Chris Bowers notes a couple of my posts about the invisible town hall revolution, supplementing it with other examples of protests and progressive questioners at GOP town hall meetings from around the country. He writes:
These actions are truly widespread. As such, it’s worth wondering why the media coverage has primarily been restricted to local news and not become a significant national narrative. A rationale sympathetic to the national political media would argue that these town halls lack the threat of imminent violence that was simmering in 2009, thus rendering the 2011 iteration both tame and repetitive as a story. A less sympathetic rationale would be that the national political media is simply differential to the angry conservatives, who are believed to have dominated electoral politics for decades and are thus allocated disproportionate attention.
First of all, the actions are more widespread than even Bowers catalogs. Here’s a protest at Dave Reichert’s office. And here’s a town hall with Rep. Jim Renacci. And one with Rep. Mike Kelly. And one with Bill Huizenga. And Bill Shuster. And Elton Gallegly. And Brian Bilbray. And Nan Hayworth. And Jeff Denham. And Andy Harris. And Marsha Blackburn. And John Culberson. And Bill Johnson. And Mario Diaz-Balart. And Joe Wilson. I could go on. The numbers of actions are in the dozens, and may reach three digits.
I realize that some of the above links are to protests outside district offices. Maybe that’s because 60% of Congress is not holding town hall meetings during the August work period. I hate to link to No Labels, but they ran the survey. This includes every member of the Arizona delegation, for example. So the town hall revolution is occurring on a very narrow playing field. Even where Republicans are holding town halls, they are not being held in the most populated areas of the district, in some cases. And we know about the “pay-per-view” town hall, where constituents have to pay $15 to get in.
That includes Democrats, by the way, who are ignoring town halls at a faster rate than Republicans, according to the survey. I don’t know if that includes the Progressive Congress or the Congressional Black Caucus and their jobs tours – probably not. But it’s true that protesters have pressured Democrats from the left to move forward on a jobs agenda and pay attention to their struggles.
This is a real thing. And in the final two weeks of the Congressional recess, it’s only poised to continue. Maybe the media will take notice.