Since Trump’s election, the Indivisible movement has created a weapon in seeking town hall meetings between district constituents and their elected members of congress. The ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans has never been more stark, than in the response to these town hall requests.
In Colorado, the most vociferous and intense requests for meetings has been directed at Cory Gardner, our Republican Senator. Touting himself as a family values person, he has been busy hiding from constituents, who believe that health care, SCOTUS judges elected for life and the destruction of the American democracy are family values. Gardner, who flies to Washington DC every Monday and returns home on Friday, has continuously made himself unavailable to constituents. Protesters march outside his Denver office every Tuesday, and one protest meeting had over 2,000 persons in attendance at a meeting in which speakers delivered their concerns to a cardboard cutout of Gardner’s persona. Gardner has chosen to have screened telephone conferences in which he can hide from face to face meetings, spin his answers with impunity and generally not answer those questions that he considers “too hard”.
Michael Bennet, our Democratic senator, has made face time available and his staff has given meetings to the Indivisible movement protesters. Some will argue that is easier for Bennet since he is a Democrat and not the target of such intense pressure. I would argue that this is a falsehood since Bennett is under extreme pressure from Indivisible to support the Gorsuch filibuster even though he considers Anshutz and Gorsuch, “personal friends”. It is this very fact, the position that friendship should prevail over the will of the people, that has brought Bennet into the controversy. His constituents do not want Gorsuch and they also want spineless Democrats to stand up for Progressive values in the same manner that the Tea Party has done in the past.
Both Bennet and Gardner are the recipients of large sums of dark money. Koch brother’s money is a major factor in Gorsuch’s nomination. Anshutz money is equally corrupting to the process. Both Senators have breached their oath of office to defend the constitution, Bennet by not rejecting Gorsuch after the Republicans stole Obama’s nominee seat, and Gardner, by voting straight party on every issue Trump has put forth. Both are in real danger of losing their upcoming elections, especially to primary opponents.
Bennet is up for re-election in 2022 and Gardner in 2020. It is convenient for these two “establishment” politicians to view the Indivisible movement as a flash in the pan that will eventually moderate as the members once again align themselves with Party nominees. However, this calculation is extremely dangerous for both Republican and Democrat candidates.
First, the Indivisible movement has the ability to support primary candidates of it’s choice, not just those candidates having party support. They will support the primary candidate of their choice based on ideological reasons.
Second, the Indivisible movement will not align itself automatically with either party. Many of the Indivisible movement members see themselves as Bernie Sanders supporters and Sander’s supporters are creating a separate political entity. It is important to realize the Sander’s following as well as the Indivisible movement may move to support a major party candidate, but it will occur because that candidate represents their values; not because the establishment wants to continue to pick winners and losers.
People finally sense the danger of dark oligarchs and staunch ideologues controlling American politics. They also see the power of grass roots organizing and displays of protest power. This sense of empowerment is not going to be given away easily. American democracy is on trial, and both of these Senators need to face their constituents at respective town halls.
- Tony Corrado