We're still waiting to exhale

On Friday, January 8, I encouraged everyone to get in touch with Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Representative Scott Fitzgerald, and U.S. Representative Tom Tiffany — the three Republican elected officials from Wisconsin who either voted to accept the spurious objections raised to the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania or originally committed to doing so but thought better of it after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was put down. These three men should no longer be eligible to serve in the Congress, according to section 3 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution:

No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Here's the contact information you need. Make your voices heard and hold these men accountable:

U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald: (202) 225-5101
Email and office locations are not yet available.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany: (202) 225-3365
email
1719 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515

Sen. Ron Johnson: (202) 224-5323
email
328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

We only have eight more days of the tRump administration to go. But there are plenty of pundits predicting new violence on January 17 and on Inauguration Day, both in DC and in every state capital. See "Americans across the political spectrum fear what the Capitol attack portends" in the Washington Post, "Drumpf supporters plan to surround the Capitol in 'chilling' insurrection plot" in Daily Kos, and "Right-wing violence will now be a regular feature of American politics" in the Plum Line blog. In Madison, "Tony Evers calls up National Guard to protect Capitol, boards up windows after FBI warning of 'armed protests'". Sadly, this seems to be the world we live in right now.

Still, the work of our organization proceeds apace. Dan O'Keefe, the leader of the Criminal Justice Reform Issue Team, invites interested Grassroots North Shore supporters to sign up. The Team is working on arranging a Zoom meeting with State Senator Alberta Darling and welcomes everyone to participate. Details of the meeting will be announced to those who sign up as soon as they are available.

There are going to be seven candidates on the ballot for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Our page with links to candidate's campaign sites is now up so that you can find out something about each candidates' positions. You can also watch a forum with them, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Education Network and originally held on January 7, 20221.

And don't forget the People's Map Commission hearing on Thursday, January 14. You can participate by submitting comments or just registrating for the public hearing (required).

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What a consequential week!

 

The Georgia run-off elections for two US Senate seats happens today. Tomorrow, the 117th Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral college votes. Both events will try progressives' souls: the election in Georgia because it is sure to be followed by litigation and acrimony; the formal tallying of the electoral college votes because more than a few Republicans — including our own Senator Ron Johnson — plan to disrupt the purely ceremonial event with spurious "objections" to accepting the votes of certified electors from various states these seditious officials will claim are "contested." They aren't. All the litigation over the validity of the votes in these states has long since been settled. And all the electors and their votes from these states have been certified by the governors of those states. The results are clear and will ultimately be formally acknowledged by the 117th Congress. But for a dark view of how bad — and nutty — the process could be, see Ed Foley's op-ed in today's Washington Post.

But the question remains: what to do about those who are prepared to abuse the process? Especially those who represent the states whose electoral college votes they are challenging. The Milwaukee Journal has already castigated Representative Tiffany for his part in this seditious charade. In an editorial today, the headline calls Senator Ron Johnson "unfit to represent Wisconsin in the U. S. Senate." The editorial has it just right: "Johnson's disgraceful display should not go unpunished. While there is no way to recall a sitting senator — and censure or expulsion (though deserved) is unlikely given the politics of the moment — we urge voters to remember what Johnson has done. Hold him accountable. Demand that qualified challengers, Republican and Democrat alike, run against him if he has the audacity to break another promise and try for a third term in 2022." The end of the piece asserts that "He has violated his oath of office and in doing so, Johnson has forfeited his right to represent the people of Wisconsin."

Aside from firing Senator Johnson if he runs for re-election in 2022, the important business in front of us is the upcoming nonpartisan elections. There was such spectacular (and welcome) engagement for the fall 2020 election. Wouldn't it be great if we could keep up that level of enthusiasm for our local and judicial elections? Our Elections 2021 pages will help keep you informed of the offices up for election in 2021 as well as the candidates who have been officially nominated. Nomination papers are due today by 5pm in most cases so we should have all that information available within the next few days. So start becoming informed! You can apply for an absentee ballot for the primary (February 16) and/or the general election (April 6) at myvote.wi.gov. Get it out of the way now!

