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A Tale of Two Town Halls




Protesters hold signs outside a luncheon fundraiser in Riverside for Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Corona) on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
Protesters hold signs outside a luncheon fundraiser in Riverside for Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Corona) on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
KPCC/Libby Denkman

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An audience fills the auditorium at Cezar E. Chavez Learning Academies in San Fernando Tuesday night to listen to 29th District Representative Tony Cárdenas
An audience fills the auditorium at Cezar E. Chavez Learning Academies in San Fernando Tuesday night to listen to 29th District Representative Tony Cárdenas
KPCC/Libby Denkman


It's pretty quiet right now on Capitol Hill. Congress is in recess, a time for elected officials to head back to their districts to talk with constituents about what's on their minds. This normally laid-back week is getting renewed attention thanks to a surge of liberal political activism.   

After a dismal 2016 election for their party, a handful of former Democratic congressional aids posted "The Indivisible Guide" online. It's a manual for political organizing and grabbing the attention of elected officials and the media. They call it "A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda."And if this all feels familiar -- disrupting town hall meetings, hounding representatives in public, posting embarrassing clips to YouTube -- it should. Vocal protests over Obamacare in 2009 formed the bedrock of the Tea Party movement, and sparked a conservative wave that helped Republicans retake the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. 

Now Democrats are hoping to harness a similar mojo, drawing increased scrutiny to town hall meetings held during the normally relaxed days while Congress takes a break. Libby Denkmann filed a report on how two Southern California congressmen spent their recess.

(Note: A previous version of the story indicated The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is located in 42nd Congressional district. It's in the neighboring 41st District.)