detail the activities of Republican legislators. If a bill on student debt relief, for example, never made it to the floor for a vote, they are trying to ferret out exactly why that happened, Ms. Loulan says. Details on what takes place in committee rooms is apparently very hard to come by, even for dedicated observers.

One of the women, Laura Kavanaugh, says she was surprised at the gerrymandering and the dominance of Republicans in the Virginia state legislature, given Democratic tendencies in statewide elections. "What's alarming is that people don't realize how much this (balance) affects their daily lives," she says, whether it's minimum wages, sanctuary cities, voter suppression laws or women's and LGBTQ rights.

People of color, immigrants and the "financially strapped" will be the most hurt by Republican legislation, she says. The Democratic campaigns in Virginia don't have a lot of funding, she says. "They're really grateful to have a group of volunteers that is paying attention and doing the work."

"Everyone's working their butt off, some (of them) way harder than me," says Laura Cornish, another of the 15 women. "There's an amazing amount of time going into this."

Ms. Cornish is one of four women working to flip Virginia's state District 12 in the House of Delegates, now represented by Republican Joseph Yost. The volunteers are putting together statistical information and writing background material on Mr. Yost, and will do the same for his challenger after the primary election, if there is one -- material to put at the fingertips of door-to-door campaign workers.

Mr. Yost won re-election in 2015 with 58.4 percent of the vote, but with a turnout of just 24 percent, Ms. Loulan noted. Local Majority is looking for salient issues. In seeking new Democratic voters, for example, college websites have potential as resources for finding students willing to talk about what's important to them, Ms. Cornish says.

There are complications. The district includes Virginia Tech, where in 2007 a student shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17. But the district is a stronghold for the National Rifle Association, campaign managers say, and the volunteers were asked to avoid writing about guns and gun rights, Ms. Cornish says.

"These are the kinds of conversations that we have to have and think about," she says. "We're in Portola Valley (where) there's a whole different demographic."

Another Local Majority member, Sheila Ellison, says she learned that a significant number of women voted for Mr. Trump because they were told to by their fathers, husbands or brothers. "That was just like a dagger to my heart," she says. "'The men in my life told me to vote this way?' Are we really still that far behind?"

"We can't make calls for Virginians, but we can help people in Virginia understand their vote," she says. "They don't have the time and energy. I do have the time and energy. ... I don't want my children to inherit the world the way it's going. We have to flip the state and then we'll move on to the next state."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported JoAnn Loulan as heading Indivisible PV. The group is actually led by Dr. David Kaufman.

--

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Comments

68 people like this
Posted by Doesn't bother me
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Trump's actions do not bother or impact my life. Gov. Brown's does ( gas tax, railroad to nowhere, supporting illegal activity, taxpayer bail out of underwater pension funds) Time to change Sacramento from Blue to Red.


14 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm

[Post removed. Please make your point without negative characterizations of other posters.]


25 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm

"Trump's actions do not bother or impact my life"

His campaign was in contact with our adversary while they led an espionage attack on our great country - how's that for "supporting illegal activity"?

No bother, eh?

The legend Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave. From Sacramento to DC, right or wrong, Reagan was America First. Trump is all about Trump.

And you, sir, are no patriot.


74 people like this
Posted by veteran Woodside parent
a resident of Woodside School
on May 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

veteran Woodside parent is a registered user.

PV's Indivisibles might want to focus on our own State and its many problems – no substantive water storage solutions, dilapidated roads & bridges, extremely high and regressive taxes, a flurry of regulations hurting small businesses, wasteful train to nowhere, an all-powerful teachers' union that blocks any improvements in education, a spendthrift one-party Legislature, and an unfunded liability of State government pension funds of $1 Trillion (per recent Stanford study).

Hey Indivisibles, why not put a little energy on our own Blue State!


6 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

@veteran Woodside parent -- All fine and well. But as long as 45 stays in office, the United States will become nothing more than Russia's Overseas Province.

If that's what you want, fine. But many of us would rather not let that happen.


