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Upending American PoliticsPolarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance$
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Theda Skocpol and Caroline Tervo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190083526

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190083526.001.0001

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How Grassroots Resistance Networks Boosted Pennsylvania Democrats in 2018

How Grassroots Resistance Networks Boosted Pennsylvania Democrats in 2018

Chapter:
(p.259) 12 How Grassroots Resistance Networks Boosted Pennsylvania Democrats in 2018
Source:
Upending American Politics
Author(s):

Maximilian Frank

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190083526.003.0012

After the 2016 election, Americans formed thousands of anti-Trump grassroots resistance groups across the country. This chapter draws from in-depth interviews and other evidence to explore the electoral activities and impact of such groups in six pivotal Pennsylvania swing counties around Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley. Formed in suburban and rural areas without historically strong Democratic Parties, these resistance groups revitalized local Democratic Party organizations and elected like-minded candidates to political office. Their members registered new Democratic voters and recruited, trained, and deployed volunteers to canvass door-to-door during crucial campaign moments. These groups, predominantly led by women, also supported many women candidates at both the federal and state level. Despite their broad support of Democratic candidates, resistance groups retained varying degrees of independence from party organizations and navigated occasional friction with incumbent party leadership. Resistance efforts helped Pennsylvania Democrats in 2018 and improved their future prospects, though questions remain about the extent to which they will remain independent of the Democratic Party in 2020 and beyond.

Keywords:   Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley, collar counties, 2018 midterm elections, Susan Wild, the resistance, Donald Trump, Democratic Party, voter registration, local party organizations

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