The assault on democracy is taking place in plain sight, and so national progressive organizations (like Indivisible, the National Progressive Alliance and the Working Families Party) are paying attention. In general, they are focusing on passing national Voting Rights legislation. That makes some sense, but such legislation will never pass the Senate so long as the Republicans can stop it with the filibuster. And although most Democrats favor getting rid of the filibuster, Senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema (West Virgina and Arizona) have repeatedly made clear they do not want to take such a step.
And there is the problem. Do we leave the fate of American democracy in the hands of two Senators who have made it clear that they won't take the steps needed to save it? Shouldn't there be a plan B? The problem is that no one can figure out what plan B should be.
Writing in the Washington Post, Laura Thornton writes that "We must organize, engage in peaceful protest and take inspiration from others." David Atkins, in the Washington Monthly, writes "Blue America needs to start thinking about and planning for what 'Break glass in case of emergency' measures look like—because it’s more likely a matter of when, not if. It not only can happen here; it probably will happen here." George Packer in the Atlantic says there must be a "civic movement to save democracy".
Those are great sentiments but they're kind of like staring at an empty cupboard and saying "we have to eat, right now!"
It's not that the writers are ill informed. It's just a very tough question. But the US left has a long history of activism outside of electoral politics. Occupations stopped the US nuclear power industry; sit-ins and boycotts during the Civil Rights movement created change across the country. Rallies and marches after the killing of George Floyd mobilized hundreds of thousands of people and accelerated an ongoing movement for racial justice.
In every political movement, the question of tactics is vital. Lunch counter sit ins were a brilliant success; online petitions to politicians have very little effect. Now is the time to identify tactics that can be effective against the assault on democracy. Our plan is to meet with activists in our area, brainstorm ideas, and get started. Stay tuned.