It's hard to know where to focus right now. This new year promises so much — and awakens so much anxiety: will 2020 add to the progressive success of 2018, or will it revert to the horror show that was the 2016 election and its aftermath? We simply don't know. Impeachment, Iran and the Middle East chaos IMPOTUS has unleashed, an exciting but also worrisome presidential nominating contest among Democrats (not to mention climate crises, income and wealth inequality, racism and anti-semitic violence, and a myriad of other vital concerns) — these are only some of the most prominent imponderables: what a former defense secretary would call the known unknowns. And of course there are also the unknown unknowns to worry about.
So there's plenty to keep us all tossing and turning at night. What's the cure for all this angst? Working to make our world a better place! And Grassroots North Shore is doing its part to set up opportunities for you. To begin, we have a Debate Watch Party for the January 14 Democratic debate at Martha Pincus's house. Get yourself up to speed on what our top five candidates are saying, and share your thoughts with fellow North Shore progressives. (For more information and to sign up, see our website.) Wisconsin's turn to weigh in (on April 7) will be here before you know it!
Plus, February will bring THREE more debates: on February 7, February 19, and February 25. We'll have specific information about Debate Watch Parties for each of them in future newsletters.
Our next election, on February 18, is a primary for nonpartisan offices, like mayors, county executives, and other local officials. Because the weather in this area tends to be frightful this time of year, we're asking people to write postcards to prospective voters instead of canvassing in the cold. So one thing you could do is give us an hour or two of your time to help out. We'll supply everything you need — cards, names and addresses, stamps, and sample scripts. And we have a number of days and times in January set up for Postcard Parties. We'll be adding more in February. So sign up:
Monday, Jan 13, from 1-3 pm at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
Wednesday, Jan 15, from 1-3 pm at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
Tuesday, Jan 21, from 9:30-11 am at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
Thursday, Jan 23, from 5-7 pm at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
Monday, Jan 27, from 5-7 pm at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
- Wednesday, Jan 29, from 1-3 pm at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116)
And as is our wont, Grassroots North Shore is holding its Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 26, at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4044 N. Bartlett Ave., Shorewood). This year the meeting is doubly important: GRNS members will elect their leadership for the coming year AND we will hear from the two progressive candidates, Ed Fallone and Jill Karofsky, vying for a spot on the ballot for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. We've asked the candidates to respond to a questionnaire and have put their answers online. You'll find Fallone's and Karofsky's responses useful as you decide how you're going to vote in the February 18 primary. But you should also hear them in person at our annual gathering. As usual, volunteers at Grassroots North Shore will supply lots of yummy food. So RSVP to let them know you're coming.
Finally, if you live in Milwaukee County, you will probably be aware that there is an electoral contest for Milwaukee County Executive on the February 18 ballot. Grassroots North Shore will not be holding its own forum with all the candidates this winter. Instead, we are urging you to attend one of the many others in the area. In the events listing below, you will find two. One, put on by the League of Progressive Seniors, is on Friday, January 10, at the Mitchell Street Public Library (906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee) from 11:30 am - 1 pm. Please let Jackie Boynton know if you plan to attend. The second, staged by our sister organization Grassroots South Shore, is on Wednesday, January 15, from 6-8:30 pm at Hawthorne Coffee Roasters (4177 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee).
What with the Democratic National Convention here in July and a consequential election in November 2020 is shaping up to be a wild and a wildly busy year. So Happy New Year! Make fomenting change one of your New Year's Resolutions — and let's get to work!Read more
As you probably know, Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy ruled that the Wisconsin Election Commission must purge about 234,000 registered voters from the rolls before the 2020 presidential election and he refused the Commission's request that he issue a temporary injunction to stay the ruling while the case is being appealed. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had the story on Friday. The item was then picked up nationally by the New York Times and the Washington Post on Saturday. In a follow up story on Dec. 16, the Post quotes Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler: "This is an organizing challenge, not a crisis" and it "just adds to our to-do list. It’s a reason to work, not to freak out." The story notes that "the party plans to use the state’s open records law to obtain the names of everyone who would be purged" and "contact those most likely to be Democrats so they can re-register" (Wisconsin Democrats vow to register voters who may be purged).