This week's event list is more, well, eventful. I especially want to highlight the People's Map Commission public hearing on Thursday, January 14 (time TBA). There's nothing more important to democracy than fair electoral maps. As we have seen in Wisconsin over the last 10 years under our partisan gerrymandered maps, it's a lot more difficult to hold elected officials accountable for the positions and votes they take when politicians can choose their own voters instead of voters choosing their politicians. And that's what a partisan gerrymander gives us: elected officials who are not responsive to anyone who does not vote for them. If you'd like more information about gerrymandering and want to help do something about it, come to the organizational meeting of the Fair Maps and Voting Rights Issue Team on Thursday, January 7 at 6pm on Zoom.

If you are interested in the other Issue Teams Grassroots North Shore is now forming, contact Paul Geenen. There will be organizational meetings for teams focusing on Criminal Justice Reform and on the Environment soon. Or let him know of any other current issue you want to engage.

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Goodbye to 2020

We're finally going to have perfect 2020 vision — in hindsight, of course. But Donald Drumpf just won't let go of his destructive efforts to upend our democracy. It seems he has appealed the latest ruling that the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued in mid-December. That suit was decided by a 4-3 vote and relied heavily on the Laches Doctrine, "which requires that a plaintiff does not unreasonably delay a claim. Drumpf’s suit failed in this respect because he did not file suit when the same laws and practices were in effect when he won the presidency in 2016" (Urban Milwaukee, 12/29/2020). And Monday Representative Louie Gohmert sued Vice President Mike Pence. CNN called the suit a "wacky attempt to transform the vice president's purely ceremonial role in presiding over the announcement of the Electoral College results in Congress into a power broker position in which the VP could effectively hand the election to President Donald Drumpf" (CNN, 12/29/2020).

Congress will meet in joint session on Wednesday, January 6, at 12 noon CST to count the electoral college votes. The Vice President will preside, following both the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887. As the Washington Post explains in a 12/29/20 op-ed, "the Jan. 6 session ... address[es] a narrow question: Are the electoral votes received by Congress ones cast by electors the states appointed?" Here's the core of the issue:

This limited inquiry requires Congress simply to authenticate the documents. Remember, these rules were formulated in the 19th century, when there was a realistic risk of counterfeit papers pretending to be official. Thus, the 1887 act requires a state’s governor to affix “the seal of the State” to the certificate confirming the appointment of electors.

Further, the 1887 act obligates Congress to consider 'conclusive' a state’s own 'final determination' of litigation over a state’s appointment of electors when two conditions are met. The 'final determination' must occur by a certain date, Dec. 8 this year, and must be based on state laws existing before Election Day, Nov. 3. Congress instructs governors to provide verification of these two conditions in their certifications.

VP Pence, as the presiding officer, is charged with simply opening the envelopes with the certified votes from each state. As an AP report explains, "the presiding officer opens and presents the certificates of the electoral votes in alphabetical order of the states. The appointed 'tellers' from each chamber, members of both parties, then read each certificate out loud. The tellers then record and count the votes, and the presiding officer announces who has won the majority votes for both president and vice president" (AP, 12/15/2020).

Objections to a specific state's electors must be made, in writing, with at least one Representative and one Senator signing on. It's possible that no senator will oblige the crazies in the House, but even if one does, the objection is likely to be defeated in both chambers. It's a little nerve-wracking, of course, but it may be worth making some popcorn and tuning in to watch the comedic drama unfold.

