Nothing left to say

It's another week of sadness and outrage. What more is there to say? If you'd like to donate to funds to help the communities of El Paso and Dayton heal, here are some links:

And just in case you've averted your eyes, here's today's top story on Wisconsin leaders show no signs of tackling gun violence after massacres in Texas and Ohio. The story's lead talks about "Wisconsin officials," but really means Republican leaders Vos and Fitzgerald. Do mythical Second Amendment rights trump human life? Apparently.

On a somewhat lighter note, some clever designers in Chicago have created an entire font, Ugly Gerry, from images of gerrymandered districts nationwide. Read about and download it to use to write an email to your assembly representative and state senator.

The newsletter is short this week because I am recuperating from some surgery and just don't have the patience right now to dig through all the news and commentary. According to Eilene Stevens, who took over for me last week, the Irma Bombeck of Grassroots North Shore is happily returning the spot to GRNS' Rachel Maddow! I think she just means that I'm wordier than she is. But I'm grateful for her willingness to do the honors last week.

For our events offerings this week, I especially want to call your attention to opportunities to get involved in the early, seed-sowing stage of campaigns we HAVE TO WIN. So here, once again, are the dates to start a little deep canvassing with Grassroots North Shore:

And mark your calendars now for our annual picnic and potluck event at Cahill Park (4950 N Woodruff Ave, Whitefish Bay) on Sunday, September 15. This year's theme is "Climate Change: This Generation and Beyond."

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Emotionally, where are you?

Personally, I'm terrified. The Upshot (, July 19, 2019), Nate Cohn's statistical forecasting site, suggests that Trump's "advantage in the Electoral College, relative to the national popular vote, may be even larger than it was in 2016, according to an Upshot analysis of election results and polling data." And here's the punch-in-the-gut news: "Wisconsin was the tipping-point state in 2016, and it seems to hold that distinction now, at least based on the president’s approval rating among 2018 midterm voters."

Nate Cohn is not the only pundit focusing on the importance of Wisconsin to the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections. Here are a few other articles:

I bring this to your attention because we can't afford to be complacent. We can't afford to waste any time. We need to feel the fierce urgency of now. It won't be good enough to wait for the traditional weekend for Get Out the Vote. It won't be good enough to get around to organizing next summer. It won't be good enough to look at Trump's approval ratings in Wisconsin, note that he is under water, and go back to sleep! That's why Grassroots North Shore is working NOW to contact those voters who might be inclined to vote Blue but who do not always vote. We're on our own listening tour — to find out what issues are important to these potential voters and to build relationships with them. Election wins take only a few votes per ward. And we don't want to wake up on November 4 regretting that we did not contact a few more voters on the North Shore and in Ozaukee and Washington counties! Be a part of the action. Sign up for an August date:

We also have scheduled some dates in September.

You also don't want to miss our "Funraiser," Are you ready for Political Jeopardy? on Sunday, August 4. The event will include a night of political jeopardy games plus a silent auction of themed baskets, artwork, and crafts. Have fun while helping Grassroots North Shore Keep the Lights On! The event doors open at 3:30 at North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood). As usual we will serve light refreshments. So RSVP already!

And we're hosting Democratic Debate Watch Parties on Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31, in several locations on the North Shore. It's more fun to watch with fellow like-minded people, so plan to come to these events. For more information, look on our website and our Facebook page.

Finally, Ginny Gennis explains how health insurance in America (dis)functions. You can read the first part of her essay here. You'll find the whole thing on our blog.

Health Insurance in the USA: A Cheeky Explanation
by Virginia Gennis, M.D.

Surprise! your monthly health insurance premium just increased 600% You call your friendly health insurance company and receive the consoling explanation: "It's Market Forces."

Market Forces are capitalism at its best. The relationship of supply and demand, free of government meddling, will fix all economic problems. For instance when you go to buy a car, you can choose a Lexus, a Corolla, or if necessary a used Yugo. If many people want one model but there aren't many of them, the price goes up appropriately. The system works.