The December 14 story in the Washington Post noted that "Some of the highest percentages of voters whose registrations were on the line were in Milwaukee, Madison and areas with college campuses, where residents tend to vote Democratic, an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found. More than half of the Elections Commission’s letters went to municipalities where Democrat Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump in 2016, the newspaper reported" (A judge ordered up to 234,000 people to be tossed from the registered voter list in a swing state).
The challenge Wikler identifies will be part of Grassroots North Shore's efforts to reach voters ahead of all four elections in 2020: February 18, April 7, August 11, and November 3. We're starting with Postcard Parties at our office on Monday January 13 from 1-3pm; Wednesday January 15 from 1-3pm; Tuesday January 21 from 9:30-11:30am; Thursday January 23 from 5-7pm; Monday January 27 from 5-7pm; and Wednesday January 29 from 5-7pm. Considering how important the upcoming elections are, GRNS leadership certainly hopes to see a robust response to these first opportunities to engage in vital election work! So please sign up for one or more of these efforts to reach out to potential voters.
And as if there weren't already enough news to cause everyone agita, there's also the impending House vote on impeachment. Across the country there will be Tuesday evening rallies in support of the effort to remove our current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in D.C. The rally in Milwaukee will be at the Federal Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee — where Senator Ron Johnson has his office. The organizers are looking for a few volunteers: 1) to act as marshals and keep the peace in the event MAGAs come to start trouble, and 2) some people who might like to lead chants. To volunteer, email Joseph K.You can RSVP and find more information about the event. Grassroots North Shore encourages your participation.
Two upcoming events you should know about: In January, Grassroots North Shore is planning a candidate forum with those who have declared for the office of MKE County Executive. The forum will take place at North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood) either on Wednesday, January 22, or Wednesday, January 29 with the time TBA. Future newsletters will have complete information. And on Sunday, Jan 26, we're holding our Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner. This year, we will feature presentations by Attorney Ed Fallone and Judge Jill Karofsky, two of the candidates running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This event will also be held at North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood) from 5-7pm (doors open at 4:30, free food starting at 5:15).
A note of caution about the events list. There are events listed for Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Please check with the event and/or the venue to make sure they're really happening!
And I hope everyone has a Happy or Merry Holiday season, whatever occasions you observe. I'm taking the next two weeks for a trip to see family. So no GRNS newsletter on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. The regular schedule will resume in 2020.Read more
What a start to the week: on Monday we saw the last impeachment inquiry hearing and the Department of Justice Inspector General's report concluding that the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election was properly and legally founded on appropriate suspicions. And then this morning, two Articles of Impeachment — Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress — were announced by the House leadership and the chairs of the six committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry. Meanwhile on Sunday, our Cheeto-in-Chief tweeted or retweeted others 102 times! To be sure 75% of them were others' tweets. So he didn't have to write a thing. But even if each took only one minute to process, it's clear that he spent a considerable amount of time on this activity. Maybe a sign that he's stressed and angry?
To top off the news-filled week that has barely begun, the Washington Post has published the Afganistan Papers — or what might be called the Pentagon Papers, part two. It's a six-part series detailing the lies three successive administrations have told about the war in Afganistan. Based on 2000 pages of interview records obtained after three years of litigation, the investigation apparently began in 2016 with a tip about Michael Flynn.
Here at home, Grassroots North Shore's Annual Fundraiser featured a fascinating talk by nationally renowned Democratic pollster and strategist Celinda Lake. She had sobering information for us — which will be shared through a video recording and her Powerpoint presentation slides soon. (If you couldn't attend but still want to support our financial needs, you can make a contribution at Act Blue.) The upshot of her talk is that we have our work cut out for us as we head into the coming election year. Our plans are still fluid, but we already know that because Milwaukee weather is so treacherous in January, we will be conducting our campaigning for the February 18 nonpartisan primary through a postcard-writing blitz. We've set up six dates and times for gatherings to write and mail these cards:
Monday, Jan 13, 1 - 3pm
Wednesday, Jan 15, 1 - 3pm
Tuesday, Jan 21, 1 - 3pm
Thursday, Jan 23, 5 - 7pm
Monday, Jan 27, 5 - 7pm
Wednesday, Jan 29, 5 - 7pm
We'll supply the postcards, stamps, names and addresses, and sample scripts for you to use. All you have to do is Sign Up and come!