On a more serious note, one of Wisconsin's foremost tasks ahead is drawing the new electoral district maps that will go into effect for the 2022 elections and remain in force through 2031. The new maps are the only way Wisconsin can rectify the travesty of partisan gerrymandering that has so disrupted the relationship between the will of the voters and the distribution of power in the state's legislative chambers. To counter the Republican effort to cement their hold over the legislature, Governor Tony Evers created the People's Map Commission, a group of nine people who have been chosen by a Selection Panel of three retired judges in Wisconsin. The members of the Commission are "Wisconsinites representing each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and members from the African American, Latinx, and Tribal communities. The Commission members may not be elected officials, public officials, lobbyists, or political party officers. The idea is that the people should be making these important decisions, not politicians. The Commission may also include nonvoting members who are experts in redistricting, including professors, statisticians, mathematicians, map software experts, and legal scholars."

Grassroots North Shore supporters have their chance to participate in the series of public hearings The People's Map Commission is holding in the new year. The one for the 4th CD is to be held on Thursday, January 14 (time TBD). If you want to participate by speaking or submitting written comments, you'll need to sign up to do so. You can also participate by tuning in to watch. The sign-up page seems to be the same both for contributing remarks and for simply attending the session. The hearing for the 6th CD will be held on February 25, 2021. Nothing has a more fundamental impact on the governance of our state than the map of electoral districts. So nothing is more important than attending one of these public hearings to make our presence heard and felt. Please sign up for the 4th CD hearing or the 6th CD hearing. The links take you to a form titled "Public Input for People’s Maps Commission" but there does not seem to be any other way to register just to attend the session. So don't be shy!

During the holiday season, the events list continues to be short. But expect things to heat up considerably after January 5, 2021. That's when nomination papers are due for nonpartisan elections as well as for school board elections this spring. You can see what offices are up for election on our website. We will be updating the page with the names of people who have qualified to run for each office and whenever possible links to their web pages and/or Facebook pages just as soon as we can. Once the primaries are completed, we will be endorsing some candidates and in March will be holding a candidate forum for those running to be State Superintendent of Public Instruction. You should be able to request an absentee both for the February 16 primary and the April 6 general election at myvote.wi.gov but the 2021 election cycle requests are not yet available! Presumably, they will be soon.

And may the New Year be happier, brighter, and more hopeful than the year we are leaving behind.

 

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Home for the Holidays

Merry Christmas and/or Kwanzaa to everyone. As you will see, there's almost nothing that has not been suspended or canceled on the events list for the next two weeks. So this newsletter will focus on some ongoing work and some prospective opportunities so you won't feel useless and forlorn staying home for the holidays! (At least I hope you're staying home and not having children and grandchildren over to celebrate! The rate of coronavirus spread in Wisconsin is lower than it was a month ago but it is still quite high. Be safe and protect others so we can all have happy holidays together in 2021.)

The run-off elections for the two senate races in Georgia are being held on January 5. You can still help out by sending money (of course) and/or by phoning voters. I've heard from others who are phoning that Georgia voters are friendly and nice to callers. Because it's an election that focuses on turnout — meaning the side that gets more of its voters out wins — the phone lists are pretty tightly focused on voters who will vote for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. So take a couple of hours out of this week and next to do some worthy campaigning. Here are the links you need:

Grassroots North Shore is launching several issue teams in the new year. These teams will meet to hear from important speakers and to develop strategies and tactics to make progress both in our state and nationally. Two teams already have organizers: Deb Patel is putting together a group to work on Fair Maps and Other Voting Rights; Anneliese Dickman is putting together one focused on Gun Safety and Violence Prevention; Paul Geenen is forming a group to work on Criminal Justice Reform. I urge you to contact these organizers if you're interested in working on those projects this year. Or if you have another issue you're keen to pursue, contact Paul and we'll help you form a team for that issue!

