What is Indivisible49?
Indivisible49 is a non-partisan, grassroots political group in California’s 49th Congressional District that resists the Trump Administration’s dismantling of our civil liberties, social protections, and democratic institutions. We currently focus on Representative Darrell Issa, who has consistently voted in support of Donald Trump’s initiatives.
What do you mean by “resist”?
We are dedicated to peaceful, non-violent resistance and committed to the democratic process. We act mainly through demonstrations, organizing town hall meetings, canvassing, phone banking, letter writing, social networking, and similar activities.
What is “Indivisible”? Is it a political party?
The Indivisible movement is not a political party. It is a collection groups that have come together to resist authoritarianism and the Trump administration’s assault on our civil liberties, social protections, and democratic institutions.
On December 14, 2016, a handful of former congressional staffers published the first edition of the Indivisible Guide. Word spread quickly. People across the country were alarmed at the turn the country had taken read the guide, organized themselves into groups, and called for others to join them. Within two months, over 3,800 groups had formed. The Indivisible Guide catalyzed the movement, but each group has a focus specific to its own local area and concerns.
Are you those people who support Candidate X?
No, Indivisible49 is not a political party. Our purpose is not to get a candidate elected. We focus on resisting the Trump administration’s attack on our civil liberties, social protections, and the institutions that allow our democracy to function.
Why do you focus on Darrell Issa?
We do not feel Congressman Issa is listening to his constituents. While Mr. Issa has released statements expressing a range of opinions and concerns, when it comes time to vote he consistently votes to support Donald Trump’s initiatives.
For example, at the town hall meeting on March 11, 2017, when asked whether he would support the Ryan health care plan, Mr. Issa replied:
I am not in the same boat as just any Republican. . . . I do not believe that we can strip away both employer and individual mandates and not find both a carrot and a stick to get people to be financially fiscally responsible for their own decisions. Will I tell you here I won’t vote for something if it strips away the mandate? I’m not going to make that commitment. But what I will tell you is I will keep fighting for a recognition that that individual who chooses not to have insurance should be held in a greater amount responsible. These are state issues more than federal issues.
Two months later, he voted for HR 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, which repealed both the employer and the individual mandates, substituting “a carrot and a stick” of a one-time 30% premium increase for people who had been without insurance for 63 days or more. The bill would also have allowed insurers to charge older people 5 times the premiums of younger ones and, according to CBO estimates, would have dramatically reduced the number insured people.
FiveThirtyEight.com maintains a “Trump Score” that tracks how often each member of Congress votes for or against the President. As of October 2017, Mr. Issa’s had a Trump Score of 98%.
What is wrong with “telephone town hall” meetings?
Telephone “town halls” limit open communication because they give Mr. Issa’s staff too much control over which of his constituents can attend and ask questions.
Constituents do not dial into the telephone “town hall” as you might expect. Instead, they wait by the phone until the meeting system calls them (if it ever does). Then the constituent has an opportunity to indicate whether they have a question, though there is no guarantee they will have the opportunity to ask it.
The process of determining who will be called and who can ask questions is not transparent. Mr. Issa has complete control over the audio line, is free to mute a questioner, and, unlike an in-person town hall, it is not possible to get a sense of the crowd’s feeling about an issue.
Telephone “town halls” also limit accountability because it is much harder to get a transcript than with an in-person meeting, where video recordings are generally available.
Does Mr. Issa use telephone “town hall” meetings?
At a telephone “town hall” meeting on January 30, 2017, Mr. Issa mentioned he likes the cost savings this style of meeting allows. However, he seems to use them even when another organization pays for the space and other costs of an in-person meeting.
On at least two occasions in 2017 an outside organization rented meeting space, paid the other costs of the town hall meeting, and invited Mr. Issa, but he did not attend. The first was February 21, when Health Access and Fight 4 Our Health paid for a town hall meeting on healthcare and health insurance. The second was October 17, when the 49th District Action Council sponsored an in-person meeting on the federal budget and tax overhaul. To make sure Mr. Issa received an invitation to the October meeting, a group of constituents hand-delivered one to Mr. Issa’s office and, later, hired a billboard truck with an invitation on it.
How is Indivisible49 related to the national Indivisible organization?
The Indivisible movement grew organically and spontaneously across the country. As with the rest of the Indivisible movement, our ties to other groups rest on common interests, common philosophies, and friendships rather than a formal organizational structure. The national organization does not control us (or any other Indivisible group) and does not provide funds to us.
How did Indivisible49 get started?
Concerned citizens in California’s 49th Congressional District read the Indivisible Guide and started spreading the word. The group held its kickoff meeting on January 23, 2017. Indivisible49 has evolved and grown since that first meeting, but it has continued to focus on the 49th District.
Who do you welcome into your group?
We believe in inclusion and diversity. We welcome all people who are willing to resist authoritarianism and the Trump agenda regardless of age, race, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or political party. We recognize that some of us will be more harmed by the Trump administration than others, particularly people of color, immigrants, the disabled, the LGBT community, women, and those whose identities intersect across groups.