But obtaining health isn't like buying a car. Is there a real choice between good health, fair health and poor health? Good health generally means good medical care. Only one kind of medical care is available, and it is expensive. There are no healthcare Dollar Stores or cut rate Heart Surgery Outlets. Going back to the automobile analogy, you need transportation and the only car in the lot is a Lexus.

Good health isn't even a product you can buy. It's a probability. Good medical care just improves the odds. The market in its wisdom has devised insurance to deal such uncertainty. Insurance works because lots of low risk people pay in but few people take money out. The difference is profit for the company. It's like auto insurance. The many people who will never be hit by a truck contribute to a pool that pays your claim when your car gets totaled by a semi.

The chances of needing healthcare is too high for insurance to work. Even the young get into nasty accidents. When you get older and sicker your risk of coming down with a costly condition rises inexorably. Of course, if you already have a chronic disease, your chance of having a medical problem is 100% and the insurance model hits the skids. The profit pool is fed by a trickle of premiums but drained by a river of claims. You can't insure a car that has no brakes.

Read the rest of the essay.

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Now is the right time... get going on the elections for 2020.

The second round of debates are coming up. Once again, there will be 20 candidates distributed between the two nights. We won't know until a few days from now who will be on which night but we'll put that information on our events pages once we get the information. Be aware that this month the debates will begin at 7pm CDT!

And once again Grassroots North Shore is hosting several Debate Watch Parties. You can find out all the details of each on on our website's GRNS Events page. Right now, we have 5 watch parties scheduled: on July 30 and July 31 at Ferrante's Restaurant in Mequon; on July 30 and July 31 at Art Bar in Milwaukee; and on July 31 at Martha Pincus' house in Fox Point. We currently looking for someone to host a watch party in Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Glendale, and/or Brown Deer on July 30. (Actually we could use a couple more on the North Shore. So if you would like to volunteer to host one on July 30, or even on July 31, please get in touch with Dean Schultz or Norma Gilson).

Although the level of political activity in the Milwaukee region is on the light side right now, some important work is going on at Grassroots North Shore. As Nate Cohn explains in a must-read NY Times piece on July 15, a larger-than-normal turnout for the 2020 elections does not necessarily confer an advantage on the Democrat's nominee. With our work cut out for us, Grassroots North Shore is trying to learn about infrequent voters in our area. Cohn's piece underlines just how important knowing who are potential voters are! To that end, we are mounting a series of what are known as "deep canvasses," a proven technique for understanding the issues infrequent voters care about and figuring out who we need to motivate to turn out for the election. You can and should sign up to do this vital work. We have canvasses set up on Sunday, July 21; Wednesday, August 7; Sunday, August 11; Wednesday, August 21; Sunday, August 25; Wednesday, September 11; Saturday, September 14; Wednesday, September 25; and Saturday, September 28. You can find all the dates and details for each date on our GRNS Actions --> deep canvassing page. If we want a win in Wisconsin, this is the work we must do. So please become a deep canvasser!

Finally, for those of you who missed the talk on healthcare proposals given by Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action in Wisconsin, Shirley Horowitz has kindly provided a succinct summary. (You can also see it on our website.)

What Health Care Plans are Proposed? Who Supports What? How does Medicare for All Differ from Medicare for America?

Despite health care being a winning issue for Democrats in 2018, people are more uncertain than ever about what is being proposed and how it will affect them. Instead of discussing how to improve the ACA, candidates are talking about Medicare for All and its variations. Many people assume that the ACA is no longer a factor. On May 16th the House passed legislation strengthening the ACA and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. However, because the Senate has declined to take up the bill, the conversation appears to have moved on.

On Sunday, June 23rd, Dr. Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin filled us in on the new debate, new legislation and its supporters, and which candidates might support various health care reform alternatives. Daniel Folkman (you can find him on YouTube and at Video Hub) recorded the presentation. He also recorded short videos of individuals’ health care (or lack of) stories. (We appreciate his help in making this more widely available).

