Mass mobilization could tip the scales on impeachment

Mass mobilization could tip the scales on impeachment
© Greg Nash

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE’s presidency has sparked a protest culture that has made activism cool in a way that this country hasn’t seen in a generation. Almost immediately after his victory in 2016, “protest is the new brunch” and “#resist” became cultural touchstones both online and off. It inspired people to get engaged politically. 

But despite giant crowds taking to the streets at events like the Women’s March, Climate March, and March For Our Lives, we have yet to see a massive mobilization calling for Trump’s impeachment and removal.  

That may be about to change. 

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The night before the House votes on articles of impeachment, which seems increasingly inevitable, we believe Americans will take to the streets in hundreds of towns and cities across the country to rally around one simple concept: nobody is above the law. 

In the three years since Trump got elected, through my role as a coalition organizer, I’ve worked alongside numerous allies to build a network of organizations that have come together to address the lawlessness, corruption and bigotry of this administration. 

While many of our groups remain nonpartisan, we represent millions of Americans who are adversely affected by Trump administration policies on immigration, health care, racial justice, women’s rights, climate change or money in politics. 

This is a president who has separated children, stuffed the courts with controversial judges who have lifetime appointments, staffed his Cabinet with craven special interests that seek to undermine the very departments they oversee, funneled money from public coffers and foreign countries into his family businesses, and taken a sledgehammer to our nation’s reputation and alliances on the world stage. 

All of these actions represent attacks on our democracy in one way or another, and many of us are rightfully outraged. But it was the president’s seeming abuse of power in Ukraine that ultimately brought him to the brink of impeachment. 

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Now, it is vital that our elected representatives hold him accountable for his conduct in office. It is the right thing to do from a moral and ethical standpoint. It is also the right thing to do, so our government can return to what all our organizations believe should be its main purpose: serving the American people.    

And our mass mobilization muscles have been flexed before, when former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE extensively detailed the president’s corrupt behavior in his Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election

Over the course of the nearly two-year special counsel investigation, our coalition built a rapid response mobilization network to take to the streets after Trump’s attempts to undermine the work of Robert Mueller. The network built a roster of events registered in 1,000 towns and cities with over 500,000 people signed up to protest within hours’ notice. These events were ultimately triggered twice in the course of the Mueller investigation.  

Now, we’re rebuilding and repurposing that rapid response network to launch even bigger mass demonstrations on the eve of the House vote on articles of impeachment.  

This rapid mobilization effort comes amid an already-thriving grassroots movement for impeachment. As new details emerge about Trump’s behavior, and as his Republican enablers continue to deflect and distract, we’re driving tens of thousands of calls to Congress every week, bird-dogging dozens of members of Congress across Capitol Hill, and organizing hundreds of in-district events during congressional recesses to hold Trump and his Republican supporters accountable. 

While many in the media may be quick to proclaim that there is no chance that the Senate will vote to convict Trump, they’re missing something about the movement we’re building, and it’s the most critical piece of our democracy: an active and engaged populace. As a great Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, once said, “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”  

Mobilizing people to act can be a catalyst for changing public opinion, and Lincoln’s words continue to be as relevant now as ever before. Indeed, most if not all the major social movements and progressive changes made in this country have been fueled by mass protests. The period we’re in now — one of the few times a president has faced impeachment — calls for mass action. Already, across the country, people are responding.

And this moment in time will be looked back upon for generations to come, when those of us who lived through it will have to answer one question: When our country was faced with a president like this, a person who sank so low to win his election, what did we do to try and stop him? 

Rio Tazewell is the senior campaigns manager at People For the American Way (PFAW), where he works to manage advocacy campaigns in support of a range of progressive reforms. In addition to mobilizing PFAW’s 1.5 million members, he works to coordinate with a broad network of partner organizations that represent tens of millions of Americans.