What’s next

What’s next

Last night we flipped the U.S. House of Representatives, including at least two seats in Texas. This represents a seismic shift in the direction of our country. The incredible wins in the Texas House show that many Texans are ready for change at the #txlege, even if we weren’t able to change statewide leadership. Yet.

Of course we are disappointed, as you are, about Beto O’Rourke’s loss, and about losses in other statewide and US House seats around which we’ve been organizing for the past two years. A major silver lining is in the Texas legislature, where 12 House seats flipped, including four seats in Central Texas races where we endorsed. (Congrats to newly minted reps Zwiener, Goodwin, Talarico, and Bucy!)

Our next steps remain the same. We will continue to defend our most vulnerable community members against the rising tide of global authoritarianism. We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. And we will begin to focus on the next round of elections.

At the state level, the 2019 Texas Legislative session begins in January. This will be a critical time to stay engaged. There are likely to be bills on gun violence prevention, immigration, health care, public education and other important issues that affect our lives directly.

Click here if you're interested in TXLEGE

At the federal level, in addition to all of the same House seats we’ve grown to love and hate, Senator John Cornyn is up for reelection in 2020. Beto O’Rourke showed us what was possible statewide. We have two years to fire John Cornyn. We invite you to take the pledge to do just that.

(And psst! Check out senatorjohncornyn.com!)

Commit to firing John Cornyn. Pledge Now.

It’s also important to remember that our objectives go beyond electoral politics. Our friends at TX10 Indivisible identified four reasons to celebrate:

  1. We have created a broad network of progressive activists like nothing that ever existed before in Texas.
  2. We have succeeded in changing the conversation in policy areas such as healthcare and immigration.
  3. We have developed tools to make our elected officials more accountable to progressives and we have learned new ways to engage them more effectively.
  4. We have become a more knowledgeable and engaged electorate.

An engaged citizenry is good for democracy. We’re all due for a rest after this wild midterm election cycle. But we’ll soon be back at it, and glad to have you by our side.

 

How our elected representatives responded to the #MAGAbomber

Here are some quotes from our elected leaders in response to the multiple assassination attempts on prominent Trump critics.

Sen. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

“Let’s be clear. The anger and rage that we’ve been seeing on the far left is deliberately provoked and stoked by Democratic politicians. When Maxine Waters and Corey Booker tell the mob to go harass, scream, yell, confront people — that is not productive. When Hillary Clinton, sadly, says that we can be civil after the Democrats have won the election, that’s not productive either.” —Dallas Morning News

Sen. John Cornyn, on critics blaming Trump for the mail bomber

“These are some of the same people who encourage their own partisans to incivility and to confrontation and to encourage the mob that we saw during the Kavanaugh hearings.” —Fox News

Rep. Michael McCaul

“While free speech is a right, we also have a moral responsibility to use that speech in a thoughtful and civil way. It is incumbent upon all Americans — regardless of political party — to raise the quality of our debates.” —Homeland Security Committee Statement

Rep. Roger Williams

Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)

Rep. Roger Williams said this before the bombing (and no he did not mean Trump):

“We’re all in a position to make real change in this country, but we will never get there when unstable government leaders are harboring violence.” —Dallas Morning News

And after the bombings, in a segment on Glenn Beck’s radio show called “The Left Must Stop Promoting Violence”:

“We all need to dial it down. In my world it started on the baseball field [where Williams and Rep. Steve Scalise were attacked], and I know who started it, and it wasn’t a conservative on the Republican side.”

(For what it’s worth, Indivisible groups in TX25 sent flowers to the Williams staffer who was injured in the shooting.)

We’ll continue to update this list.

A Day on the Hill

(Read about day 1 of my trip to D.C.)

Bright and early last Thursday morning I headed to the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center for the weekly coffee with Sen. John Cornyn, which I RSVP-ed for in advance (and I don’t know if they spend any time researching attendees, but I suspect they do).

Texas flag sign that say says Texas Thursday Coffee Senator John Cornyn
Even Texas signs are bigger

It was gorgeous DC day, and this sort of picture-perfect postcard view of the Capitol is enough to give even the most jaded Texas gal a little hope.

U.S. Capitol dome
Our Capitol is beautiful, majestic, and inspiring.

