An unruly crowd of more than 1000, most of whom are organized to resist the agenda of President Donald Trump, showed up at the Brooks Center in Clemson for a Town Hall with Sen. Lindsey Graham. Similar organized crowds have showed up for Town Halls with Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Mark Sanford in recent weeks.
The Trump resistance movement is called Indivisible. It uses a data base from the pro-Obama non-profit group Organizing for Action to get people to the meetings. The group provides a training manual and advises members on how to position themselves at Republican Town Halls and what questions (usually in the form of statements) to ask. They are given placards to hold up which read “Agree” and “Disagree”. They are instructed to cheer when someone makes a statement they like and to boo when the Republican member of Congress says something they oppose. Read about the organization here: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web
Among the points the Indivisible groups are making around the country are that repealing the Affordable Care Act will cause millions to lose their health insurance, that they want President Trump to release his tax returns, their opposition to expanded School Choice opportunities, and their contention that the Russians stole the Presidential election from Hillary Clinton. They also state their opposition to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and claim that senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon is a white supremacist.
Graham, a frequent critic of Trump as a Presidential primary opponent and even in the weeks leading up to the election, admitted that he voted for Independent Evan McMullin for President. Graham said he would “help Trump wherever I can,” citing his agreement with the President on rebuilding the military, repealing the Affordable Care Act, expanding School Choice and cutting taxes.
The Indivisible group showed its greatest ire for Graham when he justified his confirmation vote for DeVos, which required Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate. The group accuses DeVos of wanting to “dismantle the public school system.” Graham, an Upstate native who graduated from Daniel High School near the Clemson campus, said the Upstate generally has good public schools but that there are many communities in South Carolina where schools receive failing evaluations year after year. He told the crowd that if spending more money is the answer, Washington, DC schools wouldn’t rank near the bottom in the country every year.
On the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, Graham agreed with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), that the process has not been transparent enough. He said, “I don’t even know what the GOP plan is.” Graham also proposed some creative solutions for Medicaid and Social Security. For Medicaid, he would like to see low-income and disabled citizens placed in private sector managed care insurance plans. He said Social Security is running annual deficits of more than $70 Billion and that raising the eligibility age for younger workers and means-testing for higher income Americans would make the system solvent.