A group of about thirty protestors gather on the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and McBean Parkway to protest against President Elect Donald Trump and his policies in November. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Protests against the Trump administration have sprung up around the country since Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. Since then, thousands of worried citizens have taken to the streets in a series of marches, seeking to voice their opposition to the new administration and its policies.

The day after the Inauguration, the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., drew millions of participants from around the world.

On a local level, activists from Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley began to mobilize and apply pressure on local officials.

More recently, a series of coordinated protests were held at all three of Congressman Knight’s offices.

Approximately 500 concerned residents came out to deliver letters and speak to staffers in support of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health-care law.

Each time one of these demonstrations has occurred the reaction from critics has been one of casual dismissal. Activists are admonished to “stop whining” and are told that their actions are pointless.

While it is still too early to tell the full impact of the recent demonstrations, the idea that the protests are ineffective is patently false.

If protests and demonstrations are where action ended, then the detractors might be right – the marches would be a pointless exercise in catharsis.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case; they represent the foundation for getting people plugged in and mobilized. This is a beginning, not an end.

Critics of local post-inaugural demonstrations may be surprised to hear that the methods being used are inspired by the Tea Party movement.

Right after Trump’s election a group of Democratic Party staffers got together and produced a tactics guide for the Indivisible Movement to serve as a model for influencing elected representatives.

They specifically cite Tea Party tactics, saying the guide is a model for “individuals, groups and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents.”

The election of Donald Trump ultimately shows that the Tea Party movement’s methods are relevant and have an impact when it comes to getting people to the polls.

In an op-ed for Politico, Tea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin said, “When the polls said Trump couldn’t win, our canvassers said otherwise.”

Real impact and success will come if the various progressive groups can rally together and apply pressure based on a unified set of ideas. Indivisible can fill that role as a progressive version of the Tea Party movement.

Another recent movement that unified and brought thousands of people into the streets, Occupy Wall Street focused attention on the issue of wealth inequality. At the time of the protests in 2011 many critics scoffed at the effectiveness of the movement, and mainstream news outlets ignored or dismissed the participants.

It’s true that the leaderless format and the lack of a more specific set of ideas and policy goals stunted the ability of Occupy to achieve more.

Nevertheless, some good did come out of it – people met and connected with each other in what might have been the longest and largest networking session the world has ever seen.

Out of that, organizations like Strike Debt were formed. It provides educational resources and public advocacy to help keep consumers out of debt.

Occupy also started The Rolling Jubilee Project which, according to its website, has used the roughly $700,000 raised to purchase and forgive more than $31 million worth of debt that had gone to collections.

Occupy-related organizations have formed to help provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy, participate in the financial regulatory process, encourage consumers to bank at credit unions and community-based banks, and assist employees to organize for better workplace conditions.

The Women’s March acted as a similar touch point, bringing new people into the political process and getting them motivated to further action. “Without that boost of solidarity from the march, I don’t think I would have been as energized to get involved,” said local educator Juliana Sheldon.

Even if there were no tangible result from the recent demonstrations, there would still be the impact that large-scale movements tend to have on the national dialogue.

After Occupy Wall Street the idea of the 99 percent and the message behind it has become ubiquitous.

The Tea Party movement created a populist outcry against Obamacare and pressured even moderate Republicans to come out strongly against it. Both movements have done their part in refocusing the political conversation in America.

Whatever the impact of the protests, progressive activists aren’t expecting the miraculous. There is an understanding that there will be a rollback of the progress that has been made over the last eight years, but coming out in great numbers ensures that opposition to those rollbacks will be heard and have an influence on policy makers.

The marches brought together a multitude of people from different backgrounds and levels of political involvement and have succeeded in mobilizing them into a grassroots activist base.

Together they can blunt the damage being done by the Trump administration and have an outsized impact on the next election.

Chad Kampbell is a Santa Clarita Valley resident and a member of a local Democratic club.

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Comments
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  • Brian Baker

    I know I was particularly impressed by all the women wearing the pink “p**** hats”.

    Classy.

  • Ron Bischof

    “Whatever the impact of the protests, progressive activists aren’t expecting the miraculous. There is an understanding that there will be a rollback of the progress that has been made over the last eight years, but coming out in great numbers ensures that opposition to those rollbacks will be heard and have an influence on policy makers.”

    This was a change election and citizens voted for it. I noted at the end of your column you’re realistic and understand your party is at it’s lowest ebb nationally since the 1920s, Mr. Kampbell. Your team had its chance and decided to force Obamacare down our throats when it controlled the Executive and Legislative Branches. The combination of hubris and naiveté in Foreign Policy (The ’80s called…) compounded the error of ignoring the message sent by repeated elections.

