The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House
This month, the Coffee Party’s book club looks at the new book The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House by University of Maryland professor Thomas Schaller.
Click here to purchase the book. Coffee Party USA will receive a small portion of your purchase price.
Once the party of presidents, the GOP in recent elections has failed to pull together convincing national majorities. Republicans have lost four of the last six presidential races and lost the popular vote in five of the last six. In their lone victory, the party incumbent won—during wartime—by the slimmest of margins. In this fascinating and important book, Thomas Schaller examines national Republican politics since President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. From Newt Gingrich’s ascent to Speaker of the House through the defeat of Mitt Romney in 2012, Schaller traces the Republican Party’s institutional transformation and its broad consequences, not only for Republicans but also for America.
Gingrich’s “Contract with America” set in motion a vicious cycle, Schaller contends: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wing grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. This dangerous loop, unless broken, may signal a future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party. In a thought-provoking conclusion, the author discusses repercussions of the GOP decline, among them political polarization and the paralysis of the federal government.
Here is Schaller’s message: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wing grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. His belief is that this “dangerous loop”, unless broken, may signal a future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party.
It’s a thought provoking idea that we invite our Coffee Party USA members to consider by reading the book and joining us for a discussion with the author. A link for purchasing the book can be found on our Coffee Party USA website.
On Monday, March 30 at 8:30pm EST, you will have your chance to ask Professor Schaller about his take on the direction of the Republican Party and what it means for all of us as we host him on our special monthly Blogtalkradio program event. Mark you calendar now!
Get involved with The Coffee Party Book Club this month!
“The uncomfortable truth is that if we are to solve the difficult problems we face as a national community, we must act affirmatively and with courage and clarity to reclaim civility in the public square. Civility is quite simply the glue that holds us together and allows us as citizens of a representative democracy to dialogue with each other."
- Excerpt from "Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square - 10 Rules That Work"
Coffee Party USA's mantra is to "Incite Civility and Reason." As a nation of active citizens, it is not uncommon to find ourselves in conversations where the exact opposite of civility is the case. Coffee Party has always been of the belief that in order to usher in a new era of cooperation, we the people have to set the example. We must be the change that we want to see in our communities, in our government, and in our country.
For Coffee Party's February Book Club event, we have chosen "Reclaming Civility in the Public Square - 10 Rules That Work" by Cassandra Dahnke, Tomas Spath and Donna Bowling.
NOTE: Authors Dahnke and Spath will be joining Coffee Party hosts to discuss the book and answer your questions. Don't miss out on this opportunity to read the book and discuss it with the authors. Our special monthly Book Club program event will be live Tuesday, February 24 at 8:30pm EST via our BlogTalkRadio channel. For more information or to listen, click here.
Click here to read a sample chapter from the book.
"Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square – 10 Rules That Work" is a user-friendly guide to how civility in the governing process is possible. Each rule is illustrated with a true life story. These stories not only demonstrate how the rule works, but also give evidence that while “civility in government” may sound like an oxymoron to some, there are examples to be found showing civility to be alive and well in the political sphere.
This book lends itself to small group study. Written in plain language, each of the short chapters invites reflection and conversation about how that rule works in our own lives, and how it can work in our lives in community. For those who are interested, it would not be difficult to find scripture passages that support each of the rules. The lessons of this book are applicable to everything from our personal conversations in stores, schools and our homes to international diplomacy. There is encouragement here for each of us to be involved in the governing process in a positive way.
Book Club events are a great way to jump start local Coffee Party communities. If you are interested in gathering with your friends and neighbors, use our online tools to set up a Book Club event on our website. We can help you promote that you are interested in forming a Coffee Party community in your city or town.
About the Authors
Cassandra and Tomas are co-founders of the Institute for Civility in Government, a grassroots non-profit organization that works to bring more civility to the governing process in our communities and our nation. With more than 15 years of experience in leading legislative conferences, Cassandra and Tomas know first-hand what it takes for citizens to be effectively engaged in the political process on Capitol Hill and beyond. They have addressed community groups, schools, churches and members of Congress, and have been interviewed on radio and television, including PBS, C-SPAN, NPR and CBC. Both are ordained pastors in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and are actively serving a congregation. Both Cassandra and Tomas have mediation training
Donna Curtis Bowling is a writer, teacher, speaker and occasional preacher. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma, her J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree concentrating in Ethics from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Her poetry has appeared in Windhover, the 2013 and 2014 Texas Poetry Calendar, Peace Words, Blue Hole and the Baylor House of Poetry.
The Coffee Party is five years old today!
Someone once said that The Coffee Party was born running, and that we have had to go back and learn how to walk. In the winter of 2010, our country wasn't in a position where it could wait for us to go through the motions typically associated with any new grassroots start up. The silent, rational, majority in this country needed a voice, and Coffee Party was born to be that voice.
