The days when Democrats faced an enthusiasm gap are gone. The Republican tea party mojo of 2009-2010 has disappeared, replaced by a new protest movement of union members, students, and progressive activists of all stripes. We've seen it in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and in solidarity protests around the country. Today, it was out in force in DC.
The occasion for the protest in DC was the arrival of the Wisconsin Republican state Senators facing recall. They were in town for a $1,000-per-head fundraiser, hosted at the offices of corporate lobbyists. They must have felt right at home, given what was happening both inside and outside the building.
In character with the new labor-fueled protests rallies around the country, this protest was a dynamic, almost unpredictable event that far exceeded expectations. It began with students, union members, and activists taking up about half the sidewalk on 13th St NW, between G and F. Before long, it not only took up the entire block, but it also wrapped around the block:
Soon, the whole street was shut down, and the rally stretched sidewalk to sidewalk:
Within an hour, the rally spontaneously turned into march. Despite lacking a permit or any prior planning, as many as 1,000 people walked the four blocks to the White House -- in the middle of the street:
From White House, it was onto the Chamber of Commerce building, which is across from the White House on Lafayette Square. For more pics, see my Twitter feed.
The whole time, protesters were occupying the lobby of the building where the fundraiser was held. Watch a video of the scene inside the lobby here. Further, there was no trace of a counter-protest at any stage of the event.
The energy is entirely with our side now. As Markos just wrote, Republicans are getting seriously out-organized in this recall fight. They are relying on lobbyists as we occupy buildings, hit the streets, sign up thousands of volunteers and raise millions of dollars from small donations. This is a big frakkin' deal. Welcome to the turn of the tide.