    Until there’s real introspection on why your party has suffered electoral losses for over a decade (Obama excepted), you’ll remain in the political wilderness. Hint: It’s the policies, not the messaging strategy. A party that only appeals to blue urban enclaves and a few states isn’t a national party. Identity politics and abortion isn’t a cohesive positive message.

    The DNC and state Democratic parties have no new ideas and are repackaging failed ones based on ideology. This exhaustion is evident in having to borrow the Tea Party strategy in an attempt to energize the base. It won’t be successful if all that’s offered are personal attacks, protest and rage. It’s just not a good look to most Americans.

  • Bill Reynolds

    Wondering why they didn’t take to the streets while under Obama over 1,000 Democrat seats were lost across America. Could it be that mainstream Americans sorely tired of progressive policies? Hmmm, I wonder….

  • Brian Baker

    Well, since Kampbell’s bleating about the Tea Party and its successes, I think I’ll copy in what I wrote in the other squawk published today in The Signal.

    The attempt to draw a parallel with the Tea Party is utterly laughable. The Tea Party didn’t run around smashing and burning things, beating people up, blocking traffic, trashing entire neighborhoods, or making speeches using language not even fit for a cathouse. When a Tea Party event ended the venue was cleaner and neater than when they arrived.

    But, Kampbell, I urge you to continue fooling yourself like that. It’s absolutely the best thing you can do for US.

  • Simplymejamie

    Is it bothering you gentlemen more that Resistance Protesters are being compared to the Tea Party Protesters, or that there is such a large ground swell against Trump and the Republican’s? This was not the change that the majority of the American people voted for, something Republican’s can’t quite get their heads around. The Republican’s have no mandate, yet Trump and Congress are acting as if they do. Much of why Democrats have lost so many seats is Gerrymandering, and suppressing the vote, that’s the Republican way. The Republican Party telling the Democratic Party to look at itself is really quite funny considering, the Party so against Russia for so many years, put a man in office who is obviously compromised and working with the Russians. While you sit and throw things out at the Democrats, underestimating the movement that is happening in our Country, just remember, the Democrats did the very same thing with the Tea Party 8 years ago. If your so smart, you should be concerned about the growth in only a matter of weeks of people opposing the Republican’s. But, you won’t and that’s what we are hoping for, you are all playing right into the lull of, “we are in office and everything will be wonderful.” So please, keep doing what your doing, we appreciate it. Lastly, you are acting offended in some way to women wearing pink pu**y hats, yet you had no problem voting for a man who on an open mic, bragged about grabbing women by the pu**y! That speaks volumes.

    • Gil Mertz

      As usual Jamie, you couldn’t be more wrong. You’re hyper-partisanship and liberal ideology is clouding you’re thinking. But you’re not alone. It’s true for most blindly loyal Democrats. You talk about how the majority of the American people didn’t vote for this kind of change and yet, despite the ugly protests and media bias, poll after poll shows the majority of the American people favor President Trump’s agenda. The stock market absolutely loves Trump’s agenda so far which benefits all Americans.

      And the American people have given the GOP the House, the Senate, and the White House but you say that’s not a mandate? The American people totally rejected Obama’s agenda on every level. Not since Watergate has one party been so punished. But please, keep believing what they’re spoon feeding you on MSNBC.

      Of course, you must repeat the meme about the evil Russians. The Russian conspiracy has become the left’s version of the birther movement. It’s not the failed message of your party or the corruption of the last administration or Clinton as a candidate, it’s those Russians. Every day you look at these fantasies is another day you and your party doesn’t look in the mirror. That’s how your party has been so shunned all over America.

      And what Trump confessed to doing 10 years ago was horrific and condemned loudly by conservatives. We heard nothing from leftists like you about Clinton’s behavior to destroy the women her husband sexually exploited, now did we Jamie? You’re such a hypocrite. It speaks volumes about your personal character.

      Despite how the Democrat’s behavior is only driving people toward Trump, they honestly believe it is conservatives who are falling into their trap. That’s priceless!!!

    • lois eisenberg

      Simplymejamie, thank for your input it speaks volumes!!!

      THE “HATE PREACHER” IS AS AMERICAN AS JIM CROW !!!!!!!

      • Ron Bischof

        Amusing. You should look up what political party enacted Jim Crow laws before you cite them, Ms. Eisenberg.

        • Frank Rizzo

          Liberal ideas are based in emotion, not facts

      • Ron Bischof

        What did “Simplymejamie” say, Ms. Eisenberg?

      • Kriss

        The only hate I’m seeing is in the protest signs and on YouTube with the assassination talk from the lefties. The progressive party…..now there’s an oxymoron

    • Ron Bischof

      You make many unsupported assertions here, i.e. about the “Resistance” protesters, Russian conspiracies and excuses for historic losses by your party.

      Tell me, do you think Gerrymandering is new or unique to the Republican Party? Please cite your facts to prove this is why Democrats are in the political wilderness.