Over the past five years, we have been engaged in thoughtful, civil dialogue, and actions surrounding the problems that our country is faced with. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve done it together. We have mobilized locally, with over 400 groups meeting at one point or another. We have mobilized nationally, rallying at the nations capital. We have mobilized virtually, sending countless thousands of letters to our elected officials in Washington and engaging in dialogue on our rapidly growing Facebook page.
Will you contribute $5 or more in honor of Coffee Party’s work over the past five years?
We are very proud of our past, and what we have been able to accomplish as a community. But the best is yet to come. Coffee Party USA, thanks to you, has found it’s footing and it’s legs and we are ready for the next 5 years, and beyond.
We have built a nimble, results oriented infrastructure, that places YOU, The Coffee Party member and supporter, at the forefront. Through various levels of engagement, you have the opportunity to collaborate with us, either nationally, or on the ground, and work towards our common goal of reducing the influence of money in politics and forwarding our primary objectives.
Will you contribute $10 or more in support of continuing Coffee Party’s work for another five years?
Here’s what’s happening now.
- We are collaborating with like minded organizations in forwarding our common goal of overturning Citizens United. We are calling out the few, and the privileged, who are benefiting from the decision, by, just recently, rallying in Washington.
- We are taking your voice to Washington. Coffee Party members, as well as our sister organizations, delivered a petition with over five million signatures calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned.
- We are inviting you to engage with us, in your community, with actions like The Coffee Party Book Club. We are also building a robus national support team to help facilitate the launch of local Coffee Party Communities.
- We are creating a process that will allow members and supporters to have their voice heard on legislation that has a direct impact on The Coffee Party mission and objectives.
This just the beginning.
The Coffee Party is poised for another five years of growth. We need all hands on deck to make that happen, and your support is essential. As an all volunteer organization, your participation, whether financially, or through your time, is how we measure our successes.
Happy fifth birthday Coffee Party USA, and here’s looking forward to your tenth birthday!
Join Coffee Party President Debilyn Molineaux, with special guest Joan Blades, for a special anniversary edition of Coffee Party Radio.
We are rapidly approaching the fifth anniversary of the founding of Coffee Party USA. Thank you for your participation, and for your work, in helping to grow our movement. Just this week Coffee Party, along with our partner organizations, helped gather over 5 million signatures on a petition calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.
On Monday, January 26 at 8:30pm EST, join Coffee Party President Debilyn Molineaux for a special edition of Coffee Party Radio. Her guest will be Joan Blades, co founder of MoveOn.org, MomsRising and Living Room Conversations. Together, Molineaux and Blades will help celebrate Coffee Party’s five years of inciting civility and reason into our political arena.
As a part of our honoring our successes, we will also be looking forward to our next steps in making a
difference by discussing Ralph Nader’s recent book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. We will be hearing from Nader, via a recorded interview about his book, and discussing ideas for how Coffee Party USA and its members can bring greater cooperation to our political forum. Calls from listeners will be taken and we will be reviewing comments left on our website at http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/unstoppable_comments.
The Coffee Party Book Club is just one monthly event being revived by Coffee Party USA. Moving forward we will also be presenting movie nights. It is our hope that these small actions will help you, The Coffee Party member or supporter, to feel more connected to our movement and, perhaps, engage other members of your community to participate in book club discussions as well as movie viewing parties (popcorn not included).
Thank you again for all of your support and we hope you will join us on Monday, January 26 at 8:30pm EST for this special edition of Coffee Party Radio!
From Rallying in DC, to relaunching our Book Club, to Petitioning for the Reversal of Citizens United. It's a busy anniversary month for Coffee Party USA.
This month’s Coffee Party Book Club selection is Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. The author makes the claim that we are at one of the most pivotal moments in our country’s political history. Americans are more disillusioned with their political leaders than ever before and large majorities of citizens tell pollsters that big corporations have too much political power. The ever-tightening influence of big business on the mainstream media, elections and our local, state, and federal governments, have caused many Americans to believe they have no political voice.
In reading through the book, the author discusses twenty five reforms to our current system of governance that would directly address the disillusionment, and in some cases down-right apathy that a lot of American’s feel towards our political process.
Click here to view the original article, from Ralph Nader's website, listing the 25 reforms.
What say you on these reforms? Are these reforms Coffee Party USA can get behind? We would love to hear your thoughts. Click here to to be redirected to a signup form that will allow you to leave us your comments. Your comments may be included during a special Coffee Party 5th anniversary radio program, on January 26th at 8:30pm EST where we will be broadcasting an interview with Ralph Nader and reflecting on the past five years of Coffee Party and marching forward into the next five years together. As a movement, an organization, and a community.
