Friday July 3rd, 2020 9:42AM

Dem activists eye a 2020 focus beyond 'getting rid of Trump'

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leaders of a prominent liberal group are urging Democratic presidential contenders who are pitching massive policy changes to also focus on more fundamental "structural reforms" to American democracy.

In a book set for publication this fall, Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg — who founded the activist group Indivisible in 2017 — plan to outline a vision for the future of liberal organizing that goes beyond simply fighting President Donald Trump. In their book "We Are Indivisible," they aim to zero in on issues such as the overhaul of Senate rules, which they see as necessary to achieve the sort of big policy shifts that Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning on.

Indivisible rocketed to prominence thanks to its creators' manual for grassroots anti-Trump activism, but Levin and Greenberg now hope to shape the next incarnation of the "Resistance." The subtitle of their book, slated for release in November by Simon & Schuster's Atria/Signal Press, sums up their goal: "A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump."

The Indivisible duo aims to speak to both the dozen-plus Democratic candidates vying to take on Trump next year and the tens of millions of voters who will choose the party's nominee. As Democratic White House hopefuls line up behind ambitious policy ideas, Levin and Greenberg want to prod the candidates to explain how they would steer their ideas through a Congress often crippled by partisan stalemates.

"I don't think we can hear from somebody about their plan for climate change or gun violence until we can hear about their plan for making that happen," Greenberg, 32, told The Associated Press in a joint interview with Levin, 33. "If you're refusing to take on things about our democracy that make that policy proposal impossible to pass in our system, then that's not a real proposal."

Levin and Greenberg share more than the executive director title at Indivisible — they're a married couple who have used their experience as Democratic congressional aides to borrow some tactics from the tea party conservatives who battled former President Barack Obama. The once-scrappy group they formed with a guide to pushing back against Trump has become a political powerhouse, with more than 5,000 local chapters nationwide. The group's leaders estimate it has more than 1 million members.

Indivisible's influence is already shaking up the Democratic primary. Several presidential candidates have opened the door to ending the 60-vote margin required to get many major bills through the Senate, a top priority for Levin and Greenberg as they encourage their grassroots members to ask how Democrats would accomplish the sweeping plans they're selling to voters on the campaign trail. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the only candidate to openly call for an end to the filibuster, should Democrats take back the White House and the Senate in 2021, but Indivisible's co-founders hope more White House contenders will follow suit.

Other democracy reform ideas Levin and Greenberg plan to explore in the book, they said, include automatic voter registration, combating the gerrymandering of congressional districts and eliminating the electoral college.

Voters recognize the dysfunctionality in Washington, Levin said. But, he added, a "precise prescription for how to fix it isn't well-understood."

During Indivisible's early days, some Republicans sought to discount the group as a front for paid protesters, suggesting that liberal financier George Soros was bankrolling its efforts. Levin and Greenberg pushed back forcefully and later adopted a strategy of transparency in notifying its members about its first grant accepted from Soros' foundation, in the fall of 2017. They say their funding is now about evenly split among grassroots donations, larger contributions and foundation money, with no more than one-fifth of their total budget coming from a single source. Funding from Soros' foundation comprised less than 4% of their budget during the last fiscal year.

"It's important to us that our single largest source of funds be grassroots support," Levin said.

The pair haven't yet settled on a plan for how — or if — to back a specific Democratic candidate, beyond the certainty that their decision would come from their members first. The couple is certain, however, of where any profits from their book will go: back into their organizing work.