Robert described the differences between Medicare for All, as introduced by Bernie Sanders, and Medicare for America. The major distinction between them is budgetary and financial, regarding who should pay how much, rather than major differences in coverage. Medicare for America has budgetary provisions that would pay for the legislation, while Medicare for All does not. Medicare for America offers full coverage with a robust public option but allowances for keeping private insurance, and financial support. Dr. Kraig noted that Beto O’Rourke supports Medicare for America. From recent statements, Kamala Harris also seems to support it. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders support Medicare for All. Biden supports what appears to be an upgraded ACA similar to Medicare for America. It is not clear yet whether there are other candidates who support Medicare for All but who would not support Medicare for America.

People with whom I discussed health care while canvassing tended to support fixes to the ACA, particularly in the area of drug coverage and subsidy categories. That was a topic used to our advantage in the 2018 elections. It remains to be seen whether the newer proposals will garner support or just increase the already high level of anxiety among voters.

The conversation within the Democratic candidate community and those who go out to work for them needs to shift to figure out how to fix the system without pushing our supporters to either fight or run. Good explanations of the alternatives followed by a poll would go a long way to help us finalize a position.

To view this talk (and there is a lot of information here), watch the video of the event plus health care stories by Mark Foreman, Eilene Stevens, and Pastor Ellen Rasmussen.

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The Livin' is Easy?

Lately, there have been several national news and opinion items that speculate about a Trump win in 2020! Some recent examples will give you the gist:

  • Steve Rattner in the NY Times (May 27, 2019): "The economy invariably ranks among the top issues on the minds of voters in presidential elections. At the moment, it appears to offer President Trump a meaningful tailwind.

    "But how big is that tailwind? Fortunately, economists have worked hard to develop models for predicting election outcomes, and according to one of the best of these, it should be quite large."

  • Allan Lichtman in The Hill (May 30, 2019): "An American University professor who has correctly predicted the last nine presidential elections says President Trump will win the 2020 election unless congressional Democrats, “grow a spine,” CNN reported.

    "Allan Lichtman, a political historian, said Democrats only have a shot at the White House if they begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, calling the decision both “constitutionally” and “politically” right in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election."

  • Robert P. Jones in the Atlantic (June 25, 2019): "Yes, it is possible Trump gets reelected. While Democrats have the long-term demographic winds at their back, Republicans have a time machine: a consistent skew in ethnic and religious voter-turnout patterns that, in national elections, has the effect of turning back the demographic clock eight or more years."

  • Aaron Blake in the Washington Post (July 8, 2019): "The poll shows Trump’s approval rating hitting a new high for his presidency, at 47 percent among registered voters. Just as importantly, while it shows him trailing Joe Biden by 10 points in a potential 2020 matchup, he’s neck-and-neck with every other Democrat tested."

Whether you think the economic arguments, the political arguments, or the demographic arguments are the strongest, there's one thing I think we can agree on: we don't want that outcome! So the real question is what are YOU, personally, prepared to do. Right now as well as in the months to come. Grassrooots North Shore will not be idle but we need your participation to accomplish our ambitious goals. Between now and election day (November 3, 2020), we are trying to talk to (or rather listen to) people we believe would vote for our candidate IF they come out to vote. We are targeting people who voted in 2012 but not in 2016 or 2018 plus newly eligible voters in our North Shore communities. We plan to undertake multiple contacts with these people — in person, by phone, by postcard, and by text messages — using the proven techniques of what's known as "deep canvassing."

Please sign up for a training and begin this effort now, while the weather is favorable! You will find all the dates for our first round of efforts on our website, and at each date you will see a brief explanation of what deep canvassing entails and how we are setting canvassers up to succeed.

On the gerrymandering front, it's easy to feel discouraged by the US Supreme Court ruling on June 30, 2019. But do not despair. Even though Wisconsin has no provision for citizen initiatives to amend the state constitution, stand-alone bills have been introduced in the legislature (AB 303 in the Assembly and SB 288 in the Senate). There will be an official rollout of the bills on June 16 with a press conference at 11 am in the in the Assembly Parlor in the WI State Capitol. Sen. Hansen, Rep. Vining, Jay Heck, Matt Rothschild, Erin Grunze, and Sachin Chheda will be speaking at the press conference. It would be great if members of Grassroots North Shore could attend, but you should watch for coverage of the event in the local press in any case. The really great news out of this announcement will be that at least 2 Republicans have co-authored the bills and a third Republican has publicly announced that he will vote for it.

