While Trump’s Cabinet is still going through confirmation hearings and votes, Senate Democrats have an important role to play in setting the tone for the rest of the administration. Resisting Trump’s hostile takeover is the only way to show Republicans that although Democrats are a minority in both the House and the Senate, they will not back down.
It is incredibly important for these representatives to keep fighting the oppression we have seen in the past few weeks. This means actively speaking up about discriminatory executive orders and less-than-qualified nominees for appointed positions.
Several Democratic senators have voted for Trump’s pick for Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, despite his positive views towards torture and increased government surveillance. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III from West Virginia even voted to confirm Tom Price for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is the Tom Price who has condemned the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid, which are all programs run by HHS.
It took several days for most of the Democratic representatives to release statements opposing the hateful Muslim ban signed by Donald Trump on Jan. 27. Even now, some representatives have stayed silent or neutral, and some have released weak statements that do not condemn this unconstitutional abuse of power.
Americans used to be able to trust their representatives to make the right calls and fight for their beliefs without too much oversight. Now, constituents must keep their congressmen and women accountable for the promises they made when they first ran for office.
This is not to say that good progress has not been made. Senators have received tens of thousands of emails and phone calls over the past few weeks from ordinary people who are concerned about the future of the country. Many of them do, in fact, take into consideration what their voters want.
However, people must not let this spirit die down. There are four more years of Trump’s presidency left, and some representatives are bound to get tired. Despite a Democratic minority and a very small chance of “liberal ideas” becoming law, representatives from blue states and districts should not give up on their constituents. Voters must not allow them to become passive or be bought off by outside interests.
Many times, members of Congress can lose sight of where they come from. They should be holding town halls, unlike Rep. John Shimkus who, according to RealClear Politics, “told fellow lawmakers he’d never held a town-hall meeting during his two decades in Congress.” They should be listening to the voices of those who voted for them.
And if they are not representative of their constituents beliefs? Vote some of them out in 2018.