Democrats are hoping to capitalize on the anti-Trump excitement in their base by staging a coordinated "Summer of Resistance" across the country that's aimed at countering the agenda of President Trump and the GOP-led Congress.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi kicked off the effort Wednesday at a rally in Dallas, where she told attendees Democrats would work to stop the GOP agenda and Trump.
Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, told the crowd, "You have to take a stand now," and "Now is the time to help make a difference. There are so many things you can do."
Democratic activists have been working almost since Trump's election to coordinate opposition to the Republican agenda, which is focused primarily on overhauling the tax code and repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Democrats have already made an impact with earlier efforts. They coordinated rallies this year to oppose a House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the well-attended events helped motivate thousands of people to flood the Capitol switchboards. It scared enough Republicans to help sink the bill, although a second and more conservative version passed a few weeks later.
Democrats have also coordinated town hall protests against GOP lawmakers that have attracted media attention and put Republicans on the defense about what has become a tremendously difficult political issue for many of them.
"This Resistance Summer is very important," Pelosi said at the event.
Republicans are not publicly sweating the "Resistance Summer" plan by the Democrats, who they say are struggling to find their direction after a devastating election loss in November.
Democrats not only lost the White House but were once more relegated to the minority in both the House and Senate. The party fought bitterly before electing Tom Perez to run the Democratic National Committee, which highlighted a disagreement over how liberal the party should become.
"National Democrats can't organize a picnic right now let alone a controversy-free counterplan," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt told the Washington Examiner. "House Republicans will continue to engage with their constituents on important issues while Democrats fight over the direction of their party."
Still, Democrats see a chance to tap into the energy of an excited base.
Democrats said they will coordinate events across the country targeting the GOP wish list, which is topped by the Obamacare repeal but also includes other legislation, including a right-to-work measure that would weaken labor unions that Pelosi called that plan "a path to exploitation." Republicans are also pushing a budget that will likely curb spending and cut taxes. She labeled the budget "indecent."
The "resistance" effort will primarily focus on stopping the Obamacare repeal, however. While the House managed to pass a bill, the Senate is struggling to agree on a measure. Passage is far from certain, and Democrats hope to sway Republicans against repealing the law.
"Right now our fight is to defeat the repeal of the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi said, referring to the official name for the embattled healthcare law. "And that is part of the resistance."
Pelosi told the crowd to call people in GOP districts "and tell them to call your member of Congress, and tell him or her not to take away our healthcare."
The Democratic National Committee is planning a formal kickoff on June 3 and will livestream an event with "surprise guests," DNC Deputy Chairman and Rep. Keith Ellison said in an email to supporters. Ellison called on backers to host "resistance" grassroots house parties.
"We'll make sure you have everything else you need to start organizing in your community," said Ellison, D-Minn.
Jason Pye, public policy director for the conservative FreedomWorks, which employed grassroots tactics to get the many conservative lawmakers elected to Congress, said Republicans need to pay attention to the summer agenda planned by Democrats.
"This is a reminder to our activists to make sure they are getting out and educating their friends and family about the issues," Pye said. "This is a sustained effort. We can't just assume since we won the election in November that things are going to fall in line. That is not how this works."