Finally, a Save-the-Date announcement: our annual meeting will be held on Sunday, January 26, at the North Shore Presbyterian Church. Full details coming soon. So mark your calendars now.Read more
So the Packers are in first place in the NFC North division heading down the stretch.The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denies Trump and the Justice Department's request for a stay of the District Court opinion saying that Deutsche Bank and Bank One must give Congress 10 years of financial documents from Trump, his three oldest children, and his businesses. A Federal District Judge denies former White House Counsel Don McGahn's stay of his testimony to Congress. The House Intelligence Committee will release its report on the Ukraine scandal both to the public and to the House Judiciary Committee later today. Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee will begin its impeachment hearings tomorrow with four academic lawyers opining on impeachable offenses. And it's still morning!
But the Best New Thing in the World Today, to borrow a trope from Rachel Maddow, is the Washington Post's Illustrated Mueller Report. It has a few formatting issues, at least if viewed on an ancient iPad, but is well worth a visit — especially if you did not have the time to read the whole 450 page saga. Go have a look.
And the goodies keep coming. In case you have not already RSVP'd, make sure you don't miss Tipping Point Wisconsin: An Evening with Celinda Lake. Who is Celinda Lake? She's one of the nation's renowned political strategist and pollsters. She'll be here to give what's bound to be a fabulous and insightful talk on the 2020 elections. All eyes will be on Wisconsin much of the coming year. In fact, in the two weeks leading up to the April 7 Non-Partisan Election and Presidential Preference Primary, there are no other primaries in the nation. So Wisconsin will be flooded with Democratic presidential candidates for two whole weeks. You'll be able to hear from some or all of them at the Milwaukee County Democratic Party's Annual Gala dinner scheduled for March 26. (Seating will be limited to 1000 lucky ticket buyers. So snap one up as soon as they become available!)
As for the upcoming elections, Grassroots North Shore is organizing a postcard campaign and I hope a texting campaign to encourage people to vote in the spring primary on February 18, 2020. We're planning the postcard parties now. While we do not yet have specific times, the dates we have chosen are January 13, 15, 21, 23, 27, and 29. There will undoubtedly be dates in early February as well. More information will be coming in the next two weeks. So mark your calendars now and plan to attend one or more of these events next month.
Statewide, the primary will include the Wisconsin State Supreme Court seat. In Milwaukee, there will be a primary for Milwaukee County Executive and Milwaukee City Mayor, as well as a host of judicial races. We will have lots of election information on our site — early voting information for each North Shore community, information about voter registration and how to find out what's on your own ballot — as soon as we get all that data in.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and is looking forward to a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, or whatever holiday you celebrate during the darkest days of the year. I'm personally looking forward to the return of light next year when we will be extremely busy with elections, with selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and with the convention itself right here in Milwaukee in July 2020. Let's make our future brighter than our past!Read more
The latest Marquette Law School poll, conducted Nov. 13-17, has some discouraging news for us: "Even as hearings that could lead to President Donald Trump’s impeachment heat up, a new Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds consistent, if sometimes modest, shifts in public opinion away from support of impeachment and toward supporting Trump in next year’s presidential election." But it is worth pointing out that the first witnesses to testify in open hearings appeared on Nov. 13 and the last hearing, with Dr. Fiona Hill and David Holmes, occurred on Nov. 21. In other words, the poll was in the field even as the impeachment inquiry got under way: so not a good snapshot of the impact of the inquiry on Wisconsin voters.
But even if the results of the poll are accurate enough, the takeaway should be to work harder to win in Wisconsin next year. Right now there is not that much going on (see the short list of events for the next two weeks below). On Sunday December 8, however, Grassroots North Shore is having a special event that will take a clear-eyed look at our state's electoral prospects. Celinda Lake, founder and CEO of Lake Research, will talk to us about Tipping Point Wisconsin. Our state is likely to provide the Electoral College votes that determine who the president will be in 2021. A nationally renowned strategist and pollster, Ms. Lake brings insights both at the national level and for Wisconsin to bear on how we win this crucial election next year. So you'll not want to miss it. Please RSVP today and make a generous donation if you can.