In other good news for those opposed to gerrymandering, 42 of the 72 county boards have passed resolutions calling for the legislature to implement non-partisan redistricting by 2021! Obviously, both Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning counties have taken this stance. And a recent Marquette Law School poll found that 73% of Wisconsin voters, both Democrats and Republicans, want redistricting to be nonpartisan and fair!

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for some important events coming at the end of July and the beginning of August. There will be two nights of Democratic candidate debates on Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31. We again will host Debate Watch Parties at various locations. I'll bring you all the details when those are finalized. But right now we know that there will be watch parties both nights at the Art Bar (733 E Burleigh St., Milwaukee) and Ferrante's Restaurant (10404 N Port Washington Rd, Mequon). On Wednesday, July 31, there will be a debate watch party at Martha Pincus' house (7045 N Belmont Ln, Fox Point). More details are on our website and Facebook event page.

You should also save the date — Sunday, August 4 from 3:30 - 6 pm — for a fun time playing Political Jeopardy. We would appreciate it if you would RSVP for this one. As we usually do, we will be serving finger food to everyone. And we need to let our volunteers know how much to make!


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Happy Birthday, USA!

Thank goodness Wisconsin is so far away from D.C. Few from the Badger state will end up caught in the madness and chaos of tRump's "Salute to America." Here it is, July 2, and the plans for this grandiose "tribute" to the idiot-in-chief are not even finalized yet. The latest? He wants tanks on the Mall but the Arlington Memorial Bridge my not be able to hold the 60+ ton behemoths (Trump Says Tanks Will Be on Display in Washington for July 4, July 1, 2019)!

In more sobering news, Paul Waldman writes in the Washington Post that the "efforts to rig the census may already be working." The gist of his reasoning: "Unfortunately, even if they can’t manage to get a citizenship question added to the census, they may have already achieved their goal of frightening immigrants from participating to enhance the political power of white people and the GOP."

You may feel that there isn't much any one person can do about the awful policies the current administration has pursued in our names, but here are three activities that might help keep the doldrums, the sadness, and the depression at bay:

  1. Elect a better president! Grassroots North Shore is already starting its efforts to engage voters for the upcoming elections in 2020. We're doing what's called "deep canvassing" with a focus on people who are likely to vote for Democratic candidates but who vote infrequently. We don't have a candidate for president yet, but there are a host of pressing issues we want to hear from voters about. Deep canvassing is a way to hear what infrequent voters think about the importance of key issues to their own lives. It's a way to engage people in real conversations rather than trying to persuade them to vote for a specific candidate or slate of candidates. We're setting up teams who will figure out for themselves when they want to try to meet with the voters on their list. We'd love to tell you more about what being a deep canvasser entails! Please sign up for one of our sessions on our "deep canvassing" calendar.

  2. Show that you care about what's happening at the southern border! On Friday, July 12, Lights for Liberty is holding a "Vigil to End Human Detention Camps." The event is nationwide and will "bring thousands of Americans to detention camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees. Outraged people from around the country will shine a light on the horrific abuses of the Trump administration in human detention camps." You can learn more about the sponsoring group at their website. You don't have to travel far to participate. A vigil will take place at the Wauwatosa City Hall (7725 W North Ave, Wauwatosa). See more info on Facebook.

  3. Show your support for the presidential candidate(s) of your choice! I'm sure they would all appreciate a little money. Many are accepting donations as small as $1, just to demonstrate that they have grassroots support. Of course you will then get a zillion fund-raising emails, if you aren't already. Just delete them! Or unsubscribe to their list. Be a part of the solution we coalesce around!

On a final note, think about attending one of the Debate Watch Parties that will take place throughout the region for the next Democratic presidential debates on July 30 and 31. Grassroots North Shore will again be sponsoring a number of them. I'll provide the specifics when all the details have been worked out and we are closer to the July 30 and 31 dates. The criteria for each candidate for the July debate remain the same as they were for June but the debates will still be limited to 10 candidates each night. If more than 20 candidates qualify, the DNC will use a tie-breaking strategy to eliminate some candidates. So the group is likely to be somewhat different for the 2nd round.

