Happy Wednesday, Activists!
You may have seen that in the early morning hours today the Senate voted on the For the People Act – again – and it went down to defeat – again – because of the filibuster. Senator Schumer just said this morning that voting rights bills will be the first piece of legislation he’ll bring up in September. For now our job is to keep up the pressure. See more in the message from Ezra Levin below.
1. If you know someone who lives in Delaware, ask them to call Senators Coons and Carper at 1-877-684-7760 and tell the senator they’ve heard that he is wavering and it's time to pick a side – democracy or the filibuster.
2. If you know someone who lives in West Virginia or Arizona, ask them to call Senators Manchin or Sinema and tell them they insist the senator stop defending the Jim Crow Filibuster and pass S. 1. Don’t them off the hook with a wishy-washy answer. They can click here to call Manchin or here to call Sinema.
3. For us in Pennsylvania, call Senator Casey, and ask him to turn up the heat on Coons, Carper, Manchin, and Sinema. And ask him to ask President Biden to put pressure on them. Tell him you’re proud that he’s taking a stand against the filibuster and for our democracy, and ask him to pressure his colleagues to do the same. Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. 202-224-6324; email link
4. And for Toomey – Tell him anyway to vote to end the filibuster, and also ask your friends to call Casey with the message above. Phila office 215-241-1090; D.C. 202-224-4254; email link
NEW: Ezra Levin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Indivisible, just weighed in on where we are now, since the deadline for democracy has passed without passage of S.1. I’ve shortened his remarks considerably but I wanted to share the essence of them (it’s still long!) with you so you know Indivisible’s thinking on this.
Here’s the very short version (longer one below):
Filibuster reform and S. 1 are still winnable fights, even if the Senate’s failure to get this done before August recess has real consequences that we can’t avoid.
There are a set of senators who we need to get on our side, and we may not be able to win this unless Joe Biden throws his full weight into this fight.
Politicians move when pushed, and it’s our job to push them.
We couldn’t take for granted that we would get this far. We can’t take for granted that we will make it the rest of the way. But the path to victory is in front of us. And if you’ll allow me one single blindly optimistic note to end on: I believe that we will win.
Here's the more detailed version:
"What can legislation actually accomplish now? Let’s say we’re successful in September, the S.1 gerrymandering provisions will be weaker, but the rest of the bill will remain strong. We’ll still have the opportunity to pass this bill to expand voting rights, get money out of politics, protect elections, and beat back GOP voter suppression nationwide.
Despite blowing through the “Deadline for Democracy,” S. 1 is still a live bill – it has not been defeated, and our allies in the Senate are not throwing in the towel. This is meaningful – a totally plausible alternative scenario for August could have been a failed attempt to end the filibuster and pass S. 1, followed by an announcement that the Senate was moving on.
That’s not what happened. Instead, this week, we saw renewed Democratic commitment to finding a path forward and renewed Republican obstructionism.
Who do we have to win over? Sinema and Manchin are only partly to blame for this delay. Carper, Coons, and possibly others should all be on your list [as noted in Monday’s newsletter].
But our biggest challenge goes beyond the Senate. Our star player isn’t even in the game. We all worked our butts off last year to elect Joe Biden and get him a Democratic congress. And Joe Biden agrees with us on the stakes – he’s described Trump’s Big Lie and the avalanche of GOP voter suppression as the greatest threat to our republic since the Civil War. But while he shares our diagnosis, his team has suggested that we can simply “out-organize” the GOP vote suppression and election subversion. Carper and Coons represent his home state – a simple call from the President would be enough to remove that obstacle. But rather than use his power to move senators to save our democracy, he’s been laser-focused on using his power to move senators on infrastructure.
How can we help? We’ve already done so much – rallies, town halls, marches, and campaign events; op-eds, joint letters, loads of interviews on radio, print, and TV; literally billions upon billions of impressions from earned media. We’ve worked with allies in the civil rights community, faith community, labor leaders, climate leaders, and fleeing Texas legislators and more. Together, we’ve applied more consistent, nationwide grassroots pressure on this issue than the political system has experienced on anything else this year.
But, you might ask, what has it all accomplished? The answer is: actually, quite a lot! It was not guaranteed that: (1) the House would prioritize and pass S.1 in the first weeks of this Congress; (2) the Senate would also prioritize it and move it through the committee process with unanimous Democratic support; (3) Schumer would repeatedly declare that “Failure is not an option”; or (4) Senate institutionalists like Klobuchar, Tester, and Durbin would shift position and embrace filibuster reform.
