"Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen", taking advantage of senators' and representatives' desire for "reelection, reelection, reelection" and the favorable press coverage they need to achieve it.
Get the latest version of the PDF at IndivisibleGuide.com (26 pages in the current version), and I'm attaching a mirrored/backup copy here as well. (It can be distributed and used freely under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.)
From the document:
ONE PAGE SUMMARY
Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes toplevel
takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities.
How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama. We examine lessons from the
Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:
1. A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).
2. A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
How your MoC thinks — reelection, reelection, reelection — and how to use that to save
democracy. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local
press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look
weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.
Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can
join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow
constituents locally and start organizing for action.
Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have three MoCs — two
Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voices in
Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:
1. Town halls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are
listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.
2. Non-town hall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home.
Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism,
3. District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices.
Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
4. Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local
group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific issue.
The authors write that even genuinely well-meaning and principled members of Congress prioritize reelection. They can't keep doing good if they don't stay in office.
Related: the advice from Emily Ellsworth, a former congressional staffer and Republican who voted for Clinton:
Here’s How To Make Sure Congress Hears You (HuffingtonPost)
Her site, with a downloadable guidebook for sale at "name your price" (actually $0 and up): callthehallsguide.com .
Among other things, she mentions that if you can, picking up the phone to call your congresscritters' state/district offices has much more impact than clicks or emails (but staffers pay attention to emails too). Like the more comprehensive Indivisible Guide, she mentions showing up in a group to town hall meetings, prepared with questions.
She advises that personal stories about how particular issues or legislation affect you have the most impact.
And again, I'll attach a mirror/backup copy of the document.