The 3rd debate has substantially different criteria. Candidates must raise funds from at least 130,000 unique donors with at least 400 donors per state in at least 20 states. In addition, candidates must reach 2% support in at least 4 polls (the polls may be national, or in one or more of the 4 earliest primary/caucus states, and must be sponsored by an approved organization). The debate date will take place in Detroit on September 12, with a potential second night on September 13.

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No rest for the weary!

A final reminder about our program on "The Future of Healthcare in America." Dr. Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, will explain the way the various healthcare plans currently circulating are likely to change our current system. As you sort out the huge field of Democratic hopefuls for the presidential nomination, the information Dr. Kraig offers will no doubt help you see the choices more clearly.

So join us at the Brown Deer Methodist Church (5736 W Brown Deer Rd) on Sunday, June 23, for this important program. There's plenty of parking behind the church. The doors will open at 2:30, with the program beginning at 3. We will serve light refreshments, so please RSVP.

And while we're on important Grassroots North Shore events, don't forget to come to one of the Debate Watch Parties we're sponsoring on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27. Ten candidates will take the stage each night. And it's important to see them all! You can watch with fellow Dems and progressives at Bar Louie (5750 Bay Shore Dr.) on Wednesday and Thursday. Or you can go to the Art Bar (722 E Burleigh St) on Wednesday and Thursday. Or mix and match! (You can also see info about these events on Facebook.) We'll have snacks (while they last) with a game and prizes!

Here's the line-up for Wednesday:

  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • former HUD director Julian Castro
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Rep. John Delaney (D-MD)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

And here's the list for Thursday:

  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  • former Vice President Joe Biden
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-NY)
  • tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang
  • self-help author Marianne Williamson

And last but not least, a few words from the great folks at Indivisible (where everyone should take the pledge to support the Democratic nominee, no matter who it turns out to be!):

It's time to #DefundHate

Just as we get more horrific news about immigrant deaths while in custody... and children being left on buses waiting to be reunited with their families... and hundreds of folks being squeezed in a tiny room (the list goes on and on), Trump and his Republican enablers want to increase funding for their deportation force.

Fortunately, the Constitution gives Congress — not the President — the sole power to appropriate money. And we're not going to stand for it.

Right now, we need your advocacy more than ever. It's time to step up the pressure and demand that Congress #DefundHate and cut funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through the appropriations process (which is how Congress decides how much funding federal agencies get).

We need Democrats to hold strong and stand firm against any attempts to increase funding for ICE and CBP. Here are two things you can do right now to get up-to-speed and make a difference in this fight:

  1. Read up on what's at stake in this fight with our campaign resource.

  2. Use our call script and demand that your member of Congress cut funding for ICE and CBP, and get rid of the slush fund that would allow ICE to continue terrorizing communities.

This fight is going to be a long and hard one. But your pressure could be the difference that preserves the wins that are in this bill.

Let's do it.

In solidarity,
Indivisible Team

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The Debates are Coming!

The Debates are Coming! The Debates are Coming! Something like 24 people have declared that they are running for the Democratic Party nomination for president. Up to 20 of them will be participating in the first debates of the 2020 race on two nights: June 26 & 27. This event is vitally important to the future of the Democratic Party and potentially the future of the county. Grassroots North Shore is sponsoring two Debate Watch parties, one at Bar Louie (5750 Bayshore Dr, Glendale) and one at Art Bar (722 E Burleigh St, Milwaukee). We don't yet know who will participate on which night — candidates will be randomly assigned to a specific night — but in these early days it's important to hear from as many candidates as possible. And it is just as important to hear these candidates in the company of other progressives and members of the party so that the assembled group can discuss what they see and hear. You can find information about these events, including the times, on or website or a Facebook events page.