62 people like this
Posted by Doesn't bother me
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Yet More Of The Same Nonsense- Actually I am part of the 1% group and proud of it. As such I pay people a fair wage when they work in my home. I support restaurants that do the same. I would like you to point out exactly what DJT has DONE to impact your life. Do no regurgitate headlines but provide facts. Granted his threats, again no action, have reduced the amount of illegal border crossing; thereby reducing cheap labor. This will increase labor for existing workers and force employers to provide better working standards. If you support taking advantage of workers then keep supporting the falsehood that illegal immigration is good for Ca. If you believe in human dignity than a change is need in Sacramento. CA should lead the fight for orderly immigration, including guest worker permits. CA should not be encouraging servitude.


2 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Doesn't bother me -- "I would like you to point out exactly what DJT has DONE to impact your life. Do no regurgitate headlines but provide facts."

[Part removed.] All I would say is this: READ what is going on now -- don't stick to just looking at the headlines.

And stay away from Fox "News," Breitbart, and InfoWars.


57 people like this
Posted by Doesn't bother me
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Yet More Of The Same Nonsense- As suspected you could not provide specifics, just more deflection. I would suggest you do the same and shy away from CNN and MSNBC. Find real sources and not "anonymous" sources to support implied facts. I'll still be here while you look, so will folks who deal with reality and not speculation from unidentified sources of unidentified sources. And please do not say they are afraid of their jobs; that is an easy mask for no source.


Like this comment
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Doesn't bother me -- "As suspected you could not provide specifics, just more deflection."

None are so blind, as those who refuse to see.

"I'll still be here while you look, so will folks who deal with reality and not speculation from unidentified sources of unidentified sources."

Like 45? The master of deflection and reliance on unidentified sources?


11 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm

"shy away from CNN and MSNBC" - MSNBC has multiple Republicans with shows and platform, Fox Breitbart etc.. do not have oppositional voices of much note.

Scarbourgh (GOP congress)
Mitchell (Mrs. Greenspan)
Nicole Wallace (Bush 43, McCain, Palin)
Greta Van Susteren
Stephanie Rhoule or whatever her name is, etc..

I see Steve Schmidt, Hugh Hewlitt, George Will and many AM radio conservative flamethrowers, and lots of conservative congress-critters on MSNBC all the time.

You clearly have no clue what is on MSNBC.

You also clearly want no part of defending Trump. I repeat: Trump either supported or withheld information about a foreign intelligence service espionage attack on our great country - how's that for "supporting illegal activity"?

The legend Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave. From Sacramento to DC, right or wrong, Reagan was America First. Trump is all about Trump.

And you, sir, are no patriot. Damn patriotism, you just want tax cuts for us Athertonians.


62 people like this
Posted by jackrabbit
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm

"Indivisibles"??? The knothead who is head of the CA Senate (Deleon) calls those opposed to Sanctuary Cities 'white supremacists'? Talk about a 'deplorable'. That comment is not worthy of the office he holds... and he should be dismissed/drummed out immediately. Why don't all of those who decry legal activities in favor of illegal activities look in the mirror. You should more likely call yourselves 'The Divisibles'. Get real folks and quit the whining. It is unbecoming...and it's over. California is no longer leading the way. California is out of touch and no longer the hope )i.e., 'California Dream') it once was. Sad.


13 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 18, 2017 at 3:36 pm

"California is no longer leading the way."

Whaaaaat?

California's economy is the pillar of our American economy. What world do you live in?


5 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

@Zuck -- They live in Alternative Fact World, where 45 is the smartest human in the world, Democrats are evil traitors, and Vladimir Putin is our best ally...


Like this comment
Posted by 5 q
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on May 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Peeps who used to wail on Obama are noticeably quiet. Odd that...


10 people like this
Posted by mg
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 18, 2017 at 8:49 pm

All the Obama haters realize they can't talk about national politics any more, so they shift to Brown. Hypocrites.


