While outside groups are getting the attention, local Democratic parties nationwide are seeing a surge of interest.
Local Democratic parties are confronting a problem in the Trump era that is as confounding as it is unexpected: space.
All across the country, party meetings that had once been sleepy affairs, dominated by Robert’s Rules of Order and a handful of graying activists, have become standing room only. The overflowing crowds have sent stunned party regulars scrambling to find new venues, while the surge in interest, and the coinciding fundraising boost, is enabling local chapters to hire staff and build infrastructure in previously unthinkable ways. On the national level, Democratic politicians have been rushing to respond to the sudden outpouring.
“I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.
Fraley said he received 65 emails in a single weekend from people requesting to become precinct chairs, a thankless job that normally requires begging and pleading to get someone to fill. The county party has restructured and added five deputy chairs to channel all the energy, and created six new committees.
“What’s very different is that it’s made the party younger. Young people never really wanted to have as much of a meaningful part in the Democratic Party infrastructure. Now that doesn’t seem true anymore,” he said.
The resistance to President Donald Trump has taken a variety of forms, all of them well chronicled by the media. The Women’s March, which saw some 5 million people take to the streets in a single day, helped fuel the growth of Indivisible chapters around the country, and has itself continued organizing meetings and protests since. The groups Swing Left, Flippable and The Sister District Project are routing people to swing districts where they can be most effective, and groups are forming to challenge Democrats in primaries. Amid it all, observers and participants alike have wondered what the name is for this nascent movement. The Resistance? The Opposition?
But if the swelling ranks of county-level meetings are an indication of things to come, the grassroots movement underway already has a name. It’s called the Democratic Party.
Interviews with activists in 24 states ― red, blue and purple ― reveal a strikingly similar pattern: Shocked by the outcome of the election and fearful for the future of the country, people of all ages, some of them Democrats, some independents, some Greens, found the time and location of a local party meeting and showed up. Here are a few of their stories:
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