  • In Glendale, June 26 at Bar Louie on the Web and on Facebook. This event starts early (at 6:30 pm) to include the meeting of Drinking Liberally Glendale. The debate begins at 8 pm CDT.
  • In Glendale, June 27 at Bar Louie on the Web and on Facebook. The event begins at 7:30 pm; the debate begins at 8 pm.

  • In Milwaukee, June 26 at Art Bar on the Web and on Facebook. The event begins at 7:30 pm; the debate begins at 8 pm.
  • In Milwaukee, June 27 at Art Bar on the Web and on Facebook. The event begins at 7:30 pm; the debate begins at 8 pm.

Here are a few links to speeches by a second set of seven candidates. (See last week's newsletter for links to speeches by seven other candidates.)

Equally important is our program on the Future of Healthcare on Sunday, June 23, featuring Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Two years ago, Trump opined "NOBODY KNEW THAT HEALTH CARE COULD BE SO COMPLICATED." Well, a lot of people knew and yet few know that the US House of Representatives recently passed legislation to strengthen the ACA. Nor do they understand how that new legislation compares to Medicare for All proposals. Dr. Kraig will answer questions about the many health care proposals and options offered by presidential candidates. While you are there, Dan Folkman of Folkman Productions has graciously offered to record short health care-related stories (maximum of two-minutes per recording). You can sign up ahead of time by emailing Shirley Horowitz for more details. Results will be linked to our web site, and shared with Citizen Action of WI if you give permission.

And finally, a reminder about calling and writing legislators about the Medicaid expansion and Fair Maps. Before the legislature votes on the next biennal budget, we want to make sure our legislators hear us on these two vital issues. Grassroots North Shore is hosting a series of phoning and postcard-writing get-togethers at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Brown Deer). Please sign up and come by on the following days during the times listed. (You'll be out of there in a hour! Promise.)

Please sign up on our web page or our Facebook event. The doors will open at 2:30 with the program beginning at 3pm. We will be serving light refreshments, which is why we'd like to know how many people plan to attend.

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Here We Go!

There's no time or space to kvetch this week. We have too much to do! So the intro this week, and probably for the next couple, will focus on your engagement with Grassroots North Shore actions and events.

Lobbying legislators

This month we're sponsoring events to call legislators to urge them to support the Medicaid Expansion and write them postcards supporting non-partisan redistricting (Fair Maps). You can drop in the office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116) anytime during the hours listed. It will take you an hour or less to make the calls and fill out the postcards! Please RSVP, though, so we know who to expect.

The Future of Healthcare

The future of the healthcare system in the US, at least according to pundits, was a major issue in the 2018 elections and gave Democrats across the country their strongest winning issue. Fear of losing healthcare and especially the protections built into the ACA (also known as Obamacare) turn out to be a significant motivators for voting. The Democrats running to be the party's nominee for president next year have proposed a variety of plans, the details of which can be overwhelming. To sort it all out for us, and to answer questions about what the US House and Senate are currently doing about the cost and accessibility of healthcare and health insurance, Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, will explain what's going on and what the various Medicare-for-All, Medicare-for-Some, and Medicare as a public option might mean. The event will take place at the Brown Deer United Methodist Church, 5736 W Brown Deer Rd, on Sunday, June 23. Doors open at 2:30 with the program at 3:00pm. The wonderful volunteers at GRNS will serve light refreshments so please RSVP either on our website on our Facebook page.

Debate Watch Parties

The first debates for the Democratic nomination for president will be held on two consecutive nights: Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27. Grassroots North Shore has so far arranged for two watch parties, at Bar Louie in the Bayshore Mall (5750 N Bayshore Dr, Glendale) and the Art Bar (722 E Burleigh St, Milwaukee) in Milwaukee. There may be additional venues so watch this space!

In any case, make sure you put these dates on your calendar! The debates will begin at 8pm CDT. As you may know, the rules for being included in this first debate include either polling above 1% in 3 national polls OR getting donations from a minimum of 65,000 people spread out in many states across the country OR BOTH. Each declared candidate who qualifies will be randomly assigned a slot on one night or the other. In other words, the distribution of contenders across the two nights will NOT separate high polling candidates from lower polling ones. Right now it behooves us to hear from all of them (though there are many, many of them!). And it also behooves us to spend the evening together: both to warm ourselves in the presence of other engaged Democrats and progressives and to be the most informed that we can be at this stage.

