Progressive activists to unveil new $80 million network

Anti-Trump protesters target GOP lawmakers
Anti-Trump protesters target GOP lawmakers

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Story highlights

  • The Center for Popular Democracy Action holds its spring gala Tuesday night
  • "The past four months has seen an unprecedented wave of activism and grassroots energy," the DNC chair said

(CNN)The anti-Trump "resistance" movement is growing -- and getting richer.

At their spring gala Tuesday night, the Center for Popular Democracy Action will unveil a new $80 million effort to coordinate the work of dozens of smaller progressive groups from around the country.
The activist organization's new initiative -- which, as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization, is not required to disclose its donors -- arrives as part of a broader effort on the left to channel anger at the Trump administration into a lasting power base, with the ability to influence policy debates within the Democratic Party while boosting candidates on the local, state and federal levels.
    The growing network spans 32 states, with 48 local partners, as part of concentrated effort to mobilize new voters -- pushing back on voter ID laws and partisan gerrymandering efforts while pumping up campaigns for automatic voter registration programs -- ahead of the 2018 midterms and 2020 general election. Organizers say they are also targeting six state legislatures they believe are ripe to flip to Democratic control.
    Affiliated groups "know how to win on the local level, now they want to turn that attention to building these campaigns on the national level," CPD Action Network President and co-Executive Director Jennifer Epps-Addison told CNN.
    "The past four months has seen an unprecedented wave of activism and grassroots energy, but only with a long-term investment in organizing can we turn this moment into a movement," Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez told CNN in a statement. "I am excited that CPD Action is mobilizing their national network toward building political influence from the ground up."
    Four months into the Trump era, traditionally local groups are seeking broader alliances in their fight against federal efforts to reverse regional gains and crack down on traditionally liberal strongholds.
    "It's no longer enough to be in California and be satisfied by having a progressive city council or to be in New York and to able to pass things like paid sick days," Epps-Addison said. "Being located in a progressive city or progressive state is no longer enough to protect our families. ... We need to mobilize, unite and defend sanctuary cities and policies that protect immigrant communities and local power."
    Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy DNC chair, will be honored at the Tuesday night gathering, which will count among its co-chairs union leaders Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and the SEIU's Mary Kay Henry. In an email, Ellison touted the network as another step toward solidifying grassroots opposition to the Trump administration agenda.
    "This national network, led by working class people of color and immigrants, will supply the power and the fight we need to resist the Trump administration's all-out assault on American values," he said. "I look forward to standing with CPD Action's leaders in the streets and in Congress to win real progressive change."
    The increase in resources will also centralize the decision-making process. Organizers say a board of directors, comprising executive directors and member leaders from CPD Action's partners, will prioritize how and where the new resources are directed.