Donald Trump is running up against a deadline. Saturday marks his 100th day in the White House and he has yet to pass any of the major policies laid out in the 100-day plan he issued during his campaign. In typical Trump fashion, the president now says the whole thing is an “artificial barrier,” and recently told the Associated Press “I've done more than any other president in the first 100 days.”
Nevertheless, the self-proclaimed “Resistance” is pointing to the scoreboard: The Affordable Care Act still stands; that border wall has yet to be built; the travel bans have been thrown out, and tax reform remains untouched. Leaders of the movement are claiming credit for those outcomes.
“I think it’s clear that Trump’s first 100 days has been an overwhelming failure because the resistance has been far more effective and won far more fights than anyone anticipated,” Anna Galland,
MoveOn.org ’s executive director, told Refinery29.
While grassroots anti-Trump movements have made a mark, pressure from courts and within Congress also played a key role in derailing Trump’s agenda. “There’s nothing new here. Donald Trump just didn’t expect it and he wasn’t prepared,” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf argued.
Regardless of who is responsible for Trump’s policy roadblocks, one thing is clear: As the president hunkered down at the White House and Mar-a-Lago, trying fruitlessly to bend the government to his will, grassroots organizers were busy building a political network that mirrors the rise of the anti-Obama “Tea Party” movement in 2009. Established progressive groups reported huge spikes in activism and small dollar donations. Planned Parenthood reports an “unprecedented outpouring” of support, with 252,000 contributions from new donors since the inauguration.
Swing Left, a new activist group hoping to flip the House in 2018, has seen its volunteer reserves grow to 300,000 since November. “Resistance” leaders believe they can cripple Trump’s remaining agenda and set congressional Republicans on edge — if they can continue to channel the groundswell of anti-Trump sentiment effectively.
“We’re going to see some tough and important fights in the coming months,” Galland said. “And I think the resistance is ready.”
Here’s a look at six key battles of days zero to 100 — and what’s ahead.
The set up: For the past seven years, Republican politicians rallied the party around the promise of eventually repealing the Affordable Care Act. It was expected to be an easy win for the Trump administration. With the backing of a Republican Congress and the support of the GOP base, many assumed the president would check off this box right off the bat.
What went down: No deal for repeal. House Speaker Paul Ryan declared Trump’s healthcare plan “dead” in March, after Republicans failed to secure enough votes within their own party. Some policy experts believe that external pressure from the anti-Trump protesters in the “Resistance” had an outsized effect on lawmakers. Case in point: those heated town ha all over social media the past few months. “When members went home for town meetings they were really hearing it from people, and that had a big impact,” Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the lls Kaiser Family Foundation, said.
Final Score: Major loss for Trump — and the GOP. But Round Two could come soon: On Wednesday the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced that it was prepared to support a revised version of the bill, even though it will not fully repeal ObamaCare. In order to pass, the bill would need support from both hardline conservatives and moderate republicans. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More Muslim ban
The set up: Trump tried to fulfill another major campaign promise just days after entering the Oval Office: On January 27 he signed the so-called Muslim ban to block all travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. The resistance was fired up. So fired up, in fact, that thousands flocked to protest in places more often associated with groan-worthy delays than invigorating shows of Democracy: airports.
What went down: As we all know by now, that Muslim ban has yet to become a reality.Most of the action on this issue played out in the courts. Nearly fifty cases against the order were filed, and the ban was soon stayed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Trump White House submitted a redrafted version in March, but that was also sunk by a federal court in Hawaii. Still, some members of the Resistance believe the protests helped fuel the legal battles. “Many [lawyers] became involved because they saw the news reports and thought ‘Oh, I can help here,’” Emily Tisch Sussman, the campaigns director at the Center for American Progress, said. “And I think the protesters felt reciprocal because they were calling attention to an area that had legal needs.”
Final score: Loss for the Trump administration. Between the efforts of protesters, lawyers and the court system, it looks like the ban, in its original iteration, is a thing of the past. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More Ethics Issues: Ivanka and the Trump brand
The set up: The issue plagued Trump long before he took office: how would our first businessman/developer/reality star-turned-commander-in-chief navigate the minefield of potential conflicts that come with his vast global financial dealings and properties. Then there’s his kids. Trump, who leans heavily on daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, for counsel and advice, assured the public post-election that he’d respect anti-nepotism laws.
