The new party of no

When I met Warren a few weeks later, I asked her about the speech, and whether the postelection unity that Trump provided the Democratic Party made her ambitions to reform it easier or harder to realize. “I think it has reminded Democrats we need to run on our values,” she replied, parrying the question. “Because our values are more in line with most of America.” If you squinted at the bodies packing the streets and the town halls, though, the picture looked an awful lot like the recent past: Here were people drawn together in defense of liberal immigration and refugee policies, reproductive rights, civil liberties and preserving Obama’s policy legacy, and in opposition to a president who was moving against all those things. These were last year’s arguments, only louder. If Trump, as president, seemed unable to let go of his 2016 campaign, the Democrats seemed like they were acting out an improved version of their own — the crowds bigger and more unified, the stakes more clearly understood.

“There’s more enthusiasm, more energy, more passion now than there was at any point in the 2016 campaign — which is both heartening and discouraging, all at the same time,” Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC, told me. “​I think that’s what a lot of us are seeing and feeling. And we’re trying to figure out the right way for us to respond to it.”

For now, the question was how far “No” could carry the Democrats. The Indivisible Guide, in the three months since Levin first posted the Google Doc, had birthed the organization he and his colleagues had not intended to start, with Levin as the executive director. It had registered more than 5,800 local affiliate groups, at least two in each of the country’s 435 congressional districts. In February, Priorities USA, which raised $192 million to support Clinton in 2016, announced it was reorienting itself to support grass-roots organizing — including an investment in online advertising driving people to the Indivisible Guide’s website listing congressional members’ town halls.