“Impeach Trump”: the Summer Camp Theme of (Divided) Democrats

Time to prepare for your summer camp, you baffled Democrat ! Yesterday, I received a collective email from Tom Perez, former Secretary of Labor under Obama and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since February, inviting me to join “the Resistance Summer”. In this email, Perez – who recently said Trump “has to go” – introduces  “a new nationwide program, that will help Democrats accross the country channel the energy (we’ve) already used to resist Donald Trump and the GOP’s agenda (…), and it’s called the Resistance Summer”.

“Resistance” has become the motto of a big part of California, mostly in coastal areas, since Trump has taken the White House. Forgetting beach days and camping trips for a while, this new sort of summer camp consists of a 12-weeks program intended “to gain organizing skills and be part of an ongoing national network of organizers standing up to Trump’s agenda”, according to the Democratic Party. There will be “trainings, actions, and cohorts”, where volunteers are going to be trained to help Democrats get elected everywhere they can in upcoming local elections.

For example, in Lake Forest, in the South of Los Angeles, Khanh Nguyen and his wife are hosting a “house party” to focus on how “to win the Congressional seat for our District (…) currently held by a very loyal Republican to Trump (…) This seat is up for election in 2018. We must help the best Democratic candidate possible to win this seat and help take back the House. Once we take back the House, we can impeach Trump and stop his attacks on us”, explain the hosts.

Tom Perez insists that Democrats need to be present in “every zip code”, meaning they have to reconnect with the entire country, instead of sticking with the most liberal parts of it. Before being elected at the top of the DNC, he already said that the Democrat candidates need “to get out there in the communities, not just in urban areas, but in suburb and exurb and rural America, and talk to people and listen.”

So if you’d rather spend your political vacation in good old arid Texas, there is an event there too, in San Angelo, where people will “talk politics and roast marshmallows” with the local Dems.

It’s “all about local, on-the-ground organizing from the grassroots up”, Perez wrote in his email. “From Maine to Hawai’i and Alaska to Puerto Rico, we’re training organizers, building tools, and creating the infrastructure that it takes to win elections”. This offensive plan comes in the midst of the Trump-Comey imbroglio, that questions the legitimacy of a President who, on top of that, didn’t win the popular vote (by far).

The former FBI director James Comey will be heard today in the Senate about the pressures he said he received from Trump to shut down an investigation into a senior adviser’s links to Russia.

The call to surf the resistance big wave also come a week after the California Democratic Convention, in Sacramento, where Perez explicitly formulated : “Trump has to go”. “Donald Trump is an anathema to our values (…), the most dangerous president in American history”, he said at the convention, according to the Los Angeles Times. He also described the Trump-Putin relationship as a “bromance”.

“We have a president… I don’t know who it is, Putin, or Trump”, he said.

The problem is, there are waves inside the wave. Indeed, during the Sacramento gathering, democrats proved to be still divided, as Perez was booed by a part of the audience, identified as the supporters of Bernie Sanders’ more leftist line, as opposed to Hillary Clinton’s centrist approach.

The California Democratic Party has become the center of an inner fight between Sanders-backed Kimberly Ellis, who lost the Chair seat, and the winner of it Eric Bauman, a Los Angeles-area activist considered as “the establishment” candidate and criticized for his links to the pharmaceutical industry. Ellis accused her opponent of cheating the ballots.

“Ms. Ellis has chosen to ratchet up the rancor at every turn, propagating inaccurate innuendoes and disingenuous half-truths designed to turn our members against each other,” Bauman said in a statement.

So right now, Democrats are facing a double struggle, one against themselves, the other against Trump. Something that may be also the case in the Republican camp, after all. It would not be surprising if some sort of unity came outside of the party lines, at some point.

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