      By the way, for the Senate and Presidential elections, how does one Gerrymander a state?

      Prediction: your “Resistance” “movement” will mirror the success and effect of Occupy.

      To really be effective, heed the words of Former President Obama:

  • lois eisenberg

    “Protests are just the beginning” and clearing the swamp is just the beginning,
    so get used to it !!!!!!

    One down and many more to come !!! LOCK THEM ALL UP !!!!!!!

    Chad an outstanding opinion column !!!!!!!!

    The picture above speaks a million words !!!!!

  • Gil Mertz

    These protests are not a fight for America’s soul, it is a fight for control of the Democratic Party. They are made up of mostly the far-left, socialist-leaning Bernie Sander’s airheads. Take a good look at the photo. This is today’s Democratic Party and all of their candidates must line up with their far-left agenda or else!

    Their sick party lost the middle-America, working class voter. They honestly believe the way to win them back is with ugly, vulgar protests, bullying tactics, and socialist policies led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Thinking Americans can only hope this is just the beginning. This strategy will only push more and more voters away from them.

  • Frank Rizzo

    A bunch of Snowflakes with no direction.
    I have not in my life seen so much hate, bigotry and racism as I have seen from the Left since Trump won. Time to put your big boy pants on and GROW UP

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bfc2574ff476bf6ef2dfe1a9569ae0361719bee11c9d1988f5c69772b5fd83a.jpg

  • lois eisenberg

    BREAKING NEWS
    “President Trump faces a new test: Russia has secretly deployed a cruise missile that violates a crucial arms treaty, officials say”

    LET’S SEE HOW THE HATE PREACHER IS GOING TO HANDLE THIS ???????

    • Frank Rizzo

      So, how ARE you going to handle it?

      • Brian Baker

        LOL!

        She probably won’t get it…

      • Kriss

        Same way she does with everything….blame the President

    • Kriss

      ((((Breaking news)))). The snowflakes are melting ….we put up with an AG that wouldn’t do her job. We had a Secretary of State that sold our country to the highest bidder while her adulterous/assaulter of a mate got huge speaking fees for PAY TO PLAY!!!
      We put up with an Education head along with Barry that thought Common Core was a good thing….lol, worst ever concept peddled to the taxpayer.
      Hey Lois how many Generals did old obeyme get rid of?

      Oh, almost forgot…a Secretary of State that not only lied about using her private server to send sensitive material but tried to delete, erase and destroy materials she said she didn’t have.

      Then there’s Obamacare….this is just me. My premiums went up 150% the first year and that was even after going from a PPO to an HMO and losing our family doctor of 25 years. My deductible went from $500 to $2500. The good news….my premiums are going to double and my deductible it going up again…. oh wait, that’s not good news…it’s the same news I got every year from that … obama

      • lois eisenberg

        ((((Breaking news)))). The snowflakes are melting as well as the corrupt
        hate and lying preachers administration is getting caught with their
        dirty hands in the cookie jar !!!!!!!!!

        • Frank Rizzo

          Yes, you do appear to be melting

  • lois eisenberg

    “Flynn’s resignation validates the suspicions of many in Washington that something is seriously amiss with regard to President Trump’s ties to Russia. This is the third member
    of Trump’s circle to be pushed out over Russia-linked scandals,”
    The other two members being Paul Manafort and Carter Page!!!!!!
    Some more to be LOCKED UP !!!!!!

    • Phil Ellis

      Flynn is a Democrat isn’t he?

  • lois eisenberg

    Breaking News:” Intercepted calls show members of the Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence before the election.”
    WAITING FOR THE IMPEACHMENT, AND LOCK HIM UP AND THROW THE KEY
    AWAY !!!!!!

  • Gil Mertz

    You know hate, Lois. Please…get help.

    • Ron Bischof

      Yes, I’m going to block her to reduce the comment pollution.

      The obsession may well be a mental disorder, Gil.

      • Gil Mertz

        How does blocking work? Please show me how.

        • Ron Bischof
          • Gil Mertz

            Thank you, Ron. Good riddance, Lois. Her Trump Derangement Syndrome is beyond irritating. I tried reporting her comments but i couldn’t find the “She’s nuts” option.

          • Ron Bischof

            Yes, the mindless daily grind of drivel is tedious. I feel empathy for The Signal staff that review comments.

  • Gil Mertz

    Another Republican President once dealt with a nation divided. He was daily criticized as states threatened to secede and citizens fought each other to the death. This Republican President was so reviled that he was eventually assassinated. Here’s what he once said about a nation divided like we’re seeing playing out in 2017 from left-wing anarchy.

    “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means
    shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic
    military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the
    armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge
    in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of
    danger to be expected? I answer, that if it ever reach us, it must
    spring from amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be
    our lot, we ourselves must be the authors and finishers. As a
    nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide.”

    Abraham Lincoln