These GOP town hall crowds are pretty remarkable. Anger works.

When I worked for a Republican US Senator, a lifetime ago, the most effective way for a constituent to get the boss’s attention was to yell at him in public. It drove him crazy.

Invariably, after a trip back home, the Senator would come up to me and bark about how someone back home had yelled at him in the airport about one of my issues.

The other thing he hated were critical letters to the editor in the local papers. We’d have to find the home address of each person and write them a response from the boss.

Anger in politics works.

Which brings us to the remarkable and angry protests happening at town hall meetings being held by Republican members of Congress across the country. People are showing up en masse, and they’re not taking prisoners. (The Washington Post has gathered a number of videos of the protests.)

Now, what does all of this mean? First of all, as most observers have noted, this stuff can’t be faked. It is extremely difficult to turn people out for events like this. You cannot get them to show up unless they’re seriously motivated. And just as important, anger is hard to fake as well. These people are clearly ticked off. Thus the reason Michigan Republican congressman Justin Amash took Donald Trump to task for his tweet claiming the protests were somehow less than legit:

The anger is real, widespread, growing and manifest. None of that is good news for Republicans who may have worried that they’d eventually pay some price for Trump’s excesses, but not in the first month of his presidency.

I’ve always believed that the best way to best Trump and Republicans in Congress is to keep pressuring Trump to be as crazy as possible, thus tanking his approval ratings, and eventually taking the GOP Congress’ polls down with him. Why? Because other than a few patriots, only their own survival will motivate Republicans in Congress to stand up to Trump.

But with these protests, there now is another way to scare members of Congress about their own survival: protest. And it’s working.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • HeartlandLiberal

    What do you do when your Indiana-09 GOP rep, who bought the seat with family money, and is not even a Hoosier, but from another state, announces no town hall meetings, and no longer even publishes a fax number? These hypocrites do not want to hear from their constituents who might disagree with them, or have a legitimate criticism. They have sold their souls. He announced he refuses to have town hall meetings because “The focus is on having meaningful, individual dialogue with Hoosiers
    rather than ramping up the volume, because I think what a lot of people
    don’t like about D.C. is the screaming and talking at each other instead
    of the talking collectively about how we get a better outcome,”

    What a snowflake.

  • UncleBucky

    So, the clear strategy is to bank on that anger that the People have for GOPers, to get them OUT to events, to get out to voters in canvassing, and to get and VOTE.

    ANGER. NOT LOGIC.

  • Demosthenes

    Logic only works on the sentient.

  • Demosthenes

    The next thing that needs to happen is to identify and vote out of office all of them. Democrats need to wake up.

  • Zorba

    One thing that drives me nuts is that I know some Trumpistas who keep insisting that all these protesters were paid to do so by George Soros.
    I finally got fed up and started asking them if, when the Tea Party people started gathering and yelling and protesting a few years ago, were they being paid by the Koch brothers?
    They start sputtering, but it usually shuts them up.

  • keirmeister

    “Anger in politics works.”

    With much love and respect, I’m assuming you already knew this. Conservatives have been using anger to get elected for decades.

    Even now, watch conservative pundits and media, you’ll see nothing by angry people: angry at minorities, foreigners, gays, women. They stoke that anger in the citizenry because they know anger motivates people to action.

    Anger encourages people to act on emotion instead of reason. The problem is that if anger is what drives you, reason cannot take control. Sound like anyone you know?

    So yes, we should encourage anger and make our representatives FEAR us. But we should also make sure we don’t lose control of it. Fortunately, I’m far more confident in liberals’ ability to do that than conservatives.

  • GeorgeMokray

    Remember what happened in North Carolina recently. The state legislature tried to criminalize talking back to public officials, even retired public officials like the recently ousted Governor, by the public. This tendency will continue to build as legislators continue to push policies that their constituents disagree with too vocally.

    Not saying stop or don’t do it. Just saying watch out for this reaction and prepare yourself for that possibility.

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