Congressman Doyle discusses why he plans to resist Trump
On Feb. 9, Mike Doyle, the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th congressional district, spoke to a packed crowd in Margaret Morrison Hall. Doyle used this platform to discuss how he and other Democratic representatives planned on fighting President Donald Trump with regards to issues most important to them today.
Doyle began his speech by discussing healthcare, a hot topic over which Republicans and Democrats have butted heads for many years, ever since the passing of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The reason that it is such a topic of debate now is due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to ACA and nicknamed Obamacare. Instituted in 2010, in the midst of Obama’s Democratic presidency, the ACA made healthcare available to people who were previously unable to afford healthcare. This was heavily contested by Republicans. Doyle said that he and many other Democrats did not initially support the ACA, preferring instead to strengthen the preexisting Medicare and Medicaid systems.
This reaction to ACA shows that attempts at bipartisanship were denied by the Republicans ever since Obama took office. This time around, with a Republican president, Doyle warned that if the Republican representatives wanted help they shouldn’t expect any, saying that “if [Republicans] want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, [they] own it. Good luck.”
Doyle then spoke about some of the steps citizens could take to fight the current administration, if they believed in that cause. One of the most important roles that he stressed was developing what he called a “farm team,” a group of passionate individuals willing to work hard to run for elected positions in their local government. Doyle joked, “you don’t start your political career as a U.S. Senator.” He emphasized how valuable it was to have a group of supporters that were willing to work at the lower levels if they were going to rebuild their political party.
Something else that Doyle insisted would be beneficial for the Democratic party was to re-elect Tom Wolf, the current Pennsylvania governor. In a state government that is currently dominated by the Republican party, having a democrat in a position of power will help increase the influence of the Democratic party. However, throughout his talk, he remained insistent that his party should not lose sight of its ideals and become overly radicalized, stating “let’s not be the Democratic version of the Tea Party.”
Doyle also talked about an issue that he felt was inhibiting the Democratic party’s ability to influence politics in modern America: gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the rearrangement of district lines in order to change the outcome of election results. Doyle felt that Republicans had rearranged the district lines in Pennsylvania so that the substantial Democratic population around the Pittsburgh area was isolated mainly into one district.
After his speech, Doyle opened the lecture hall to the audience for a question and answer session. Among the topics of concern was immigration, specifically the recently publicized case of Martin Esquivel-Hernandez who was deported to Mexico. Doyle said that he and others of a similar mindset passionately fought against the decision, as he felt that Esquivel-Hernandez might have been racially profiled by the officers responsible for his arrest.
Doyle spoke about the issues that face the Democrats in the House of Representatives, the primary one being that they don’t control the floor, and therefore can’t propose more bills. In this case, Doyle explained, the best that can be done is ensuring that the hard work of the past couple years wouldn’t be erased. “I am not turning the clock back to the 50s, and I am not turning my back on my principles,” Doyle said.
He left the lecture hall with a critique of President Trump. As one might imagine, the Democratic representative was not pleased with him. In particular, President Trump’s attitude towards the First Amendment bothered him, causing him to claim that “Donald Trump has attacked free press in this country… that’s the beginning of the end.” He feels that Trump is trying to destroy our trust in the media, which is unacceptable to Doyle. However, he left the hall on a hopeful note, “I believe there are Republicans that are going to stand up.” He believes the American people will resist the antics of our current president and prevent him from doing anything too harmful.
Congressman Doyle’s talk is the first installment in Carnegie Mellon College Democrat’s Trump Resistance Series. All semester long, activists, civil leaders, and others will discuss how Democrats can stand against President Trump’s agenda.