If you want to see some of the candidates at other forums and rallies, here (in no particular order) are a few links you can follow to watch these past events online:

I'll cover other candidates the same way in the next few newsletters.

New Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

At the DPW convention over the last weekend, we elected new leadership. We want to send many thanks to Martha Laning for four terrific years of her leadership and extend our congratulations to the incoming team: Chair Ben Wikler, First Vice Chair Felesia Martin and Second Vice Chair Lee Snodgrass. Grassroots North Shore looks forward to continuing help the party recruit and elect progressives to every statewide office in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee and in Ozaukee County.

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Gerrymandering & healthcare are huge issues

There's big news on the gerrymandering/fair elections front: Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Robyn Vining will introduce a nonpartisan redistricting bill, LRB 2062/1, and hold a press conference on Tuesday, June 4, in the Assembly Parlor at 11:30am. If you are going to be in the Madison area, please make time to show your support by attending that event.

And if you're going to be in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday, June 4, drop by our office at 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116, between 3pm and 6pm to send a postcard to your own Senator and Assembly representative to urge them to support Fair Maps and the bill that will mandate a nonpartisan process modeled on Iowa's successful plan. We'll look up all the info you need and supply the postcards and stamps. Go to our RSVP or Facebook event pages for more information.

If you bring a cell phone, you can also call their offices and lobby them to support the Medicaid (BadgerCare) expansion. Not only would 82,000 more people in Wisconsin have healthcare coverage, but the state budget would be enhanced by millions of dollars that could be spent on education, infrastructure, environmental protection — you name it. Medicaid expansion is a win-win for our state. We want our Senators and Representatives to back it. You can let us know you're coming on our RSVP or Facebook event pages. Hope to see you there.

In other news on Fair Elections, federal courts in Michigan and Ohio have ruled extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, as have courts in Wisconsin (in 2017), North Carolina, and Maryland. Both the court in MI and the one in OH ruled that electoral maps must be redrawn before the 2020 elections! As expected, however, the Supreme Court, stayed those orders until the pending cases from NC and MD are decided by the end of June this year. Our own Whitford case, now enhanced with additional plaintifs to address the issue of standing that the Supreme Court used to send the case back to the trial court, will be heard in July.

Meanwhile, as late night host Stephen Colbert often says, Ariel Procaccia has a not-to-be-missed article in the La Crosse Tribune today on the role of statistical analysis in adjudicating extreme partisan gerrymanders. According to this account, math can be used to find problematic cases: "At the heart of [this] approach is the idea of testing whether the map in question is abnormal when compared against random maps that only account for legal and geographical constraints, and are generated in a way that's oblivious to partisan machinations." Although he offers no concrete evidence in support of his claim, Procaccia argues that the Court is more receptive to the so-called outlier-detection method than it appeared to be to the efficiency-gap method the Whitford case in part relied on. The piece is called To beat gerrymandering, do the math. It's worth the read.

This issue is very much in the national news lately (despite all the attention the press pays to His Idiot's tweets and other nonsense pronouncements). In The Hill, Lon Johnson reports that "only 2 percent of Americans say American elections work all of the time. It also found that fighting gerrymandering and corruption has bipartisan support, with 82 percent of Americans saying they are concerned with the corruption of the system, and believe gerrymandering is undemocratic and should be illegal." New Hampshire's Senate has just passed a bill to create a commission to redraw its legislative maps. And according to NBC news, half of the states have considered what's known as "prison gerrymandering" in the last few years. Six states have now passed laws "to require that prisoners be counted at their pre-incarceration addresses — instead of where they're serving time...." The change matters because "[w]hile a significant number of correctional facilities are located in comparatively rural areas that are largely Republican and predominantly white, prisoners tend to hail from urban, often Democratic communities...." We have the moral high ground on this issue. Help Grassroots North Shore, the Fair Maps Coalition, and fair-minded people everywhere win this campaign, all over the nation and right here in Wisconsin!