"We're not just interested in getting rid of Trump," Levin said. "We're interested in getting rid of Trumpism."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Entertainment, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Israelis vote in election focused on longtime PM Netanyahu
Israeli voters are heading to the polls to decide whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power
12:44AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Encarnacion HRs twice in 6th, Mariners roll over Royals 13-5
Edwin Encarnacion homered twice during an eight-run sixth inning, two of five homers for the hot-hitting Seattle Mariners during a 13-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals
12:42AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Barr faces Congress as he readies Mueller report for release
Attorney General William Barr is facing congressional lawmakers for the first time since receiving the special counsel's report on the Russia investigation
12:42AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Acting appointments help Trump avoid saying 'You're hired'
As President Donald Trump looks to reshape the executive branch, he's avoiding the words "you're hired."
12:14AM ( 40 minutes ago )
Nielsen exit comes amid larger shake-up at Homeland Security
Trump, allies keep up campaign to clean house at Department of Homeland Security after Nielsen's departure
12:11AM ( 43 minutes ago )
California governor meets Salvadorans who tried to reach US
California Gov. Gavin Newsom hears from 3 people who fled El Salvador for the chance at a better life in the United States
11:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Facebook, Google face widening crackdown over online content
Tech giants like Facebook and Google came under increasing regulatory pressure in Europe, where countries are proposing stricter rules to force them to block extreme material such as terrorist propaganda and child porn
7:12PM ( 5 hours ago )
Casino-operating tribes influence sports betting debate
Casino-operating Native American tribes concerned about threats to their main economic engine are working to influence whether their states allow sports betting
6:28PM ( 6 hours ago )
New Homeland Security chief has worked across party lines
Kevin McAleenan, tapped as acting Homeland Security secretary, has navigated through Democratic and Republican administrations
6:24PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
LGBT donors helping Pete Buttigieg defy 2020 expectations
Financial support from the LGBT community has helped Pete Buttigieg's 2020 presidential campaign defy expectations by raking in more than $7 million in just over two months
5:30PM ( 7 hours ago )
Klobuchar says she raised $5.2M in 7 weeks for 2020 bid
Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says she raised $5.2 million in seven weeks after announcing her 2020 bid
4:35PM ( 8 hours ago )
Sanders quiets his critics as he becomes a 2020 front-runner
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is surpassing his rivals in early fundraising and establishing himself as an indisputable front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination
10:43AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Elections
Booker raises $5 million, below other White House hopefuls
Cory Booker's early fundraising numbers are well behind those posted by other major Democratic candidates in the race to challenge President Donald Trump
9:56PM ( 1 day ago )
After 2016 loss, Democrats know they need white male voters
Some Democrats thought they didn't need white male voters in 2016, but the party knows it needs them in 2020
5:51PM ( 1 day ago )
Booker raises 5 million, below other White House hopefuls
Cory Booker's early fundraising numbers are well behind those posted by other major Democratic candidates in the race to challenge President Donald Trump
3:45PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Chief of staff says Dems will 'never' see Trump tax returns
The White House chief of staff says Democrats will "never" see President Donald Trump's tax returns
9:57PM ( 1 day ago )
Turkish ruling party seeks total recount of Istanbul votes
Turkey's ruling party is appealing for a full recount of all votes cast in Istanbul's mayoral election, which the opposition narrowly won in a major setback for President Recep Erdogan
1:40PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Hickenlooper reaches out to black voters
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is wrapping up three days of campaigning aimed at reaching out to black voters, who are key to a Democratic presidential effort in southern states
7:51PM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Merrifield's hitting streak at 29, but under the radar
April is just over a week old, and already Whit Merrifield is more than halfway to matching Joe DiMaggio's famous hitting streak; that's because Merrifield's 29-game run began toward the end of last season
10:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Huffman, 12 other parents to plead guilty in college scheme
More guilty pleas are expected in the college admissions bribery scandal, including from "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman
10:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
Nipsey Hussle to be mourned in memorial at Los Angeles arena
Rapper Nipsey Hussle will be mourned at a public memorial Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles
6:44PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
The Latest: Trump urges Jewish donors to elect Republicans
President Donald Trump is thanking members of the Republican Jewish Coalition for backing him in 2016 and he says they have an important role to play in his re-election campaign in 2020
3:12PM ( 2 days ago )
Some Sanders supporters struggle to move past 2016 fight
Bernie or Bust: Sanders supporters still smarting over 2016 primary they say was 'rigged'
1:16AM ( 2 days ago )
Biden hugs union leader, quips 'I had permission'
Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to speak to a union for electrical workers in his first public appearance since several women began recounting encounters with him that left them feeling uneasy
1:30PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
As Israelis head to polls, it's all about Netanyahu
Israeli elections boil down to a referendum on PM Netanyahu, who has dominated country's politics for decades.
6:07AM ( 1 day ago )
Ex-Sen Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings of South Carolina dies at 97
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, the Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to six terms in the U.S. Senate, has died at 97
2:38AM ( 1 day ago )
A 2016 hangover: Some Bernie Sanders supporters still upset
Bernie or Bust: Sanders supporters still smarting over 2016 primary they say was 'rigged'
2:05PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Israelis vote in election focused on longtime PM Netanyahu
Israeli voters are heading to the polls to decide whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power
12:44AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Encarnacion HRs twice in 6th, Mariners roll over Royals 13-5
Edwin Encarnacion homered twice during an eight-run sixth inning, two of five homers for the hot-hitting Seattle Mariners during a 13-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals
12:42AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Barr faces Congress as he readies Mueller report for release
Attorney General William Barr is facing congressional lawmakers for the first time since receiving the special counsel's report on the Russia investigation
12:42AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Comeback! Cavs get their title, 85-77 in OT over Texas Tech
Comeback kids! Cavs get their title, 85-77 in OT over Texas Tech
12:35AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Opening statements expected in ex-Minneapolis cop's trial
With a jury in place, opening statements are scheduled to begin in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman
12:31AM ( 23 minutes ago )