Derek Nelson: re:act → Ossoff, #TaxMarch, March for Science



re:act is a weekly list of a few concrete things you can do to take action during the Trump presidency.

Missed a letter? See the full archive, or just last week’s issue.


1. Georgia special election goes to runoff as GOP gets wakeup call

What’s happening: (CNN) “Republicans were served another reminder of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity Tuesday as Democrat Jon Ossoff nearly captured a House seat in a region that for decades has been a conservative stronghold.” Ossoff got 48.1% of the vote, compared to 19.8% for the top Republican, in a district that Mitt Romney won by 23 points and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price won in November with 61.6% of the vote. From CNN: “The hotly contested race carried major implications as a gauge of the President’s popularity — and Trump himself seemed to grasp the high stakes, playing a direct role in its closing days.” Ossoff ultimately fell just short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a one-on-one runoff, which is now scheduled for June 20. Conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who calls Georgia home, said it’s “significant to note that among the GOP tonight in GA06, the more closely aligned a candidate was with Trump, the worse said candidate did.”

What you can do: (12 minutes) First, you can tweet your thanks to Team Ossoff on a great campaign thus far — and see if you can help in the days to come. I’m grateful to get feedback from re:act subscribers who are moderates and Republicans; to them I’d say that these elections aren’t purely about party politics. This year, it’s been made all too clear that laws and norms don’t enforce themselves—they require active partners in government. Ultimately, that means electing more people willing to stand up when those laws and norms are violated. The current Republican majority is falling woefully short in that regard. So, to push the advantage in some other elections:

1. Rob Quist for Congress (MT): May 25

Background: Quist is the Democratic nominee in a special election to fill Montana’s lone house seat. From his bio: “There’s nearly 300 millionaires in Congress but not one Montana folk singer. After a career using my voice for the Montana we love, I will be a voice for you.”

Donate to Rob

Volunteer with Rob

2. SwingLeft District Funds

Background: District Funds are pots of money, raised in advance, for the eventual Democratic nominee in each Swing District. Democratic challengers to Republican-held seats will get the money the day after they win the primary. Democratic incumbents will get the money immediately.

Find and support a district fund

Find the swing district closest to you to hear about opportunities to volunteer, register voters, donate, and connect

Check out their new volunteer dashboard

3. Flip Virginia Blue

Background: Per Flippable, “Virginia provides a unique opportunity to elect Democrats. The state has been trending blue, as evidenced by the 17 districts that voted for Hillary but are still represented by a Republican delegate … The Flip Virginia Fund is a Virginia Political Action Committee that directly distributes funds to Democratic candidates running in flippable districts.”

Donate to the Flip Virginia Fund

Sign up to volunteer (can be in or out of VA)

4. Some other local special elections

Background: In Connecticut, there are two upcoming races to fill vacant seats:

Support Rickey Pinckney Sr. for Connecticut State House (April 25)

Support Louis Esposito for Connecticut State House (April 25)

5. You! Sign up at RunforSomething.net.

Share any actions with #reactions2017.


2. The Tax March: Protesters around the country call on Trump to release his taxes

What’s happening: (Washington Post) “From Seattle to the District, protesters gathered in cities throughout the country Saturday calling on Trump to release his personal tax returns as part of a nationwide Tax March. The protest falls on the country’s traditionally recognized deadline to file taxes, April 15. In all, dozens of protests occurred throughout the country … Trump has refused to release his tax returns, stating that he has been under audit. Asked for comment Thursday on the Tax March, the White House referred to comments earlier this week from press secretary Sean Spicer, who repeated that Trump is under an IRS audit, but indicated the president has been transparent with his finances.”

What you can do: (7 minutes)

Use this script from 5calls.org to call and ask your members of Congress to support a new Resolution of Inquiry calling for the release of Trump’s tax returns.

Keep the momentum up with ResistanceNearMe.org, a clearinghouse for upcoming events in your area like town halls, office hours, coffees, rallies, protests and more.

✓ Support the non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) or shop at its bookstore. On April 15, EPIC filed a FOIA lawsuit against the IRS after the agency failed to release Donald J. Trump’s tax records.

Share photos from the Tax March. Share any actions with #reactions2017.