If you would like to participate in The Coffee Party Book Club, then we invite you to click here and purchase Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Coffee Party will receive a small portion of your purchase.
You are also invited to join Coffee Party USA at Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. on January 21st at noon (EST) as we rally on the 5th anniversary of the Citizens United decision. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
You may recall that Coffee Party was at the front and center in actions surrounding the first anniversary of this disastrous Supreme Court ruling. Coffee Party is pleased to be collaborating with many like minded organizations in support of this rally. Together we will achieve this monumental goal. But it won’t happen overnight.
We need your support and we need it sooner than later. The more attention we bring to the damaging influence of money in politics, which Citizens United has made even worse, the more effective we become. More effective, not just as a group of people with a collective goal, but as a movement of many. And the voice of the many will always be louder than the greed and power of a few.
Coffee Party would also like to remind you, if you haven’t already, to add your signature to our petition calling for a constitutional amendment to address Citizens United. We have set a goal of 5,000 signatures and will be delivering the petition personally on the day of the rally.
It is no accident that the Coffee Party was born January 26th, just five days after the Citizens United decision. Since 2010 we find dark money - personal and corporate funds laundered through non profits - has become the leading source of money-in-politics. The US Chamber of Commerce is the biggest of them all, spending over $31 Million in the mid-term election alone.
We live in a time when a powerful few, using money as speech and hiding behind corporations as people, are influencing our elected and our judiciary to support a financial agenda in pursuit of unlimited wealth for the few. They leave a wake of social and economic injustice that, with our without intent, cripples our nation as it tears her People apart, and threatens our very existence with indifference to consequences of their actions.
YOU can join Coffee Party and many others for a rally on January 21. This coalition includes: American Family Values; Center for Media and Democracy; Coffee Party USA; Communications Workers of America; Courage Campaign; Daily KOS; Endangered Species Coalition; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Advocacy); Food and Water Watch; Franciscan Action Network; Free Speech for People; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Jobs with Justice; NJ for the Overturn of Citizens United Coalition; PCCC; PDA; Sierra Club; Stamp Stampede; US PRIG; 350.org; and MORE every day!
RSVP for the Rally on January 21 at the Chamber of Commerce
Standing up for The People is a job from which we cannot be laid-off or fired. It is, however, a job we can quit. I will never quit. The fate of this republic’s democracy is in my hands as it is in yours. If you have quit, tear up your resignation. If you have not quit, take heart. WE see the truth hidden by the smoke and mirrors of mindless media and disguised by overly clever use of the language of the law. WE are the spark that continues to light the fire that will create “liberty and justice for ALL”.
Whether you join us in our nation’s capital, or shed LIGHT on DARK money closer to home, thanks for you all you do. You can start now by signing the Petition for a Constitutional Amendment!
If you want to engage further, we invite you to join The Coffee Party Book Club. The first in a series of monthly events designed to engage The Coffee Party Community. Our first selection is Unstoppable: The Emerging Left Right Alliance To Dismantle The Corporate State by Ralph Nader. Click here to learn more and to order the book.
Relaunch of The Coffee Party Book Club with "Unstoppable - The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle The Corporate State" by Ralph Nader
Are you ready to incite civility and reason back into our political arena? Are you ready to assist in our country transcending its current partisan political stalemate? Are you ready to help dismantle the corporate control of our government and return it to “the people?"
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you will want to participate in the Coffee Party USA’s new series of monthly events, starting in January, that are designed to both foster and promote outreach and engagement in communities and homes all across the country.
The kick off event, a relaunch of The Coffee Party Book Club, will be Monday, January 26, 2015 at 8:30pm (EST). We will host a special Coffee Party radio program, to both commemorate Coffee Party USA's fifth anniversary, and also dissect Ralph Nader’s new book Unstoppable - The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. The goal will be to bring forth from Nader’s excellent book specific action steps we can all take to create the government we want!
But you can get involved now! And here’s how….
First, pick up a copy of Nader’s book! You can purchase a copy through Amazon and a small portion of the proceeds will assist our organization. You can purchase the book by clicking the link below (or click the picture of the book to the right).
Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State
Second, let us know you are participating! Click here to sign up for our contact list for Coffee Party Outreach and Engagement. We promise not to "spam" you and you will be the first in the loop as new updates and news from Coffee Party Outreach and Engagement, including Book Club activities, are announced.
Third, read the book and submit your ideas and questions to us. Send your thoughts by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions received by January 20 could be used on the program!
Fourth, sign our upcoming petition to support a an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit campaign spending and establish that corporations are not people! Details coming soon!
