Resources - National Level
At the top of the nation's organization chart is the Constitution, which lays out the structure and operation of our the Federal Government along with peoples' rights. Below the constitution are the three branches of government: legislative, executive, judicial. There are checks and balances among them. This remarkable document is always worth a read again, especially these days as it is being severely tested.
A story goes that, upon his exit from the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin was asked what sort of government they had created. His reply: A Republic, if you can keep it!
Legislature: US Congress
The US House and Senate represent districts in the states. A link to the full MA delegation can be used to look up contact information for Representatives outside our town.
Constituents can contact their Reps or Senators about legislation or work their committees are doing (or not doing!) Below are lists of the leaders and contact information. Even though the Senate leadership is Republican and not likely to be very responsive, there are some moderates such as environment advocate Lisa Murkowski, to keep in mind.
A Record: Women of the US House, 2019
Below are also links to ideology rankings of senators and reps. (Senate is 2017.) Rankings and voting records are useful in two ways: 1) evaluating 2020 candidates who happen to be members of Congress and 2) looking for Republicans who work across the aisle and may be receptive to our communications on issues.
Checks and Balances
Congress has the power to oversee the Executive Branch and it currently has investigations, too numerous to list here, in progress. The process has become completely politicized. This situation is highly motivating to Democratic grass roots efforts in 2020 to keep the House and regain control of the Senate.
The Judicial Branch has a role to play in resolving the resistance by the Trump administration to House investigations. Before the Supreme Court, cases will have to make it through the judiciary system under the leadership of the executive branch and US Senate which, together, appoint Federal judges. We are getting a chance to evaluate the extent to which President Trump and Senator McConnell have shifted the Supreme Court and the Justice Department in the executive branch into the Trump column. It's interesting to note that in most states the attorney general is elected and therefore is clearly responsible only to the people of the state.
The Mueller Investigation was opened to investigate possible crimes by foreign countries and the Trump Campaign following President Trump's firing of the FBI director. This check on presidential power was implemented within the Justice Department and highlights what is supposed to be an important aspect of the department's role within the Executive Branch: it functions to uphold the Constitution, not the Chief Executive. Does it now?
Special Prosecutor Mueller's investigation has documented extensive Russian intervention in the 2016 election as well as wrong-doing by members of the campaign. It also found evidence of obstruction of justice by President Trump but, due to Justice Department policy, could not indict. The final report invited Congress to carry on the investigation, since they have the Constitutional power to impeach and remove a president. Encourage your acquaintances to read the facts, rather than relying on summaries.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in a laudable bipartisan effort, issued a report documenting Russian interference in elections. Write committee members to thank them, encourage them to continue with legislation and a careful evaluation of Trump's nominee to replace DNI Dan Coats.
The Democratic Party
The Democratic National Committee sets the national platform and it has all our favorite issues that you can read about. Also the party leaders may be contacted, especially if you would like to make suggestions about improving our national message. The website is liberally laced with opportunities for donating, and indeed, those high-impact messages we would like to see on TV and everywhere do cost money. It is useful to get acquainted with both the platform and party leadership.
And, just for fun, check out the official store for democrat-wear!>>>