I joined about 50 other fellow Texans at the coffee, which was held in a large meeting room in the visitors center. I had a few minimum expectations about this event, and I had prepared for any opportunity to speak to or ask questions of the senior senator from Texas. I was ready to talk to him about the family separation policy, gun safety reform, and health care. I was also aware that I was in a room full of people who likely had diverse views on all these issues.

I got my coffee and filled out my photo information form. And then waited for something to happen.

At about 9:50 a staffer (not intern–though they were mostly young white male interns) came in and made a beeline to an older gentleman wearing a Make America Great Again hat. She spent a fair bit of time talking to him and his (I assume) wife.

A few other staffers came in and each spoke with a few folks. In the meantime, they started to line us up to take our photos with the senator. Finally Sen. Cornyn came in and went straight to the flags for photos. We were hustled through very quickly, maybe 15 seconds each, and since no one else was chatting him up I didn’t either. That was a crucial mistake.

More than 50 constituents came to the coffee, and our senator didn’t take any time to speak with us, except for banalities while shaking hands and taking a picture. He whizzed in, took photos for 10 minutes, and then disappeared. There was no welcome from him or from his staff. There was no acknowledgement that most people in the room had traveled from Texas to be there. And there was absolutely no opportunity to engage with our senator about any of the critical policy issues.

I have been to D.C. for enough meetings with members of Congress over the years to have had a certain set of expectations about what happens when 50 constituents are in the room. I learned my lesson and I’m passing it on to you: go to the coffee, get the photo, but also make the appointment and go to the office.

As interns started coming into the room to give people information about their tours, I took my last opportunity to connect with staff. I hand-delivered 300 postcards constituents had signed over the last couple of months, asking Sen. Cornyn to pass basic gun safety reforms that the vast majority of Texans and Americans support. If you wrote a postcard to Sen. Cornyn at the March for Our Lives or the Town Hall for Our Lives, they were delivered, and I hope you get a response. Please share it if you do!

Approximately 300 postcards from Sen. John Cornyn's constituents, asking for strong gun safety measures to protect our children.
Approximately 300 postcards from Sen. John Cornyn’s constituents, asking for strong gun safety measures to protect our children.

My next meeting on the hill couldn’t have been more different. I had reached out to Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s D.C. office the week before my trip and asked if I could stop by and meet some of the staffers so I could put names to faces. I expected to spend about 15-30 minutes at the office at most, but was treated to the opportunity to spend some time with each member of the congressman’s policy team. All my preparation paid off!

In the time I spent with the congressman’s staff, we discussed family separation and what’s happening here in Austin, as well as upcoming Congressional trips to the border; gun violence prevention actions and the hearing on red flag laws and safe gun storage at the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence committee on June 25; work being done to address out-of-control drug prices; the immigration bills that will hit the House floor this week (they are both bad, so call your reps!); the new poll on support for Medicaid expansion in Texas. We probably touched on a few other things I’ve forgotten.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Lisa Goodgame
Thank you for taking a few minutes to chat!

As I was about to leave, Rep. Doggett appeared, and he generously gave me a few minutes. We talked about several of the items on the list above, but most specifically about the actions Democratic members of Congress are taking to address family separation. Something is happening out there, and people are deeply moved by the horror we’re seeing play out at the border. I’m thankful for the members who are putting this issue front and center, and I hope it will drive some change in Congress. But when we see Texas members of Congress hailing the policy as a positive development while also lying that it’s happening because of a law passed by Democrats it’s hard to imagine any sort of solution. Also, do they not hear themselves contradicting themselves in that lie?

With just about an hour left in my schedule, I quickly headed to the offices of Rep. Flores, Rep. Smith, and Rep. McCaul to drop off more postcards asking for stronger gun safety measures, as well as some letters from voters. I have a plan to visit Sen. Cruz’s office next time I’m in D.C.

I caught a member of Rep. McCaul’s staff in the middle of lunch, but I made him listen to me for several minutes as I shared my concerns on the policy of family separation, the criminalization of asylum-seekers, and the need to change this inhumane response to people fleeing violence. He listened, was reasonably friendly, and promised to put my concerns in the database. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

Here’s my key takeaway from this trip: really bad shit is happening in our government every single day and the executive branch agencies are being gutted and destroyed by political appointees. We can campaign our butts off trying to get new people elected in November, but right now most of our representatives are co-signing everything the president wants. Our representatives have traded away a lot of their decency for tax cuts. Each day that we don’t call or take action and engage the people who represent us right now, we are tacitly telling them that we’re OK with what they’re doing and how they are representing us.