New this year, we will be featuring a limited silent auction and craft show on the Church lower level. So come early to check it out and be sure to join us for the reception following the program. Cash or check is preferred.
Why does Grassroots North Shore hold a fundraiser each year? As one of the largest all-volunteer political organizations in the state, we need funds not to pay staff but to pay rent, maintain insurance, purchase office supplies, and run our internet operations (like this newsletter). We NEVER give money to candidates (though we do endorse once the general election candidates have been chosen). We work with others to run canvasses in our areas, to mount postcard campaigns, to host phone banks, to support house parties — in short all the activities that go into vigorous campaigning for progressive candidates. AND we provide educational and informative programs on crucial issues like climate change, gun safety, the state budget, gerrymandering, healthcare, and much more. We run a tight ship, on a budget of approximately $20,000 a year. And that's why we need your financial support as well as your help with various election tasks. In other words, we wouldn't ask if it weren't important! You can donate online or bring a check, credit card, or cash to the event.
It's a busy time of year. No doubt that's why the events list for the next two weeks is rather slim. But nomination papers for the spring 2020 elections should be out soon and are due in Madison on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. The primary will be held on Tuesday, February 18. The nonpartisan election and the presidential primary is scheduled for April 7. For nonpartisan elections, early voting usually takes place for the two weeks prior to the primary or the election, ending on the Friday before the election at 5pm. Most of the cities, villages, and non-incorporated areas hold early voting at the primary administrative site for that entity. As usual, our website will have specific information for each area. In the meantime, however, mark your calendars with the important dates: Tuesday, February 18, for the primary and Tuesday, April 7, for the nonpartisan election and the presidential primary.
In addition to other important municipal and judicial elections, the spring elections will determine the make-up of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And that election could not be more important for restoring balance, and dare I say sanity, to Wisconsin's politics. HUGE turnouts are our best weapons in both the February primary and the April election. Grassroots North Shore plans robust campaign activities ahead of those dates — more on the specifics as we move into January — and we hope you'll come work with us throughout the electoral season. At the very least, you need to plan to be informed about the candidates in your area and to make a plan to vote. You can vote by mail, you can vote early, or you can vote on election day itself. You can check your registration, ballot, and polling location at MyVote Wisconsin.
And here endeth the lesson!Read more
The impeachment hearings continue today and tomorrow. But there is little time to watch them. There's a lot going on that gets in the way. For one thing, there's the Democratic Candidate Debate on Wednesday, November 20. Grassroots North Shore is sponsoring three watch parties, two of which are still available and one of which is now full. The open ones are at Camp Bar, 4044 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood (RSVP here) and at Ferrante's Restaurant, 10404 N PortWashington Rd., Mequon (RSVP here).
And for our Ozaukee County residents, we are holding three Fair Maps postcard writing parties: on Thursday, November 21 from noon to 3pm; on Saturday, November 23 from noon to 3pm; and on Monday, November 25 from 5pm to 7pm. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 48 counties have passed resolutions supporting nonpartisan redistricting. Most of those counties generally prefer Republican candidates for state and national offices. Three counties surrounding Milwaukee County — including Ozaukee County — have yet to pass such a resolution. The postcards we are writing urge the county supervisors to join the majority of the other counties in Wisconsin in passing a resolution urging that the state legislature adopt a nonpartisan redistricting process. Please sign up to come in to our office to fill out these postcards to show county supervisors that their constituents care about this issue.
And then there is Thanksgiving. There will not be a newsletter next week so I want to remind our supporters to plan to attend our Tipping Point Wisconsin event on Sunday, December 8, at Plymouth Church (2717 E Hampshire St, Milwaukee) from 4pm to 6pm. The doors will open at 3:30pm. Our state is likely to "tip" the election one way or another. Celinda Lake, our speaker for the evening, is especially well informed about the politcal landscape. She is the president of a renowned national consulting and polling business, Lake Research Partners.