3. Scott Pruitt calls for an ‘exit’ from the Paris accord, sharpening the Trump White House’s climate rift

What’s happening: (Washington Post) “President Trump’s top environment official called for an “exit” from the historic Paris agreement Thursday, the first time such a high-ranking administration official has so explicitly disavowed the agreement endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change … The Trump administration has previously said it is currently reviewing its position on climate change and energy policy and remains noncommittal, for now, on whether it will follow through on the president’s campaign pledge to “cancel” the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Trump’s recent executive order on energy policy, which set in motion the rollback of Obama’s domestic Clean Power Plan, was silent on the matter of Paris.” After soliciting advice from manufacturers on regulations to cut, the EPA has emerged as a major target.

What you can do: (8 minutes)

Sign up to attend the nationwide March for Science on Earth Day (April 22). The organizers say it is intended to be a “celebration of science,” available to all.

The very next week is the nationwide People’s Climate Movement (April 29), scheduled for the 100th day of the Trump presidency.

For D.C. folks, see the full schedule for the Week of Action from 4/22 to 5/1.

✓ Read and share: “Corporate America isn’t backing Trump on climate” (Share on Facebook | Tweet) Share any actions with #reactions2017.


4. Trump Voters in a Swing District Wonder When the ‘Winning’ Will Start

What’s happening: (New York Times) “Just like any other damn president,” sighed Theresa Remington, 44, a home-care worker and the mother of two active-duty Marines, scraping at an unlit cigarette. She had voted for Donald J. Trump because she expected him to improve conditions for veterans and overhaul the health care system. Now? “Political bluster,” Ms. Remington said … Such is a view from this swing county of a swing region of a swing state that powered Mr. Trump’s improbable victory, an electoral thermometer for a president slogging toward the end of his first 100 days. Across the country, Republican officials have grown anxious at their standing on even ruby-red turf, sweating out a closer-than-expected victory last week in a House race in a Kansas congressional district that Mr. Trump had carried by 27 points.” Meanwhile, “President Trump’s promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign promise.”

What you can do: (5 minutes)

✓ Read and share stories of the President’s economic record so far. Raise awareness of some issues we have to address as a country:

Check out USAFacts.org, and read the story about it (former Microsoft CEO “Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove”). It’s a non-partisan public database that compiles info about spending and revenue across all levels, so you can ask simple questions, like: “How much revenue do airports take in and spend?” or “What percentage of overall tax revenue is paid by corporations?” Share any actions with #reactions2017.


5. Ex-ambassador: Trump trying to ‘out-North Korean the North Koreans’

What’s happening: (Politico) “Former Ambassador Christopher Hill, who led the Bush-era negotiations to get rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, said Sunday that President Donald Trump is “trying to out-North Korean the North Koreans” with his aggressive rhetoric against the totalitarian state.” As the White House was talking about sending a naval “armada” to the Korean Peninsula, and a U.S. official calling it a “show of force” in response to recent provocations, the very ships in question were on their way to participate in military exercises in the Indian Ocean, some 3,500 miles in the opposite direction — a mix-up that officials blamed on a “lack of follow up.” Further confusion resulted after Secretary of Defense James Mattis indicated the exercises were cancelled. The Wall Street Journal reports that the episode “sparked ridicule in some corners of Asia and wariness in others.”

What you can do: (5 minutes)

✓ Call your reps to request congressional approval before any further escalation, and ask them to clarify their position. Use ContactingCongress.org and call both of your senators and your rep. Here’s a starting point: “Hello, I’m [NAME] from [PLACE]. I’m asking that [REPRESENTATIVE X] publicly call for President Trump to get congressional approval before any further military escalation in North Korea. What is [REPRESENTATIVE X]’s position on what to do next?”

Get the facts about Nuclear Weapons from ProjectZero.org. Share any actions with #reactions2017.


Additional reading

Last 5:

As always, here’s the link to share this week’s newsletter on Twitter, if you’ve found it useful. Thank you for your continued feedback and ideas. Best, Derek



Editor’s note: This list is not meant to be authoritative, exhaustive, or even expert. I’m just a guy letting you know some things I am doing every week.  I’d love for those with more legislative experience to recommend better levers to pull. I’d love for you to point out what I missed, because I will definitely miss things. Please send ideas or stories of your involvement my way at derek@reactletter.com

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