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By early February, two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, activists had created nearly 4,000 local chapters of Indivisible, an organization designed to pressure members of Congress. That same month, two Bay Area activists began interviewing the leaders of more than a dozen Indivisible groups and other similar new activist organizations, and found a key challenge: many were already starting to feel burned out as they juggled responding to Trump administration policies and their everyday lives.
Rapid Resist, a new platform, was created in reaction to that challenge, and based on two other findings. Most leaders were struggling to communicate with members as they dealt with multiple issues, events, and platforms. And when asked about their greatest successes, most groups pointed to actions that brought out large crowds and received media coverage.
“His donors saw the people that turned out, he saw that there was organized mass and locally-based resistance, and flipped his stance against Trump’s agenda.”
The new platform, which was initially called California Organizes, uses peer-to-peer texting to quickly reach people in targeted Republican districts to invite them to local newsworthy events–and it uses volunteers from anywhere in the country to do the texting, so local leaders have significantly less work.
In a pilot in March in Nevada, where Dean Heller, a Republican senator, is up for re-election in 2018, local organizers learned about a fundraiser he planned to hold 72 hours in advance and then used the platform to quickly text 2,000 people: 69 of those showed up for a demonstration against Heller’s support for the Republican health care bill.
The next day, Heller reversed his position.