What went down: Despite steps Trump took to remove himself from the day-to-day operations of his business, ethics experts say there are still problems with his current situation. And those anti-nepotism laws haven’t stopped Team Trump from installing Ivanka and Jared in influential advisor roles (complete with that security clearance Trump’s team said, pre-inauguration, that they would never have). Ivanka, too, stepped away from the running of her brand, rolling it into a trust. But with her book coming out next month, more questions about how she’s benefitting from her role have surfaced. So what’s a politically active (and progressive) consumer to do? Some women are putting their money where their mouth is. Shannon Coulter, a west-coast progressive, launched the “Grab your Wallet” boycott of any Trump-brand products after hearing Trump’s remarks on the now infamous Access Hollywood tape.
Final score: Trump is taking this one…all the way to the bank. The administration keeps skirting recommendations from ethics lawyers, with little measurable consequence. Ivanka and Jared aren’t going anywhere. Trump’s properties, now led by his two sons, are looking to expand and Ivanka’s brand reported an uptick in sales in recent months. But, the founder of Grab Your Wallet says the long-term effects of the boycott have yet to be seen: since most people didn’t start boycotting Trump products until February — at which point major stores had already done their buying for the spring and summer — Trump products remain on the shelves. Coulter says she expects that stores that have felt the boycott for the past few months will stock fewer Trump-brand items for the fall season. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More The Supreme Court
The set up: Merrick Garland — remember him? The judge from the United States Court of appeals in D.C. who Obama tapped to serve as a Supreme Court justice in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia? Well, obviously that one didn’t work out. Conservatives in Congress refused to consider Garland, and let his nomination expire in January 2017 with the end of the 114th Congress. Democrats say the Republicans stole Garland’s seat on the court, but technically, the GOP’s proceedings were completely legal. Post-election, the ball was back in the GOP’s court. On January 31, 2017 Trump announced his nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a conservative judge from Colorado, to the court.
What went down: The resistance flooded the phone lines on Capitol Hill, urging key senators to vote no on the nominee. Senate rules required most nominees for the Supreme Court to cross a 60-vote threshold, meaning all Republicans and a few Democrats would have been needed to give him the thumbs up. But GOP leadership changed them to allow for a simple majority to clinch it (the so-called “Nuclear Option”) and Gorsuch was confirmed in April.
Final score: Big win for Trump. And the whole thing could play out again, tipping the whole court in his favor, if another vacancy arises in the next four years. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More Trump's Tax Returns
The set up: From the early days of his campaign, Trump has been asked by Republicans and Democrats alike to release his tax returns. He refused, saying he was under audit. That choice made him the first presidential nominee from a major party in 40 years to keep the public in the dark about his finances.
What went down: Many months and broken promises later, the White House still won’t release the returns. That hasn’t stopped critics from demanding to see them. On Tax Day, April 15th, thousands of progressives marched in the streets demanding Trump release his returns. Still no budge.
Final Score: Another one for Trump. At this point, it looks like we’ll get our 2017 tax refund next year’s tax refund (and 2018’s… and 2019’s…) before we see the president’s. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More Flipping Congress
The set up: T he November election was a bloodbath for Democrats. Trump came in with a GOP majority in both houses of Congress (party control on the state level doesn’t look much better for the left). That advantage helped Republicans hoist Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, onto the bench. Key to a long-term comeback for Dems will be chipping away at the GOP majority. And the “Resistance” is hoping to use that energy to flip seats in coming midterm and local elections.
What went down: Organizing. And lots of it. In order to win back seats, the Resistance will need to mobilize the trifecta of winning campaigns: message, money, and (wo)manpower. Tisch Sussman sees evidence that it can be done. The past few months have brought “hundreds of thousands to millions of new activists,” many of whom are willing to take on large time commitments even though they may not have previous experience in political organizing, she says. Groups are already pouring funds into the campaign coffers to progressive candidates in local elections. The most prominent Resistance group, Indivisible, lays out a “Tea-Party inspired strategy” in its mission statement. Its goal is to mobilize locally and target individual members of Congress — just like the Tea Party did during the Obama years. Galland, of MoveOn, says she’s already seen that “many people involved in the broad resistance movements are just as eager to protest as they are to show strength at the ballot box... people are actually willing to change their lives to be engaged,” she says. “Many of the people who have started these new organizations are putting huge amounts of their own resources and hours into it, and now they’re actually willing to leave their jobs and change their careers to do this full time.”
Final score: TBD. But we're already seeing the early impact. In a special election in a historically red district in Georgia earlier this month, Jon Ossoff, a young Democrat with almost no political experience, channeled a nationwide groundswell of anti-Trump activism and donations to nearly beat out a field of Republican candidates. And in the upcoming June runoff, Ossoff can count on a continued flood financial donations and grassroots support. Illustrated by Anna Sudit. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Here’s What To Do Instead Of Watching The WHCD Michelle Obama Crushed All Hope Of Another President Obama Trump Cares More About Demonizing Undocumented Immigrants Than Helping Women