Tipping Point Wisconsin is our annual fundraising event. Although we are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization — we have NO paid staff and we DO NOT contribute funds to any candidate or cause, we do still have expenses: rent, insurance, supplies, and internet connections including our ability to stay in touch with our more than 2500 supporters. If you are able to make a contribution, even if you cannot attend our evening with Celinda Lake, please visit our Act Blue page. And please be generous. The work Grassroots North Shore has done in its 15 years of life has informed the communities we serve of vital issues and has helped increase the progressive share of the vote in the North Shore. In the coming year, we will be deeply involved in the four regular elections in our state. And we cannot do that crucial work without your support.Read more
Grassroots North Shore has two important events coming up that I want to make sure you know about. We're again hosting debate watch parties on Wednesday, November 20, in three locations:
- In Shorewood, people are gathering at Camp Bar, 4044 N Oakland Ave, from 7:30-10pm. Sign up.
- In Whitefish Bay, we are meeting at Eric Taylor's house, 6330 N Lake Dr, from 7:30-10pm. Sign up.
- In Ozaukee County, meet at Ferrante's Restaurant, 10404 N Port Washington Rd., from 7:30-10pm. Sign up.
And for this year's annual fundraising event, Celinda Lake, renowned Democratic strategist and pollster, will be our keynote speaker at our Tipping Point Wisconsin event on Sunday, December 8. We'll have more details about this event soon. But it's going to be a fascinating evening. Wisconsin may well determine the outcome of the November 3 elections! Mark your calendars now — you won't want to miss this event. And while I'm on the subject, I want to say a few words about why we raise funds — and why we don't. Grassroots North Shore, as you know, is an all-volunteer organization. So we don't pay any staff AND we don't contribute funds to any candidates! We use the funds we raise
- to pay the rent for our office and to equip it with printers, supplies and a few old computers;
- to keep you informed, through our events and our weekly newsletter;
- to support our internet habits!
A donation page is coming soon. Meanwhile, you can reserve your spot.
Wisconsin continues to find itself discussed on the NY Times website, and not in a good way. In an article published on Nov. 11 (New Normal in Key State for 2020 Race: Political Deadlock), Mitch Smith writes, "Acrimonious deadlocks have become the new normal in Wisconsin, one of three Midwestern states where Democrats ended full Republican control last year by flipping governorships. Gov. Tony Evers’s defeat of Scott Walker, whose success at pushing Wisconsin sharply to the right prompted a brief presidential bid, has given Democrats a new foothold this year in a region where they had been mostly sidelined. Yet with attention turning to the presidential election, in which Wisconsin voters are seen as playing a decisive role, divided power has given way to frustrated impasse, with little chance for either party to hold up state policymaking as the showcase it once was here."
In other words, we may be in for four years of deadlock with a GOP controlled legislature and a Democratic governor. The ONLY way to change this future is to defeat the gerrymander that holds Wisconsin hostage to a GOP legislature no matter how the state votes. In several state elections using the current maps, votes for Democratic candidates for the Assembly far outnumbered votes for GOP candidates. In the most recent election, Republicans earned about 45% of the statewide vote and still "won" almost 2/3 of the seats in the Assembly. Since 2011, the proportion of seats held by each party remained roughly the same. So any other issues you care about — climate change, healthcare, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, racism, and so on — are will remain unaddressed until our state representatives are once again responsive to the voters.
The good news is that 48 counties have already passed resolutions calling on the state to implement a nonpartisan process, modeled on Iowa's, to draw fair electoral maps after the next census in 2020. Together with seven other counties, Milwaukee County has agreed to put a resolution of the April 7 ballot so voters can weigh in. And the bills that have been introduced to address this issue are being co-sponsored by FIVE Republicans — four more than we've ever had before. Even conservatives in this state support nonpartisan redistricting! A Marquette poll last January put the outcome this way: "Seventy-two percent of voters say they prefer redistricting of legislative and congressional districts to be done by a nonpartisan commission, while 18 percent prefer redistricting be done by the legislature and governor. Majorities in each partisan group favor a nonpartisan commission for redistricting, with 63 percent of Republicans including leaners, 83 percent of Democrats including leaners, and 76 percent of independents favoring a nonpartisan commission.)
