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The Republican tax bill spurred more than 120 public protests in November

- December 29, 2017

This is the 11th installment in a monthly series reporting on political crowds in the United States. Each month the Crowd Counting Consortium will post updates about trends and patterns from the previous month as recorded by our volunteers. Find all the previous posts in the series here. For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series.)

For November 2017, we tallied 680 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that between 46,547 and 51,385 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely there were far more participants. Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that took place. For 30.2 percent of the events we listed this month, we lacked an estimate of the size of the crowd.

Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States — particularly how reports of crowds change from month to month. Notably, the number of protests remains fairly stable month to month — and November 2017 is no exception — but the size of the crowds has declined since earlier in 2017.

1) The opposition to Trump

The share of protests against the Trump administration increased in November 2017. Such events represented roughly 70.4 percent of crowds in October 2017 — but we estimate that 77.7 percent of the events we recorded in November were opposing President Trump’s policies. About 50.2 percent overall were explicitly anti-Trump while another 27.5 percent overall took stances on issues that contradict the president. That includes a protest in St. Augustine, Fla., opposing the death penalty; protests in Los Angeles and New York on “Fur Free Friday;” and a rally decrying the eviction of seniors from an apartment building in Colorado Springs.

The most common types of protests were those against the Republican tax bill. We counted over 120 such protests. On Nov. 27 alone, protesters came out in places such as Albuquerque; Anchorage; Bowling Green, Ky.; Bozeman, Mont.; Carlisle, Pa..; Charlottesville; Cleveland; Columbia, S.C.; Crystal Falls, Mich.; Denver; Evansville, Ind.; Everett, Wash.; Hollywood, Fla.; Houston; Kalispell, Mont.; Los Angeles; Manhattan, Kan.; Marquette, Mich.; Milwaukee; Mishawaka, Ind.; Nashville; Newtown, Pa.; Northampton, Mass.; Peekskill, N.Y.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsboro, N.C.; Portland, Maine; Racine, Wis.; Raleigh, N.C.; Springfield, Mo.; and Toledo.

We also saw quite a few protests against sexual harassment and assault, whether the abuse took place on college campuses, in political institutions or beyond.

2) The support for Trump

About 6.6 percent of the events we recorded were rallies supporting the president and his policies, either directly or indirectly. As a share of events, November’s total decreased slightly from October’s.

In the much-discussed Alabama Senate race, Alabamians rallied for Roy Moore in places such as Birmingham and Henagar. In Lakewood, Colo., hundreds of people rallied at Colorado Christian University to support the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in a legal case — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — that the U.S. Supreme Court heard on Dec. 5. In Lincoln, Neb., about 50 people attended a gun rights rally outside the state capitol.

3) Neither for nor against Trump

The final 15.6 percent of the crowds were involved in actions directed at other politicians or about issues that were neither pro- nor anti-Trump. We found a broad range of such topics, consistent with the trends from previous months, including protests against the Burmese government in Lincoln, Neb., Los Angeles, and Washington; a student walkout demanding higher teacher salaries in Tampa; and a rally in Dolores, Colo., calling for the reopening of a public playground.

How many people were arrested and/or injured in political crowds?

At about 661 events, or 97.2 percent, no arrest was made. This was a slightly higher percentage of arrest-free protests than in the last few months. The number of people arrested decreased from 318 in October to 128 in November. Nonviolent civil disobedience accounted for at least 112, or about 87 percent, of those November arrests, in 13 different events. For example, at a U.S. Senate committee hearing, 36 people were arrested protesting the Republican tax plan.

The number of events with arrests that appeared to be connected to violence or property destruction declined from nine events in October to four events in November. Likewise, we counted only four reported injuries in November.

You can download the data here. We’ll release the data for December 2017 soon. In the meantime, we are still counting. Click here to submit information about a protest, and click here to volunteer to help us count. 

Jeremy Pressman is an associate professor of political science and director of Middle East studies at the University of Connecticut. Find him on Twitter @djpressman.