73 people like this
Posted by 4th Generation
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Here's a revelation for all you Liberals that live in the Bay Area Bubble: Trump is not your problem. You are. Typical Liberal tactics to divert attention from the real issues. Let's open the real Liberal Handbook and Diary on Government: This State is a shadow of its former self. It use to be number one in just about every category that one would measure quality of life or a high standard of living. Now, whether its Public Education, Cost of Living, Agriculture, Infrastructure,Healthcare,Taxes,Regulation,Congestion, Drugs, or Crime the numbers and rankings are pitiful. You can't even count on "Best Climate Year Round". After all, we're in a drought and the temperature is rising. The rise of the Oblivious, the Sheep and Lemmings as a political class, bolstered by those that think everything is an entitlement have let a Government that just spends and spends and spends on itself run rampant. But hey, life on the Animal Farm is great. A government that cares more about non citizens than it does its own citizens. We have the Liberals who have come to roost mostly to thank all of the wonderful "progress" this state has made. Just Chart the History of any Liberal Politician in this state and then ask yourself did they leave whatever place they started in better then when they left it. Jerry Brown first attempt as Governor...Still paying for that, Jerry Brown as Mayor of Oakland... How's that working out? Jerry Brown second round of Governor (short memory Sheep and Lemmings).. Third time's a Charm? Now we get to spend hard earned taxpayer dollars on defending the state against the Federal Government and the "Assault on Sanctuary". I wish I could find a Sanctuary from all of the BS. Maybe the recent approval of more fuel and DMV taxes and fees will improve things, Think the Roads, Bridges and Dams are going to be any better? Hey wait a minute, can't we tap some of Janet's Napolitano's slush fund to pay for this? Oh, I forgot that money is to fund the next round of repairs to the U.C. Campuses made necessary by groups of traveling rioters funded by Liberals. Is that what they call "Net Zero"? Hey it's freedom of expression and diversity in action.Let's skip the chapter on freedom of speech. After all, when the public education system eventually runs out of money we can accept more foreign students into the system. After all they can pay more. Ant's and Aphids. Let's not forget that Government of California needs that money to continue to fund their salaries, pensions and nit wit social programs. A clear understanding and review of California History demonstrates that current Liberal Thinking was not what made this State Great. They are just a bunch of carpetbaggers. But after all, we are all in the same boat. Just remember we are all on the USS Californiatanic. There is a big financial Iceberg ahead that has already begun to scratch and dent the hull. Your Government officials are enjoying their strolls on the Promenade, happy to have found a career in politics, rather than actually understanding the nature of public service. Jerry's asleep in the wheelhouse, Barbara has already found a life boat, Diane and Nancy are hanging on to the railings, Anna and Jackie are playing the violins and We have Gavin and Camila at the Bow looking for more Ice. Don't worry though, the music is still playing and guess who's manning the boilers? Google, Apple and Facebook are trying to fill up life jackets as fast as they can. The problem is that most Californians are down in steerage, the gates are closing and the chairs are floating away. But hey let's destroy Trump. He's the real problem.


5 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm

@4th Generation -- So many words. So very little sense.


13 people like this
Posted by liberal california native
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2017 at 7:47 am

@ 4th Generation: That's quite the diatribe, but maybe you should start a new thread about the liberal-generated woes of California. Otherwise, smart people might think you're just trying to divert attention from the real point of this thread: How to survive and help pick up the pieces as the Trump Disaster proceeds.

Here's a good starting point for your new thread: "A clear understanding and review of California History demonstrates that current Liberal Thinking was not what made this State Great." Oh my, that's quite a statement. And a "fact" that can be "demonstrated." You're on.

Meanwhile, if you want to continue on this thread, how about offering your wisdom about the benefits to national and world security of Trump's sharing of highly sensitive information with his Russian buddies -- in a meeting in which all press but the Russian government-controlled press (could they possibly have been spying for Putie Poot?) was excluded? And Trump's firing of the person who was in the middle of the investigation of Trump Team's ties with Russia and how that might have been connected to the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And ... and ... and ...


82 people like this
Posted by Jackrabbit
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

Generation -- AGREE completely. Well stated. It's all about QUALITY of Life. As a fourth generation CAer (and senior member of the community), CA has had it as you reference in your piece. The Prog Carpetbaggers have destroyed what was once 'The Golden State. Yesterday had lunch with four pals who are all 4th-5th gen CAers and we all agreed we would leave this mess of a state but the traffic is so bad now we can't get out!


10 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2017 at 9:22 am

Oh, please... stop it.

Whine, moan, complain. Zero facts. Do you realize what you sound like? (hint: do your kids and grandkids just nod and roll their eyes a lot?)