To learn more about what you can do to help end gerrymandering in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has a wonderful web page devoted to Five Things You Can Do. The efforts are national, state and local. Choose your own adventure!Read more
The first snow has come and gone. The second is on its way. The leftover Halloween candy has been banished from the house. And on Sunday, we had our extra hour of sleep. But the best part of the past week was the One Year to Win Weekend of Action on 11/2 and 11/3. Grassroots North Shore hosted a canvass from our office on Saturday and Shirley Horowitz hosted one from her house on Sunday. All across the state, activists were out knocking on doors and listening to voters' concerns. The statewide goal was to visit 50,000 houses. And according to Ben Wikler, "In fact, we knocked more Wisconsin doors this weekend then we did the entire year in 2015 or 2017! " The national polls show Democrats in great shape; the battleground states, including Wisconsin, not so much.
So, we cannot simply pat ourselves on the back and go back to sleep for the winter. In Wisconsin, we have FIVE elections in our 2020 future: February 18 (the nonpartisan primary election), April 7 (the nonpartisan election and presidential primary), May 12 (the special election to fill the 7th Congressional District seat), August 11 (the partisan primary), and finally November 3 (the partisan general election). The February 18 and April 7 elections will determine the make-up of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. We have a chance to achieve more balance by electing a progressive justice this year. If we do that AND if we elect another progressive justice in 2022, we can have a court that is less inclined to support whatever Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos did! So it's vital that we plan now for robust voter outreach and Get Out the Vote operations this winter and spring. Mark your calendars now and plan to give the election effort a few hours of your time.
Although our plans are not yet set, we realize that outdoor activities like canvassing can be difficult in our inclement winters. So we have to think of other ways to reach prospective voters. Even though we may not need you to bundle up and knock doors, we will need you to call, text, and write postcards and emails instead. We will also need to use Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, and any other social media platform our voters employ. And you can help with that effort too. Again, plan now to work hard in January, February, March and April. You don't have to do everything, but you do need to do something!
Another presidential primary debate is right around the corner ‐ on November 20. We have one debate watch party set up, at the home of Eric Taylor (6330 N. Lake Drive), in Whitefish Bay. Another is likely to be held in Mequon, at Ferrante's Restaurant. And we're working on a third in Shorewood. The Milwaukee County Dems are hosting one at Bounce Milwaukee (2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee). By next week's newsletter I'll have links to event pages for full information. But again, mark your calendars now. The November 20 debate is the fifth of 12 scheduled by the Democratic National Committee and will run from 8pm - 10pm CST. So far, nine candidates have qualified: Biden, Warren, Sanders, Harris, Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Booker, Yang, and Steyer. Candidates will have until midnight on November 13 to make the cutoff.Read more
So I'm late with the newsletter again. But I have a solid excuse. I've been busy preparing for the big One Year to Win Weekend of Action canvasses happening on Saturday, November 2, and Sunday, November 3. I hope you'll sign up to help. Why? We need to start engaging potential voters, to find out what's on their minds and to inform them about the FOUR critical elections coming up in 2020. On Saturday, November 2, we're canvassing out of our Brown Deer office, 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116. As we head into parts of Glendale, and perhaps parts of Brown Deer, we'll be handing out literature for Emily Siegrist, running for Assembly District 24, and Neal Plotkin, running for Senate District 8, as well as literature that helps people register to vote and to know what to bring with them to the polls in addition to the dates of the four upcoming elections. So sign up to help on Saturday, November 2, at 10am or Saturday, November 2, at 1pm. The weather is going to be on our side!
On Sunday, November 3, canvasses are leaving from Shirley Horowitz's house, 4845 Newhall St., Whitefish Bay. Canvassers will work in Whitefish Bay and the part of Glendale that lies east of I-94. Again, there are two shifts: 10am and 1pm. Please come spend a couple of hours engaging with voters. We're pretty sure you won't regret it when we win the all-important WI Supreme Court race and make inroads into GOP dominance of our state legislature. And of course when we put the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be, in the White House!
And on the impeachment front, we had a great event featuring Dr. Robert Kraig and Dr. Sheldon Wasserman, with a legal assist from Jeff Perzan, and excellent leadership of the debate from Kathleen Dunn, longtime host on Wisconsin Public Radio. Attendace at the debate was outstanding but a lot of Grassroots North Shore supporters could not be there. So we have a brief write-up from Shirley Horowitz and a video of the entire evening (produced by Dan Folkman and Charles Bensinger of the Wisconsin Video Hub).
