President Donald Trump’s motorcade on Sunday drove past more than a hundred protesters in West Palm Beach for the fifth time since he took office.
Anti-Trumpers did the usual. They waved big signs screaming “LIAR” and “NARCISSIST.” They chanted the usual hymns: “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.” And they were on the north side of Southern Boulevard across from Dreher Park. This meant motorcade members -- including Trump and the reporters following him -- could see demonstrators 10-30 feet away as they rode westward towards Air Force One at 4 p.m.
Ever since Trump was elected, enraged liberals have organized and regularly protested him and the Republican party, which he leads. In Florida, Republican congressmen have faced hundreds of furious constituents at town hall meetings. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has said he refuses to hold a town hall because he will be heckled.
Anti-Trump protests happen almost every week when Trump visits his estate, the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
But the founder of the group that organizes anti-Trump protests told SFGN that Trump and his party will not be the only ones to face the heat. “Some people are lulled into a false sense of security with their Democratic representatives,” said Star Fae, the Lake Worth activist who founded South Florida Activism. “People need to remember they need pressure too.
Two Democrats who come to Fae’s mind are Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Representative Gwen Graham, whose Congressional district covered Tallahassee. Gillum and Graham have both said they would run for governor in 2018.
Fae wants to know if the gubernatorial contenders support setting up state-run universal healthcare. Florida’s government would pay for healthcare costs, rather than private insurance. Such a plan would likely require raising taxes. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supported national universal healthcare when he ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year for the Democratic presidential nomination. He lost, but many liberals like the idea, including Fae.
“It feels like we’re just fighting against losing ground,” Fae said, referring to Democrats’ efforts to stop the GOP from repealing the Affordable Care Act, known also as Obamacare. “We should be fighting for something better,” she said.
Fae would like Gillum and Graham to meet with South Florida Activism to find out where they stand on single-payer healthcare, along with other liberal causes. “If they want to get [elected and] reelected, they need to represent the values we demand representation on,” she said, referring both to the gubernatorial contenders and Democrats in general.
A member of anti-Trump group Palm Beach Indivisibles, Ben McAlevey also said he would like Democrats to take a stronger stand on issues. Like Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. “I get that the Democrats can’t prevent the hearings, but I sure hope [top Senate Democrat Chuck] Schumer throws down the gauntlet and says, ‘We’re gonna filibuster.’” Schumer is one of New York’s senators.
McAlevey also said he called up Florida’s three-term Democratic Senator Bill Nelson earlier this month. McAlevey said when he asked Nelson’s staff about his Senator’s position on confirming Gorsuch. “And they gave me the ol’ ‘Oh the Senator hasn’t decided.’”
Fae also mentioned she wants Nelson to be more vocal about his healthcare position. He is up for reelection in 2018. State Senator Randolph Bracy told the Florida Times-Union in February he is considering running against Nelson in next year’s Primary.
The West Palm chapter of the Women’s March co-hosted Sunday’s protest. Chapter Captain Alex Newell Taylor told SFGN she could not discuss specifics of what endorsements or political activities her group would do. This was because the Women’s March Florida chapter was still doing the paperwork to set up its status as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, she said.
But once Women’s March Florida does set up its nonprofit status, Newell Taylor said, “Any politician we choose to endorse or support will have to be in line with our stated positions.” When asked about those positions, she referred to WomensWayForward.org, a website by Women’s March Florida.
One of Women’s Way Forward’s documents states its support for safe and affordable healthcare for all, equal and fair treatment of immigrants, dismantling racism, and other issues taken up by the left.
The Women’s March chapter could make a rating system for candidates, Newell Taylor added.
When it came to local elections held March 14, none of the major local liberal groups made endorsements.
As for the next few weeks, local liberal groups plan to hold events in support of their issues.
Fae said she would like her group to hold a “die-in” at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach either later this month or early in April. People would pretend to be dead. “We’re gonna have someone dressed as a doctor saying, ‘Sorry, can’t treat you because you don’t have insurance.’”
On Sunday, The Guatemala-Maya Center in Lake Worth plans to hand out cards and inform immigrants in the city about their rights -- especially if federal immigration authorities come knocking. Members of South Florida Activism plan to help the Center, located at 430 North G Street.
Also on Sunday in Lake Worth, members of the local groups plan to attend or take part in the annual PrideFest Parade, starting downtown at 11:30 a.m.
On March 27 at 5 p.m., South Florida Activism plans to hold a rally in support of a proposed Safe City Ordinance for West Palm. Such an ordinance “would indicate the city's refusal to cooperate with ICE (immigration) officials in their attempts to collect and deport innocent undocumented immigrants” as part of the Trump administration’s agenda, the event page states. The rally is scheduled to take place outside city hall at 401 Clematis Street.