We. Are. Not. Don’t let them forget it.

The 18 Judicial Nominees to Block this Week

Cross-posted from Indivisible East Bay

UPDATE: Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris were appointed to the Judiciary Committee today.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is ramming through 18 nominees for federal judgeships this coming Thursday, Jan 11. Count ’em! This must be a record number of judicial nominees up for a vote in Committee, ever.

Some of the nominees, like Thomas Farr (known for voter suppression in North Carolina), are among the most controversial of Trump’s court picks.

After the resignation Sen. Al Franken, the Democrats are short by one member/vote on the Committee. The Republican leadership realizes this is prime time for them to rush these nominees for a vote.

We’re asking our membership to call our Senator Feinstein, who is a Committee member, to ask for a delay in voting out any more nominees from the Judiciary Committee, until another Democratic senator is assigned there.

Please ask your membership to do the same! Please call your Senators, Cruz (202-224-5922) and Cornyn (202-224-2934) and ask them to urge a delay in voting any more nominees out of Senate Judiciary Committee, until another Democratic senator is assigned there.

What to do if Mueller is fired

Since the Cornyn Stakeout in May 2017, and the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor in the Russia investigation, we have shied away from Russia-related calls to action. Our movement is built on empowering  individuals to make a difference, and it’s hard to see where we can make a difference on this front.

Now, with the alarming uptick in chants of “fire Mueller” on Fox News and other media, and the complicity of our MoCs, we’re encouraging people to prepare for Mueller’s firing. Use this tool from MoveOn to find out what’s happening in your area. This is the plan in Austin, which will be updated in the event of Mueller’s firing

We’ll be sure to post updates here, on social media, to our email list, etc.

In case you missed it, our John Cornyn seems pretty comfortable with the prospect of Mueller getting fired.

Firing Mueller is a third rail that cannot be touched. Call your Senators and House representatives. Tell them that you support the Mueller investigation, wherever the facts lead, and that it must be protected by Congress. Senators on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills to protect Mueller, but so far, the GOP doesn’t think it’s necessary.

And by the way, this is what John Cornyn had to say about Bob Mueller last May:

“Robert Mueller is perhaps the single-most qualified individual to lead such an investigation, in my view, and he’s certainly independent. As a former F.B.I. Director, the longest-serving F.B.I. Director since J. Edgar Hoover, he, by any measure, has the experience and the credibility and the credentials to conduct a nonpartisan investigation and come to a conclusion based on the facts alone.”

We’ll update this post as new information comes in.

12/18: How Congress Stole Christmas: Santa Resists

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How Congress Stole Christmas: Santa Resists

Does this holiday season leave you feeling like it’s a wonderful life… if you’re in the 1%?

It’s never too late to tell our elected officials how we feel, and probably more important now than it’s been all year, with competing heinous versions of tax bills dancing like rotten sugarplums through our nightmares. So join Santa Claus in a visit to Senators Cruz and Cornyn, to let them know why they are getting stockings full of coal for Christmas 2017.

We’ll kick off a short program with a guest speaker or two at 3pm outside Sen. Cruz’s office, and then take some video of regular constituents telling why they are giving him a lump of coal in his stocking. When the stocking is full, Santa and his elves will present Sen. Cruz’s staff with the stocking, and the rest of us will carol our way 6 blocks to Sen. Cornyn’s office by about 3:45 for the same (program, video, Santa visit). We plan to end at 4:30 with some closing thoughts about this year of resistance.

We will have some paper and markers at both offices for you to write your reasons for giving lumps of coal, but if you want to come prepared, make sure you write yours on black paper or cardstock because that’s the color of coal! And that’s all they get.

Sponsors:
ADAPT of Texas
Austin DSA
Children’s Defense Fund- Texas
Indivisible Austin
Indivisible Rosedale Huddle
Indivisible SATX
Indivisible TX 25 East
Left Up To Us
Muslim Solidarity ATX
Our Revolution Central Texas
Our Revolution South Austin
Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT)
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
Progress Texas
TARA (Texas Alliance of Retired Americans)Austin chapter
Texas Sierra Club
The Texas Drought Project
TX-10 Indivisible
TX21Indivisible
University Democrats
Workers Defense Project

Check back for updates in the coming days as we add event sponsors, speakers, and other details, and refine the timeline.

