From the Women's March to the Blue Wave
by Dana R. Fisher
Pub Date 05 Nov 2019
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Since Donald Trump’s first day in office, a large and energetic grassroots “Resistance” has taken to the streets to protest his administration’s plans for the United States. Millions marched in pussy hats on the day after the inauguration; outraged citizens flocked to airports to declare that America must be open to immigrants; masses of demonstrators circled the White House to demand action on climate change; and that was only the beginning. Who are the millions of people marching against the Trump administration, how are they connected to the Blue Wave that washed over the U.S. Congress in 2018—and what does it all mean for the future of American democracy? American Resistance traces activists from the streets back to the communities and congressional districts around the country where they live, work, and vote. Using innovative data and interviews with key players, Dana R. Fisher analyzes how Resistance groups have channeled outrage into activism, using distributed organizing to make activism possible by anyone from anywhere, whenever and wherever it is needed most. Beginning with the Women’s March and following the movement through the 2018 midterms, Fisher demonstrates how the energy and enthusiasm of the Resistance paid off in a wave of Democratic victories. She reveals how the Left rebounded from the devastating 2016 election, the lessons for turning grassroots passion into electoral gains, and what comes next. American Resistance explains the organizing that is revitalizing democracy to counter Trump’s presidency.
Dana R. Fisher is professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her books include Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America (2006).
"American Resistance is an important book, not only as a portrait of our moment but also as a challenge to traditional understandings of protest politics. Dana Fisher shows how wrong it is—especially in the Trump Era—to draw sharp lines between protest and electoral action. She details what drove millions to come out in revolt against Trump, explains who they are, and demonstrates how the early marches translated into the unprecedented political engagement of 2018. There are lessons here for 2020, and beyond."
- E. J. Dionne, Jr., coauthor of One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported
"American Resistance charts the course of the anti-Trump surge in activism and organizing, shedding light on crucial realities and busting myths along the way. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the people-powered movements that are changing American politics in the Trump era."
-Leah Greenberg, co-executive director, Indivisible
"After the shocking 2016 election, millions of Americans took to streets and meeting halls to fight President Trump’s agenda and revitalize U.S. democracy. Using interviews with the leaders of national political groups and surveys of thousands of participants in DC protest marches, Dana R. Fisher offers a window into their passionate, loosely coordinated efforts to boost 2018 Democratic fortunes in Congress and the states while proclaiming a very un-Trumpian vision for the country’s future."
- Theda Skocpol, director, Scholars Strategy Network, and Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University
"Exactly what happened between the 2016 election of Donald Trump and the 2018 takeover of the House of Representatives by Democrats and how it happened are the subjects of Dana Fisher's work. While conventional wisdom lazily suggested a 'pendulum swing,' Fisher using survey data of participants in the two year long 'Resistance,' gets under the skin of this movement and helps us understand how it initially came together and then was able to sustain itself through the 2018 elections. More than just a fascinating piece of sociological research, Fisher's study can be a valuable resource for movement activists, helping them better understand the inner dynamics of their organizing work."
- James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute and board member of Our Revolution