The latest ploy from the Democratic Party to transform animosity towards President Donald Trump into support for Democrats is the DNC’s “Resistance Summer” campaign. A DNC email launching the campaign in May 2017 read, “This summer, we’re investing in all 50 states and connecting with every single voter in real life on the issues that matter to them—from health care to education to jobs and economic opportunity.” The DNC didn’t bring up Resistance Summer again until July 12, when the organization sent an email stating it was soliciting supporters to organize a day of action on their own to canvas their communities on July 15.
So far, the Resistance Summer has been a pathetic attempt to capitalize on and appropriate protests while avoiding policy discussion. Before Trump won the election, the Democratic Party was already in crisis. Throughout the last decade, the party has lost over 1,000 elected offices across the country. Even if the Democratic Party managed to defend against the passage of all the Trump administration’s policies, it would still be in a position of devastation. The party refuses to come to grips with this reality and hopes that the widespread discontent with its leaders will eventually dissipate on its own.
In fact, in 2017, the Democratic Party has faced a number of protests of its own. In January 2017, thousands of protesters congregated outside Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s Brooklyn home, motivated by their dissatisfaction of his leadership and his weak resistance to Trump’s cabinet nominees. Each time she makes a public appearance in her district, former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has faced a group of protesters. In California in May 2017, protesters with National Nurses United advocated for medicare for all at the State Democratic Party Convention, and State Party Chair John Burton told them to “shut the fuck up and go outside.” In Utah in June, a State Democratic Party chair candidate and former Clinton campaign organizer was protested out of the race during a candidate forum due to seven women vocalizing sexual harassment allegations against him.
Though these protests have been peaceful, several Democratic leaders have pejoratively categorized protesters’ energy as “radical.” Democrats reduce progressives’ criticisms by calling them “purity tests.” Congressman Adam Schiff and California Gov. Jerry Brown went so far as to insult progressives by comparing them to the Tea Party.
Ironically, the Democratic Party has simultaneously been trying to repair its bruised image by harnessing progressives’ energy. The party was far from united at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and those differences have not been mended. Sanders progressives and the Democratic establishment disagree in regards to how the party should proceed. Establishment Democrats resist reform while progressives insist on drastic, radical changes within the party.
Resistance Summer indicates the Democratic Party will continue its strategy of trying to trick voters into supporting an inauthentic, insincere populist movement through marketing Trump’s unpopularity.