This was the question on the minds of over 140 people at the North Shore Presbyterian Church on October 13th. The debate did not produce an easy answer, but instead raised difficult questions that reflect the complexity of the current predicament in which we find ourselves.
Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action Wisconsin, argued for impeachment. His premise was that the nature of our democracy would suffer irretrievable harm because Congress could no longer be considered co-equal with the Executive Branch. In addition, whatever President is or would be in power could manipulate and interfere with free elections, thus always ensuring a victory. He called for a “purer” motivation than a political one – labeling it a constitutional necessity.
On the other side of the argument, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Dr. Sheldon Wasserman made the case against impeaching the President. His reasons were admittedly political. Although he agreed that the President’s actions rose to the level required to impeach, he noted the dangers of a political backlash. With the Senate unlikely to act based on evidence provided, he felt that the best remedy to the dangers of the current Presidency lies in the upcoming election.
Long-time Wisconsin Public Radio host Kathleen Dunn provided thoughtful questions and helpful history, while Attorney Jeff Perzan explained context and points of law regarding impeachment, and also responded to questions. The audience had many questions, so Q&A lasted about half an hour.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the program was the total and sometimes brutal honesty of the two as they made their arguments. They relied on logic and evidence, but also expressed emotional hopes and fears based on personal experiences and historical examples. Both sides of the debate were well expressed and captured the attention of the listeners, forcing them to think and confront all possibilities. (Well done, Dr. Kraig and Dr. Wasserman!)
This debate was co-sponsored by Citizen Action Wisconsin, Grassroots North Shore, and Grassroots South Shore. A video, graciously taped and created by Daniel Folkman and Charles Bensinger of Wisconsin Video Hub, can be found at its site, or YouTube.
Re Gerrymandering: We're making some progress with the state legislature. I just learned that Monday a fifth Republican has signed on to co-sponsor the two bills (AB303 and SB288) that would, if signed into law, create a non-partisan process for drawing new electoral district lines following the 2020 census. Rep. Mursau (R-Crivitz) says that he signed on because he had sent out a questionnaire to his constituents and 77% of those who returned it supported non-partisan redistricting!
Right now, the bills are bottled up in committees. More GOP support for them means we're getting some traction. Several counties and municipalities are planning to include non-binding resolutions on this issue on ballots, either for the April 7 election or the November 3 election. Milwaukee County is one of those. The County's Intergovernmental Relation Committee is holding a hearing on the matter this afternoon. Assuming it passes out of committee, the full board will hold a hearing on the issue soon. Stay tuned.
So the local progress is heart-warming. However, on Monday the US Supreme Court ruled that Michigan need not redraw its congressional district maps because of partisan gerrymandering as the trial court had mandated. SCOTUS was just building on its June decision that "federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage" (Roll Call, 10/22, 2019). The Michigan ruling was, of course, expected, but the Washington Post had a really eye-opening article yesterday, An overlooked consequence of the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering rulings: Stricter abortion laws, that shows how GOP gerrymandering has led to many anti-abortion laws in states where the GOP retains control through partisan gerrymandering.
Wisconsin's case against gerrymandering has also been nullified by the same US Supreme Court ruling. And that's why it is going to be so crucial to win the Wisconsin Supreme Court election coming up on April 7, 2020, AND the next WI Supreme Court election in 2022. If progressives can win both contests, we will have a chance to litigate the gerrymandering case in state courts. And that's why I am going to urge you (again!) to participate in the work that needs to be done now and throughout the 2020 elections (all four of them). Please sign up to canvass on Saturday, November 2, and/or Sunday, November 3. Also helpful: signing up to call potential canvassers on Tuesday, October 29, from 11am - 1pm from our office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116).
Finally, I'd like to apologize for being a day late with this newsletter. There is so much activity happening at Grassroots North Shore right now that I just didn't have the time to get to everything yesterday. The high level of activity will be ongoing throughout next year. So, if you haven't yet gotten engaged with us or don't know what you want to do, just sign up to volunteer and a member of our leadership team will contact you to discuss what sorts of activities are most suitable for you. There are LOTS of things to do — from phonebanking and canvassing to writing postcards or supporting the work of the office. We're sure to find something useful for you to do. And we will need all the help we can get!Read more