And just in case you gave the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a miss this morning, here's news that will make you sick at heart: Wisconsin Republicans all vote against coronavirus relief plan, with Ron Johnson joining 5 other senators opposing bill. If you'd prefer a little irony to rebalance your day, you can try this story instead: Trump carried counties where many voters declared themselves indefinitely confined and avoided ID rules. This article is tagged as available only to subscribers, so here's an excerpt:

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review shows 123,357 voters in the 58 counties Trump carried claimed to be indefinitely confined on the basis of age, physical illness or disability, which allowed them to avoid the photo identification requirement.

In the 14 counties Biden won en route to a 21,000-vote victory, 92,356 voters listed themselves as indefinitely confined.

We don't of course know which presidential candidate those who deemed themselves indefinitely confined voted for. And there is no way after the fact to find an answer to that question. We do know, however, that the law in question leaves the designation up to the voter. No note from your doctor is required! And by the way, you should be able to request an absentee ballot for the February 16 and April 6 elections to be held in Wisconsin this year — but apparently not yet. At least not through myvote.wi.gov. I hope it will be possible to request such ballots after the first of the year. Stay tuned.

And in some interesting news unlikely to be featured in the national press, it appears that "Michigan's attorney general will seek professional sanctions against attorney Sidney Powell over her efforts to overturn President Donald Trump's election loss (Raw Story, 11/22/20).

Finally, especially for Ozaukee county progressives, you should know about and sign up for the Ozaukee County Dems Inauguration (virtual) Celebration that will take place on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 from 7 - 9pm. The celebration will feature a champagne toast and truffles with all proceeds benefiting Ozaukee food pantries. If you sign up by January 11, you will receive the goodies in time for the event. The cost is a reasonable $30 for "Champagne and Truffles for Two." So even if you're not an Ozaukee resident, you might consider joining the celebration, or at least contributing something to help the hungry.

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We win, AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN!

So yesterday, the Electoral College officially elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States. The next step, the official tally of the Electoral College votes by a joint session of Congress, will take place on January 6, 2021. Legally, the only slate of electors that our senators and representatives can challenge is the slate from Wisconsin. And that's because Wisconsin is the only state that missed the "safe harbor" date (December 8) in certifying its electors. But that legal nicety is unlikely to deter the dead-heads and lickspittles whose loyalty to the vanquished current occupant of the White House is not dented. Never mind. President Biden and Vice President Harris will be sworn in at noon on January 20, 2021!

The Georgia senate runoffs remain the last election of the 2020 cycle. We can't stress often enough how important these two senate seats are. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock BOTH win, Democrats will win control of the Senate. If not, Mitch McConnell will be able to stop any legislation he likes, just as he has gummed up a COVID-19 relief bill for months. You can help out by calling with the campaigns, with the Fair Fight organization or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.You can find links to each of these organizations on our Take Action page for the Georgia elections. You can also connect with a Georgia group to write postcards. You can find information and instructions for this postcard project here.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, we encourage you to sign up to be a member of the first issue teams Grassroots North Shore is setting up. Paul Geenen is hosting a Zoom informational meeting on Monday, Dec. 21st at noon to discuss the structure and purposes for each team. The teams will dive more deeply into specific issues through meeting with invited speakers followed by discussions. We will start with four committees — Environment, Criminal Justice, Gun Violence, and Fair Maps — and are open to additional issue teams if there is interest. Please sign up after which you will receive an email confirmation and a link for the Dec. 21st noon informational meeting will be sent to you.

The events list continues to be fairly sparse, as it generally is over the winter holidays. But there is one event off of our beaten track that some of you might be interested in attending. The Waukesha Democratic Party is holding its meeting on Thursday, December 17, at 7pm. On Zoom of course. In addition to hearing from their county chair (perhaps he'll talk about the significant inroads Dems made in Waukesha County in the November 3 election), the meeting will hear from Tom Nelson who plans to contest Ron Johnson's senate seat in 2022, and Jill Underly who is running to be Superintendent of Public Instruction.

