Democrats Launch “Resistance” Movement in Response to Republican Administration

California state senate president pro tempore Kevin de León talks about measure preventing state and local law enforcement from using resources for immigration enforcement. Photo courtesy of Pitzer College.

Following Donald J. Trump’s election to become the 45th president of the United States of America, members of the Democratic party pledged to “#Resist.” Internet and Television personalities, columnists, members of Congress, think-tanks and grass root activists alike have acted on their oppositional promises, at varying levels of success, across the USA in lieu of traditional executive or legislative power on the national level.

Democrats have lost power since 2008. According to The Washington Post, as of Nov 2016 the Democratic party has shrunken in representation within the Senate, House of Representatives, State Legislatures, and governorships. The same article states “[In] 2017, [Republicans] have total control of government in at least 25 states, and partial control in 20 states.” This means that despite even numbers of people identifying with either party, “roughly 80 percent of the population [is] living in a state either all or partially controlled by Republicans.”

In the five remaining states which have significant Democratic control, the left is waging resistance to the Republican majority. In Maryland, where the Democrats have a 91 to 50 majority in the House of Delegates and a 33 to 14 majority in the State Senate, new policy initiatives have directly combated President Trump’s agenda.

As reported by The Hill, Maryland became “the first state to enact a law that will reimburse Planned Parenthood for its services if there are any federal cuts to the organization” on April 6. Despite Maryland’s split rule between  its democratic legislature and Republican governor, it was able to pass this legislation in a preemptive move, before the President’s signature endorsed a bill which was, “aimed at cutting off federal funding of Planned Parenthood” according to The New York Times.

New York, a state where the General Assembly is majority Democrats (107 out of 150 seats) and the Senate is evenly split, passed a bill reforming college tuitions on April 9. The “Excelsior Scholarship Program,” as it has been officially titled, will allow middle class families to send students to college tuition free, according to CNN Money.

The Atlantic reported that New York’s tuition reform was oppositional to the expected situation under the Trump administration. “When Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to Donald Trump, hope that the federal government might make the nation’s public colleges and universities free dwindled.”

Due to actions by the state legislature, the liberal tuition-free dream has shown its resilience in a Republican controlled nation. (It is worth noting, however, that the Excelsior program is not the same as the program Senator Sanders was calling for during his campaign.)

Similarly, California legislators introduced “Senate Bill 54” which caused a situation described by The Los Angeles Times as follows, “lawmakers in both chambers [are engaging in a] bitter debate over the still newly elected President Donald Trump.”

Other Democratic states have also considered equally resistant measures to counter the President. Democrats have very little power on the national level, therefore, according to Reuters, the argument over “states’ rights” has switched party roles: “Democrats, who over the last half-century have zealously defended sacrosanct federal laws […] against arguments that states should be allowed to chart their own way, are now making plans to employ some of those very states’ rights positions to fend off Trump administration policies they disagree with.”

“Resistance” remains a buzzword in Democratic circles. Via demonstrations such as “The Women’s March” on Jan 21, “The Tax March”  on April 15, and The “March for Science” on April 22, grassroot, predominately liberal, mostly anti-Trump demonstrators have maintained their outlooks towards “The Resistance.”