Political Revolution Flips 2 Republican Senators Against EdSec Betsy DeVos

3 min readFeb 3, 2017


Dismissed by Hillary Clinton and her campaign as pie-in-the-sky delusion, Bernie Sanders’ strategy of political revolution — inspiring millions of working people to stand up and fight by getting involved in the political process — is yielding results in the struggle to defeat President Trump’s disastrous pick to head the Department of Education, Betsy Devos.

As Yahoo News reports:

Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate had been flooded with an average of 1.5 million calls each day this week. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted that the call volume broke all previous Senate records. A staffer for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told a reporter that he received 80,000 letters from constituents about DeVos’ confirmation alone. The senator’s total correspondence was up 900% compared to the year before, he said.

The unusual flood of calls, emails and letters reflect the amount of emotion and anger surrounding President Trump’s pick.

“What we really see is that this has really touched a nerve in the hearts and minds of not just educators but parents, grandparents and community members,” said Mary Kusler, the director of government relations for the National Education Association teachers union.

The campaign has yielded results. Two Republican senators, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, defected from the caucus earlier this week, in a surprising repudiation of the White House. Murkowski said she had heard from “thousands” of Alaskans who opposed the nominee. She further told Yahoo News that she couldn’t live in fear of the president’s Twitter attacks.

Activists then turned their sights on Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., who are both up for reelection in 2018 in states that trended more blue in 2016. Both men have said they will vote for DeVos, but constituents kept calling anyway. Heller tweeted Thursday that constituents were having trouble getting through to his office line.

With those two Republican defections, DeVos’ confirmation vote is now split 50–50. That means that Vice President Mike Pence will have to come to the Senate floor to break the tie. (Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been abstaining from nomination votes as he’s under consideration for attorney general, will also have to come to the floor to vote.) If Pence is called in, it would be the first time in Senate history that a vice president has had to cast the tie-breaking vote for a president’s Cabinet nominee.

Political revolution is the only way to stop the Trump-Bannon Alt-Right onslaught and political revolution can take many forms: organizing people to hound their elected representatives, strikes and general strikes, mounting serious primary challenges against figures like Corey Booker, and grassroots protests like we saw at airports all over the country in response to Trump’s inane travel ban.

Trump doesn’t know who Frederick Douglas is but some of the things the famous abolitionist said have never been more relevant than they are now:

▪ “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

▪ “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

▪ “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

▪ “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

▪ “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”

▪ “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.”

▪ “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”




Groupthink is a contradiction in terms.