On my holiday wish list: an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and an end to the reign of error under tRump. With health care workers now beginning to get the jab, the end is in sight even if we mere mortals have to be patient for several more months. And it appears the FDA will meet to approve a second viable vaccine — from Moderna — some time later this week. But the departure of Bill Barr a little over a week from now is in my view the functional beginning of the end of the Drumpf regime. For sheer reading pleasure, you should read Charlie Pierce's take on Barr's resignation letter! As we light our Hanukah candles and/or our Christmas trees, we can truly thank each other and ourselves for all the hard work we did throughout 2020. And when we ring in the New Year, we can look forward to renewal.

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} — 

So yesterday, the Electoral College officially elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States. The next step, the official tally of the Electoral College votes by a joint session of Congress, will take place on January 6, 2021. Legally, the only slate of electors that our senators and representatives can challenge is the slate from Wisconsin. And that's because Wisconsin is the only state that missed the "safe harbor" date (December 8) in certifying its electors. But that legal nicety is unlikely to deter the dead-heads and lickspittles whose loyalty to the vanquished current occupant of the White House is not dented. Never mind. President Biden and Vice President Harris will be sworn in at noon on January 20, 2021!

The Georgia senate runoffs remain the last election of the 2020 cycle. We can't stress often enough how important these two senate seats are. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock BOTH win, Democrats will win control of the Senate. If not, Mitch McConnell will be able to stop any legislation he likes, just as he has gummed up a COVID-19 relief bill for months. You can help out by calling with the campaigns, with the Fair Fight organization or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.You can find links to each of these organizations on our Take Action page for the Georgia elections. You can also connect with a Georgia group to write postcards. You can find information and instructions for this postcard project here.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, we encourage you to sign up to be a member of the first issue teams Grassroots North Shore is setting up. Paul Geenen is hosting a Zoom informational meeting on Monday, Dec. 21st at noon to discuss the structure and purposes for each team. The teams will dive more deeply into specific issues through meeting with invited speakers followed by discussions. We will start with four committees — Environment, Criminal Justice, Gun Violence, and Fair Maps — and are open to additional issue teams if there is interest. Please sign up after which you will receive an email confirmation and a link for the Dec. 21st noon informational meeting will be sent to you.

The events list continues to be fairly sparse, as it generally is over the winter holidays. But there is one event off of our beaten track that some of you might be interested in attending. The Waukesha Democratic Party is holding its meeting on Thursday, December 17, at 7pm. On Zoom of course. In addition to hearing from their county chair (perhaps he'll talk about the significant inroads Dems made in Waukesha County in the November 3 election), the meeting will hear from Tom Nelson who plans to contest Ron Johnson's senate seat in 2022, and Jill Underly who is running to be Superintendent of Public Instruction.

On my holiday wish list: an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and an end to the reign of error under tRump. With health care workers now beginning to get the jab, the end is in sight even if we mere mortals have to be patient for several more months. And it appears the FDA will meet to approve a second viable vaccine — from Moderna — some time later this week. But the departure of Bill Barr a little over a week from now is in my view the functional beginning of the end of the Drumpf regime. For sheer reading pleasure, you should read Charlie Pierce's take on Barr's resignation letter! As we light our Hanukah candles and/or our Christmas trees, we can truly thank each other and ourselves for all the hard work we did throughout 2020. And when we ring in the New Year, we can look forward to renewal.

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Safe Harbor Day!

Today is Safe Harbor day. And that means the votes of electors who have been certified cannot be challenged by Congress when it meets to count the electoral votes on January 6. The electors will meet in their respective state capitals on December 14 to cast their ballots for President and Vice President. Apparently, Wisconsin is the only state to have missed the deadline. And that's because there is still a lawsuit in state court. There's a hearing in that case scheduled for Thursday. But even if the 10 electoral votes from Wisconsin will be challengeable when Congress meets in January, President-elect Joe Biden will still win, with 296 votes, in the Electoral College!