It’s clear that the main reason that the democracy fight is still alive is because of grassroots pressure. We’ve heard from our allies at the highest levels on Capitol Hill --> decision-makers who would much rather move on from this fight know that they can’t risk alienating the grassroots supporters who got them elected. AND they know they will have to go back to us soon next year and ask for support in the elections. They don’t want to piss us all off. And they know failure on this front will piss us all off – because we’ve been open about our expectations.
SO there’s no getting around it: we need Manchin and Sinema and Coons and Carper. AND we need our senators to be active, public champions. We need firm, public commitments from them to take up filibuster reform when they come back from recess, to be consistently vocal on the filibuster, and to apply pressure on President Biden to get behind it.”
Whew! We know that was long but we hope it was helpful to you. So for now, please make the calls above and then get some rest. We’ll be back at this mission soon!
Many of you have asked, and now we have them – voter registration drives! You can take your pick. Registering voters is critically important to turning out the vote, so let’s get it done! We are coordinating with the Food Trust, which operates farmers markets around the city. The exception is the Germantown Farmers Market, which is now operated by Philly Forest. You can sign up for a two-hour shift.
This Sunday, August 15, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (only two spots left!)
Thursday, August 26, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Philly AIDS Thrift –
Saturday, September 4, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Saturday, September 11, 10 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday, September 18, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturday, September 25, Noon to 4:00 pm
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Would you like to make a big difference in sending messages to our elected officials? You may not know but they scour letters to the editor to see what’s out there in a public forum that shows what’s on people’s minds. So getting a letter published makes a difference. We can help with getting you started! We can provide you shell draft letters that you then revise to make it your own and send in. We even give you the outlets where you can apply for publication. It’s easy – just email email@example.com get all the info you’ll need.
35 DOORS PROJECT
We're getting this moving in a big way! You can join this project to be a Neighborhood Leader interacting with voters at 35 addresses in your neighborhood. It involves going to doors a few times per year and using the information we’ll provide about upcoming elections. You’ll be ready to be the local election expert after our training session and the information and handouts we’ll provide. We’ll also provide the addresses in coordination with the Neighborhood Leader’s input, plus door hangers, election information – everything you’ll need!
If you want more info or to sign up email us at this link!
We are writing postcards to persuade infrequent voters to vote next year to secure Democratic victories for the open U.S. Senate seat and the open PA Governor’s seat.
Plus, next week – Cards & Cocktails!
When: WEDNESDAY, August 18, 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: On Zoom
Here’s how it works –
We recommend you order enough cards to write over the next two months.
The packet you receive will include the postcards and the list of addresses. We’ll email you all the instructions and the script. Please order your postcards in multiples of 50.
We ask that you donate $7.00 per set of 50 postcards to cover our costs. We understand that in these times some of you may not be able to incur this cost in addition to buying the postcard stamps, BUT please don’t let the donation stop you from ordering the postcard packets. On the other hand, if you can, please consider chipping in a little extra to cover the cost for those who cannot.
Here’s how to sign up –
1. Email us at this link to tell us how many postcards you want.
2. Purchase your 36-cent postcard stamps online at this link or at your local post office.
3. Donate $7.00 per set of 50 postcards at this link.
Here’s how to receive your postcards –
If you are in the Philadelphia area, we will deliver the postcard packets to you or you can pick them up. If you haven’t written postcards with us before, please give us your address.
If you are outside the Philadelphia area, we can ship the packet to you. Please add $5.00 to your donation for shipping costs.
RALLY TOMORROW TO SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE BILLS
Did you see that Senator Toomey voted against the infrastructure bill? Well, he did. There’s a rally tomorrow in front of his Chestnut St. office to support this critical legislation and to call out Toomey for his abject failure to support the Pennsylvania jobs it will create – and to show his successor that we are paying attention to all of these votes. The rally is organized by For Our Future Pennsylvania and a group of about 30 other groups. Speakers will include state legislators and union leaders. Here are the details:
WHEN: Thursday, August 12, 11:00 am
WHERE: 200 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Are you on Twitter? Great – here’s what you can do to push to end the filibuster. Retweet our #FilibusterFriday tweets. Every Friday our Indivisible Philadelphia Twitter account (@IndivisiblePHL), along with a whole lot of other Indivisible groups, tweets out #FilibusterFriday tweets to end the filibuster. You can follow us on Twitter and simply retweet our #FilibusterFriday tweets and spread the word to your networks. Follow us – @IndivisiblePHL and get it going!! We’ll be letting them fly this Friday and every Friday for the foreseeable future. Awesome!