Fifth, provide your thoughts on campaign finance reform. For the first time in more than a decade, the Federal Election Commission is accepting wide-ranging public comment on issues fundamental to campaign finance — including disclosure and corruption in the political process. Submit your ideas before January 15, 2015, at http://sers.fec.gov/forces/addcomments.htm?pid=93617
Finally, don’t forget to listen to the program on January 26! The program will also be available online after the show. To listen live or access the archive go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coffeepartyusa
Watch for other upcoming announcements about this event and future events from the Coffee Party USA. Sign up here to be the first to know. Together, we can make a difference!
There is an absence of justice in our country. It is keenly felt in African American, Latino and other communities, where racial profiling has resulted in higher arrest rates, convictions and longer sentencing than caucasian offenders. We have criminalized mental illness and substance abuse; our largest treatment centers are the jails and prisons. After arrest, many people are retained without bail to await trial and chances for rehabilitation diminish as the “institution-mentality” takes root. While incarcerated, men and women are treated like animals and bullying is a survival strategy. This is the setting in which the lack of indictment in the shooting death of Michael Brown and choking death of Eric Garner occurred.
Michael Brown was not a poster child for the cause of criminal justice reform; Eric Garner was dragged to the ground for allegedly selling cigarettes. These deaths has brought to the forefront the absurd inequality of our culture and the absence of justice in a system that claims to be the best in the world. And what we see via mainstream media cannot begin to convey the rage of generational injustice that our neighbors have endured. And make no mistake. This RAGE will not go unanswered.
Millions of people are standing up and saying ENOUGH. We will not be bullied into submission nor condescended to as children. We are equals. The police and government are public servants of our collective needs. It is our responsibility to convey our needs, interact and build relationships that are healthy and dignified. The peaceful protesters are speaking for many about the need for true equality before the law.
We stand in solidarity for justice.
My name is Billy Sears and I am the newest member of The Coffee Party USA Board of Directors. I am tasked with Local Organizing and Support.
Some of you may recognize my name. I have a long history with Coffee Party USA, dating back to our roots in 2010. I saw the beginnings of Coffee Party as a YouTube video that went massively viral, a wildly popular facebook page just getting off the ground, and I also participated in one of over 400 Coffee Party groups that met in a single weekend in 2010.
I went on to be a leader with my local Coffee Party community in Champaign, IL as well as a leader within the national Coffee Party community as our first ever staff member as Director of Membership.
I have been through many incarnations of Coffee Party. I have seen, and been a part of, our many successes. I have also been a part of our learning opportunities. Throughout everything that we have been through as a community in the past, our founding principles remain the same:
We do not feel represented by our government or the officials that we have elected to be our collective voice in the democratic process.
We must participate in the democratic process, in a responsible way, and work to hold our elected representatives accountable for obstruction of progress.
The continuing influence of money in politics, particularly the Citizens United ruling, is damaging in a way the framers of this republic’s democracy never could have imagined.
As we get closer and closer to the five year anniversary of Coffee Party, I would like to invite you to engage, or re-engage, in Coffee Party USA. We are a grassroots democracy movement, working to connect communities in an ongoing effort to reclaim our government. You are one of the most important assets in The Coffee Party arsenal.
I would like to extend you a personal invitation to join me on a teleconference to discuss various ways to organize with Coffee Party USA in your community. This call will be held on Sunday, September 14, at 3pm CT/1pm PT. Click here to register
This will be the first of what will become a monthly call. It will serve as an opportunity for new, and seasoned, Coffee Party organizers to come together to discuss best practices, progress in their communities, challenges to overcome, as well as create and build community within the Coffee Party organizing family.
We will also discuss opportunities to volunteer for the national Local Support Team. This team will be tasked with drafting grassroots campaigns for local Coffee Party groups, assisting local organizers in identifying opportunities in their communities, as well as helping to support and build leaders all over the country.
I cannot stress enough that organizing within Coffee Party USA is a partnership. Be prepared to bring your creativity and ideas to the table. Everyone has a voice and the only bad idea is the one that doesn't make it to the table.
This local organizing call will be held on Sunday, September 14, at 3pm CT/1pm PT. You may register by clicking here.
If you have any questions prior to the call, or would like to discuss specific local organizing or volunteer opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
We know there have been a lot of questions regarding the Vetting Committee. While this process is done in a closed environment to protect the applicants and the process, there are some things we can tell you:
We are currently in the process of checking the minimum requirements of the candidates (membership, background checks, and so forth.)
There are six people on the Vetting Committee - some from the current leadership, some from the membership.
We will begin conducting the interviews of qualified candidates between June 13 and June 23. Interviews will be conducted by either 2 or 3 members of the vetting committee. Efforts will be made to be diverse (members v leadership) in these interviews as scheduling allows.
Candidates are urged to refrain from campaigning until the ballot is announced on June 23.