The only place you are clearly correct is about traffic. What's your solution? More public transit? Kick employers our of the area? The Horse?

How about we go back to horse and buggy? Like MY California 4th generation ancestors? (I can show you where the carriage house was...)


74 people like this
Posted by Jim Geraghty
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

If you talk to Democrats lately, they speak not as if the voters merely made a mistake, but that somehow history itself has gone wrong. They speak we’re living in an alternate timeline, experiencing events that “weren’t supposed” to happen.

In their eyes, Hillary Clinton was obviously so much more appealing that Trump. She led in the polls! She had so many more campaign offices! She spent so much more money! She ran so many more ads! Surely, a result like this must be the result of someone cheating.

Because so many Democrats associate Trump with apocalyptic threats – global warming, the sudden establishment of a repressive theocracy like the Handmaid’s Tale, nuclear confrontation, race wars – they all see themselves as their own personal Kyle Reeses, on a mission to save the future. With this desperate, all-or-nothing mindset, they will always insist that the evidence to take down Trump is waiting to be found, just around the next corner.

Sad and delusional and full of self-importance.


4 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

"Sad and delusional and full of self-importance"

And just whom comes to mind with that phrase? (hint: “When you’re a star they let you do it... You can do anything.” Grab 'em by the...)

Thank you, for clearing that up.

At least you know not to publicly defend your vote for Trump. Always attack someone else to defend the indefensible.

38%

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by perf-ed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

Since when is generational squatting a sign of intelligence? If it is, then explain your vote FOR Trump.


81 people like this
Posted by jackrabbit
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on May 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

To all my whining 'holier than thou' Prog Carpetbagger friends (i.e., 'Individualists') who know what's best for everyone, have a couple of words you should consider re: your cause -- 'Carlos Danger'. Before chiding others, you might consider 'cleaning out your own closet' first. And you seem so worried about the Russian State interference in our election process (without evidence), did you give any thought to 'your' own suggested interference in other states' elections? What hypocrites...that notion truly Zucks.
PS Seems the three PV Westridge posters are all on the same page philosophically -- do you chalk that up to collusion or merely common sense?


8 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

"Carpetbagger"?

"had lunch with four pals who are all 4th-5th gen CAers"

You truly think "generational squatting" (h/t to @perf) is somehow a sign of intelligence or superiority!!

So we do agree on some things - like the superiority of Native Americans! You may turn your land back to the Ohlone any time you please.

:)


6 people like this
Posted by Progressive Native
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

This conversation is worthy of Saturday Night Live. Jackrabbit, please pay attention now: I'm a progressive, I'm a native Californian (carpetbagger? what alt right outlet is using that garbage rant now?), and I didn't even know what you were talking about with the Carlos Danger reference until I googled. You're equating the Repubs' loyalty to Trump to a dreamed-up progressive "cause" of supporting a jackass like Wiener, who should have retreated to a cave where he belongs long ago? Sorry Jack, false equivalent. And oh so laughable.

But you go on to out-do even your own silliness with this: "And you seem so worried about the Russian State interference in our election process (without evidence),..." Without evidence? Can you name a single entity in the US Intelligence Community that says there's NO EVIDENCE of Russian interference in the election? Put another way, name one intelligence agency that does NOT agree that there was Russian interference in the election. I guess Breitbart doesn't concern itself with such trivial details in reporting its alternative facts.


2 people like this
Posted by Zuck
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

Sad.

Jackrabbit has discovered the "like" button and is desperately clicking away - keep working, you are almost to 100!! Next thing will be desperate posting under multiple names.

Try Facts next time. They have a remarkable quality to them.

Fact: Trump hired Flynn as National Security Adviser even though the FBI told Trump's lawyer that Flynn is under investigation for acting as an paid agent of a foreign country as well as all the Russia connections.

Tell us how your important 4th generation friends value patriotism.


2 people like this
Posted by NOT as nasty
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 22, 2017 at 10:28 am

How pathetic. Like a bunch of unruly spoiled (entitled) children. Some discipline is in order. Get it together folks. Time to stop whining. Your cause is 'TOAST'!
Web Link


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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