Un guide pour le lobbying anti-Trump

D’ancien-nes attaché-es parlementaires étatsunien-nes ont sorti en janvier 2017 un guide nommé :

« Indivisibles : un guide pratique pour résister au programme de Trump »

Ayant eux-mêmes constaté les effets du lobbying réalisé par le Tea Party, et la façon dont celui-ci a réussi à empêché l’administration Obama a réaliser un certain nombre de réformes, ces ancien-nes attaché-es parlementaires partagent les principes et méthodes auxquelles ils ont été confronté-es, afin qu’ils puissent être cette fois être utilisés contre l’administration de Donald Trump. Un guide pragmatique pour un lobbying efficace. Pas banal.

J’en reproduis ici des extraits en français, non pas pour reconstituer la méthode, mais pour souligner les points qui m’ont marquée. En effet, on y voit à quel point le combat est avant tout organisationnel, et non pas politique.

Ce guide et un grand nombre d’autres ressources sont consultables sur le site

The author of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs (members of Congress) to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism. And they won.
If a small minority in the Tae Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.
To replicate the Tea Party’s seccess in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents.
The next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda.

How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama

« If they succeed, or even half succeed, the Tea Party’s most important legacy may be organizational, not political »
Jonathan Rauch

The Tea Party two key strategic choices
  • They were locally focused

Groups were small, local and dedicated. Tea Party groupes could be fewer than 10 people, but they were highly localized and dedicated significant personal time and resources.
There are real, tangible results by a group that represented only a small portion of Americans.

  • They were almost purely defensive

Groups focused on defense, not policy development. They realized that the locally-based discussion groups themselves could be a powerful tool.
Groups rejected concessions to Democrats and targeted weak Republicans. As a result, few Republicans spoke against the Tea Party for fear of attracting blowback.
Groups focused on local congressional representation. Tae Partiers primarily applied this defensive strategy by pressuring their own local MoCs.

Using theses lessons to fight the Trump agenda

Those MoC care much about getting reelected than they care about any specific issue.
Stall the Trump agenda by forcing them to redirect energy away from their priorities.
Every time your MoC signs on to a bill, takes a position, or makes a statement, a little part of his or her mind will be thinking : « How am I going to explain this to the angry constituents who keep showing up at my events and demanding answers? »

Why we are not the Tea Party :
The Tea Party’s ideas were wrong, and their behavior was often horrible. We are better thatn this. We are the majority, and we don’t need petty scare tactics to win.

Shouldn’t we put forward an alternate, positive agenda?

As progressives, our natural inclination is to talk about the things we’re for : a clean climate, economic justice, health care for all, racial equality, gender and sexual equality, and peace and human rights. But the hard truth of the next four years is that we’re not going to set the agenda: Trump and congressional Republicans will, and we’ll have to respond.
When you’re trying to influence your MoC, you will have the most leverage when you are focused on whatever the current legislative priority is.

How your member of Congress thinks, and how to use that to save democracy

« There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader. »
Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

It’s all about reelection, reelection, reelection

Functionally speaking, MoCs are always either running for office or getting ready for their next election: a fact that shapes everything they do.
To be clear, this does not mean that your MoC is cynical and unprincipled. The vast majority of people in Congress believe in their ideals, and care deeply about representing their constituents and having a positive impact. But they also know that if they want to make change, they need to stay in office.

What every MoC wants their constituents to thing: « My MoC cares about me, shares my values, and is working hard for me. »

Help, my MoC is in a safe District!
MoCs who have nothing to fear from a general election still worry about primary challenges.
Enven the safest MoC will be deeply alarmed by signes of organized opposition, because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.

What does a MoC’s office do, and why?

Constituent services
Communicate with constituents directly
Meet with constituents
Seek and create positive press
Host and attend events in district
Actual legislating: MoCs take votes based on a combination of their own beliefs, pressure from leadership/lobbyists, and pressure from their constituents.

MoC cares a lot about:
– Local press and editorials, maybe national press
– An interest group’s endorsement
– Groups of constituents, locally famous individuals, or big individual campaign contributors
– Concrete asks that entail a verificable action: vote for a bill, make a public statement, etc.

MoCs doesn’t care much about:
– Your thoughtful analysis of the proposed bill
– A single constituent
– General ideas about the world
– A laundry list of all the issues you’re concerned about

Organize a local group to fight for your congressional district

Diversity in your group and reaching out:
Trump’s agenda explicitly targets immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people, the poor and working class, and women. It is critical that our resistance reflect and center the voices of those who are most directly threatened by the Trump agenda.

You all need to be local.

Agree on principles:
– Donald Trump’s agenda will take America backwards and must be stopped
– In order to work together to achieve this goal, we must model the values of inclusion, tolerance and fairness

We strongly recommend focusing on defense against Trump agenda rather than developing an entire alternative policy agenda. Defining a proactive agenda is time-intensive, divisive, and, quite frankly, a distraction, since there is zero chance that we as progressives will get to put our agenda into action at the federal level in the next four years.

How do I recruit people to take action?

Most people are moved to take action through individual conversations. Here are some tips for having successful conversations to inspire people to take action with your group.

  • Get the story. What issues does the other person care about? How would the reactionary Republican agenda affect them, their communities, and their values?
  • Imagine what’s possible. How can your group change your community’s relationship with your MoC? How could your group, and others like it, protect our values?
  • Commitment and ownership. Ask a clear yes or no question: will you work with me to hold our representatives accountable? Then, get to specifics. Who else can they talk about joining the group? What work needs to be done (planning a meeting, researching a MoC) that they can take on? When will you follow up?

Ask open-ended questions! People are more likely to take action when they articulate what they care about and can connect it to the action they are going to take. A good rule of thumb is to talk 30% if the time or less, and listen at least 70% of the time.

Four local advocacy tactics that actually work

Note on safety and privilege:
Members of your group who enjoy more privilege should think carefully about how they can ensure that they are using their privilege to support other members of the group.

1- Town halls / listening sessions
2- Other local public events
3- In-office visits / sit-ins
Have a specific « ask » + Leave staff with a BRIEF write up + Share a personal story + Be polite + Be persistent
4- Mass calls



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