And finally, a heads-up on another issue Grassroots North Shore has singled out for attention as we head into the Democratic primary season: reforming healthcare, again. Confused by all the different healthcare proposals the Democratic Party's candidates for president are supporting? Then don't miss Robert Kraig's discussion, The Future of Healthcare in the US. He will explain what's at stake and what the various proposals set out to do. This will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of a healthcare expert! Grassroots North Shore is hosting the event on Sunday, June 23, at the Brown Deer United Methodist Church (5736 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee). Doors will open at 2:30pm and the program will begin at 3:00pm (with lots of easy parking behind the church). As usual, we are asking that people RSVP on our website or our Facebook event page so we will have enough goodies for everyone.

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good and bad news

It is the best of times and the worst of times, maybe. In a national poll released by Quinnipiac on May 21, Trump's approval-disapproval numbers were 38% approve and a whopping 57% disapprove. Voters apparently are not impressed with his handling of foreign affairs or trade. Meanwhile, "54 percent of American voters say they 'definitely' will not vote for him, compared to 52 percent in an April 30 Quinnipiac University National Poll. Today, 31 percent say they 'definitely' will vote for Trump and 12 percent say they will 'consider voting for him.' ... Definitely not voting for Trump are 10 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independent voters." Our job is to make sure we turn out everyone who claims they will definitely not vote for our Liar in Chief! And that's the good news.

The bad is more diffuse. It's good that at least some documents from the intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election will be supplied to the House Judiciary Committee, but we're a long way from doing whatever needs to be done to protect our elections from intrusion and manipulation. And the testimony of Bob Mueller, Don McGahn, and others remains uncertain and unscheduled, either in the House Judiciary Committee or the Intelligence Committee. The whole national scene — including the performance of HUD Secretary Ben Carson yesterday, the ongoing tragedies at our southern border, the policies of our Secretary of Education, and the drum beat for war in Iran — depresses me. The nightmare we are living through never lets up, never ends.

Here in Wisconsin, there is apparently no progress in negotiations between the GOP dominated legislature and Democratic Governor Tony Evers. At stake — school funding, the future of voucher schools, Medicaid expansion, nonpartisan redistricting, and the ever contentious but ever needy infrastructure enhancement. What we have learned, of course, is that it's not enough to vote, to win elections. We need to keep up the pressure, especially on the legislature, to compromise, at the very least. Voting for the federal dollars that come with the Medicaid expansion — never mind providing affordable health coverage for 82,000 of our neighbors — would be the right thing to do. If we call, write, and demonstrate in large enough numbers, wobbly Republicans might get the message. So do your part and call or write you legislators TODAY. You can find contact info for your Senator and Assembly Representative here:

Our local Democratic organizer, Davette Baker, has two announcements to pass along:

We are going to be having a DPW Grassroots Call with Special Guest, Representative Jimmy Anderson on Tuesday, May 28th at 6:00 pm to strategize about actions surrounding Medicaid Expansion over the summer. Please dial-in using your phone: 605-562-0400 Access code: 428 0380#.

Our hope is to show the grassroots support for Medicaid Expansion in key legislative districts where Republicans may feel pressured to vote our way. We need all the help we can get to make sure our Representatives hear our voices. We will be having a Weekend of Action on June 29th - 30th to knock on doors, make phone calls, write letters to the editor & more. Please stay tuned for events forthcoming next week.

Grassroots North Shore will be holding at least one phone bank to call our supporters and urge them to call Senator Darling, and Representatives Knodl and Ott. We'll get that organized as soon as we can and will send out an action alert to call for volunteers. Stay tuned.

Finally, make sure you save the date for an educational program on the healthcare proposals national candidates are providing. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, will discuss The Future of Healthcare in the US. This will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of a healthcare expert! Grassroots North Shore is hosting the event on Sunday, June 23, at the Brown Deer United Methodist Church (5736 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee). Doors will open at 2:30pm and the program will begin at 3:00pm. As usual, we are asking that people RSVP on our website or our Facebook event page so we will have enough goodies for everyone.


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