Despite bipartisan calls for healing and unity after a brutal presidential campaign, liberal activist groups vowed Wednesday to fight from the get-go to stop President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda.
Democracy for America, a leading liberal political action committee and dependable advocate for the Democratic Party, called for a “progressive political revolution” to stymie what it described as Mr. Trump’s racist and sexist agenda.
“So let’s be absolutely clear: Democracy for America will do everything in our power to obstruct, delay and halt the attacks on people of color, women and working families that will emerge from a Trump administration,” said Charles Chamberlain, the group’s executive director.
“We are more convinced than ever that our country needs a massive, multiracial, multigenerational progressive political revolution led by women and people of color that is not beholden to the broken political establishment that brought us to this moment,” he said. “And that’s precisely what we’ll work with our members and our allies to build in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Democrats, particularly those on the progressive left, for years accused Republicans of blindly obstructing virtually anything put forward by President Obama and his allies in Congress. But now, with Mr. Trump’s unexpected defeat of Hillary Clinton, and with Republicans retaining control on Capitol Hill, Democrats must decide whether to pursue their own obstructionist strategy.
The environmentalist group Friends of the Earth, reacting to Mr. Trump’s win, said it plans to “fight him every step of the way.”
“The next four years will not be easy, but we have fought hostile administrations before,” the group said in a statement.
In its own statement, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to unleash its “full firepower” on the Trump White House if the incoming president pursues campaign promises such as the deportation of Mexican immigrants and surveillance of Muslims.
“President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made,” said ACLU President Anthony Romero.
The battle cry from the left contrasted with the somber retrospection underway at the Democratic National Committee, which is in a shambles from the primary-rigging scandal and the shocking defeat of Mrs. Clinton.
Many of the liberal groups now threatening obstructionist tactics are the same ones that energized the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernard Sanders, who was Mrs. Clinton’s chief primary rival and whom the DNC plotted to knock out of the primary race.
Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said the election shocker exposed the disconnect within the party.
“The Democrats have become a collection of groups — not a coalition — with no overriding ideology,” he said.
However, he said the GOP was also at a crossroads after Mr. Trump broke with party orthodoxy on issues such as trade and federal spending. “The question is what’s the party now,” Mr. Sheinkopf said.
Donna Brazile, interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, struck a more conciliatory tone as she pledged to continue to fight for the party’s causes.
“While we are deeply disappointed by the overall results of the election, we will continue fighting for those policies that we hold dear,” she said. “We urge President-elect Trump to put the divisive rhetoric that guided his campaign aside and stick to the pledge he laid out in his victory speech last night to unite the country. After this fierce campaign, now is the time for leaders from both parties to strive in good faith to bridge our deep political divides and work together in service to our one United States of America.”
Ms. Brazile took the helm at the DNC after the former chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, stepped down in July when WikiLeaks revealed party officials were scheming to help Mrs. Clinton by derailing Mr. Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The primary-rigging scandal was but one of the issues Democratic Party officials had to revisit in a post-mortem of what went wrong in an election year that was supposed to include retaking control of the Senate and an easy presidential win for Mrs. Clinton.
“There will be a lot of soul-searching to identify what happened and why it happened,” said Michael Czin, a Democratic consultant and former DNC press secretary. “It’s not one race or one mistake or one thing. It is a cocktail of issues that need to be addressed.”
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who is poised to become the minority leader in the chamber, said the party will be conducting a post-mortem of the election.
“This was a divisive and hard-fought election, and the outcome surprised many Americans from both political parties. It is time for the country to come together,” he said. “Senate Democrats will spend the coming days and weeks reflecting on these results, hearing from the American people and charting a path forward to achieve our shared goals and to defend our values.”
Senate Democrats made an aggressive play to capture control of the chamber, but Republicans held on to a narrow majority, aided by the surge of support behind Mr. Trump.