Video and Photos from the Street Theater Outside John Cornyn’s Office Protesting the #TrumpTaxScam

On the national day of action to protest the Trump Tax Scam, a troupe of activists calling themselves Tiny Jazz Hands put on quite a show outside Sen. John Cornyn’s office.

Take this quiz to see if you get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam

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Call Senators Cornyn and Cruz NOW

Caller: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling to let Senator [Cruz / Cornyn] know that I strongly oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This tax bill is a scam that will give massive cuts to the wealthy, paid for by leaving tens of thousands of people in Texas uninsured, raising premiums, and raising taxes on middle-class families.

Staffer: The Senator is in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He thinks it is important that we reform our broken, complex tax code so that middle-class families can benefit.

Caller: This tax bill won’t help middle class families get ahead. Every single provision intended to help the middle-class expires, but the corporate tax cuts are forever. Even worse, the CBO estimates that health insurance premiums will increase 10% more per year than they would without this bill and we know 13 million more people will be uninsured!

Staffer: I’ll pass your thoughts along to the Senator.

Caller: Yes please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what the Senator decides to do.

Thank John Cornyn for Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Background Check System and Encourage Ted Cruz to Add His Name

As we enter the holiday season, we’re giving thanks where it is due.

We join Moms Demand Action and other advocacy groups in applauding Senators John Cornyn and Chris Murphy (D-CT) for introducing bipartisan legislation to improve the criminal background check system.

We also call on Ted Cruz to join his fellow Texas senator and add his name to the bill. 90% of Americans support universal background checks for all gun sales; tightening this legislation this should be a no-brainer for all lawmakers.

Almost 10 percent of Sutherland Springs’ population was wounded or murdered by gunfire. We need to break the kabuki-theater cycle of: People get shot, we call for action, they call for thoughts and prayers, we condemn their inaction and thoughts and prayers as useless and demand legislation, they say it’s too soon to politicize it, the NRA does something stupid or nothing at all.

This bill is a small step in the right direction.

As Angela Turner, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action says, “This bill alone will not solve our gun violence epidemic, but it will make common sense improvements to the background check system, help keep guns away from domestic abusers and criminals, and ultimately, save lives. Congress should set politics aside, and pass this into law.”

Script for Senator John Cornyn

Thank you for working across the aisle on commonsense gun legislation. A majority of mass shooters in this country have histories of domestic violence, and we’re glad that Sen. Cornyn is working in a bipartisan way to address gaps in the background check system that allow people with dangerous histories to obtain firearms. We hope this signals a willingness to take additional steps to confront the epidemic of gun violence in our country.

Script for Senator Ted Cruz

Your colleague, John Cornyn, has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to address gaps in the background check system that allow people with dangerous histories to obtain firearms. I encourage Sen. Cruz to join his colleague and add his name to this bill. Almost 10 percent of Sutherland Springs’ population was wounded or murdered by gunfire. If that is not enough to get Senator Cruz’s attention on gun violence, then what is?

Join us on Saturday, Nov. 18 to demand that Ted Cruz give NRA blood money to victims of gun violence

Rally for Peace at John Cornyn’s Office – Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Indivisible Austin, Beyond the Bomb Austin Chapter, and TX10 Indivisible

President Trump is attempting to normalize the idea of a nuclear war with North Korea. Such a war would have devastating human, and environmental consequences. Senator John Cornyn is the second ranking member in the Senate and sits on the Senate Intelligence committee.

On Thursday, November 9th from 12:30 to 2:30 we will rally at Cornyn’s office to oppose nuclear war and support legislation placing checks and balances on the President’s current unilateral ability to launch a nuclear weapon.

WHAT TO BRING: – Bring a sign stating you oppose nuclear war. Or a sign stating why you support removing first strike capability. Or a sign supporting peace or opposing war generally. – Wear a poppy as a reminder of Armistice day which is celebrated on November 11th and is the day the first “War to end all wars” (WWI) ended.

MEETING SPOT: -We will meet on the corner of 6th and Colorado promptly at 12:30 PM

PARKING OPTIONS: – Chase Bank Tower Parking is $11.00 (entrance on Colorado between 6th and 5th) – There is metered parking in the surrounding area as well – TX State and Capital lots will not be available because they are reserved on weekdays

Come Early, Be Loud, & Help Save the Planet!

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