Meanwhile, the circus continues to make the rounds of various states. Today, there's a report in Daily Kos that the state of Texas is seeking to file a suit against Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Suits between states are adjudicated only at the Supreme Court of the United States but first five justices must agree to let Texas file its suit. Let's pop some corn and watch.

On the vaccine front, there's some really good news, some really bad news, and some more crazy news. First the really good news: the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA AND it appears that even one dose of this two-dose vaccine is effective in preventing COVID-19. The really bad news is that President Trump declined to purchase large quantities of the Pfizer vaccine when the government was offered that opportunity last summer. (The tRump administration of course denies this.) Although the US has purchased something like enough Pfizer vaccine to inoculate 30-50 million people, Pfizer will be unable to supply more doses until June 2021, because the company has orders from many other countries that it will need to fulfill first. And in some more crazy news, tRump will sign an executive order today that purports to "to prevent the U.S. government from shipping any doses it has purchased to aid any foreign countries until all needs are met within the United States." But, "it’s not entirely clear on how exactly the executive order would work."

There's definitely a glimmer of hope, but we have a lot of tunnel to get through still. With the virus so widespread in our communities, everyone has to assume that wherever they go, they are likely to encounter one or more people who are infectious. It's hard with the winter holidays upon us, but everyone needs to stay home! Do not gather with family and friends for Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, or New Year's Eve. Forego that pleasure just this once and make a difference in your own and countless other people's lives. Our own Dr. Ian Gilson has provided us with an excellent and informative presentation on the coronavirus and what we now know about its nature and its infectiousness. If you missed his live event, you can watch a video of it on YouTube. Don't wait. As more information, especially about vaccinations, becomes available, we will be taking this presentation down. We'll ask him to provide us with an updated talk, possibly in January, when there will be new information about FDA approval of additional vaccines and perhaps even some concrete information about distribution and availability.

Signature gathering for the upcoming spring elections is under way. You can review the offices for which there will be elections on our website. The document is not quite complete for all the races in our communities. If you know about any additional ones, either in our seven North Shore Milwaukee County communities, or in Ozaukee County, please let us know.

Finally, I urge everyone to help elect two Democrats — Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock — to the US Senate from Georgia in the run-off elections to be held on January 5. The importance of Democratic success in these contests cannot be overstated. Success translate to Democratic governance at the national level; failure means more Washington gridlock and GOP glee! Grassroots North Shore has already sent 3000 postcards to voters in Georgia. So now is the time to phone, either with the campaigns themselves or through Fair Fight, the organization Stacey Abrams set up. The reception of these calls, based on the reports I've heard so far, is positive. People seem to be pleased to hear from fellow Dems. And since run-offs are always turn-out fights, let's help make sure the Georgia Dems do the necessary.

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One more step forward!

I'm not sure how many shoes are involved in this whole process, but yesterday another one dropped as both Wisconsin and Arizona certified their results from the November 3 election. The recount in Wisconsin, which cost the Drumpf campaign $3 million, resulted in an additional 87 votes for President-elect Biden. In other words, each new Biden vote cost the Drumpf campaign $34,483. Thanks, one-term president* tRump!

Meanwhile, Drumpf sues to try to reverse Wisconsin's election results:

The lawsuit challenges more than 220,000 ballots cast in Dane and Milwaukee counties, alleging election officials broke the law by continuing the longstanding practice of early voting, allowing voters to avoid the voter ID law by labeling themselves indefinitely confined, allowing clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes and collecting absentee ballots in Madison parks.

Although the law here states that challenges to election results are to be filed in circuit court, the Drumpf campaign went straight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. There's no certainty that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case. But these sorts of lawsuits, like the ones filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania — all of which have failed spectacularly — can and have done harm to the US electoral system by convincing Drumpf supporters voter fraud is rampant and decreasing their confidence in the national vote count "from 56% before the election to 28% afterward" (Bright Line Watch).

To make sure the Biden administration is not hamstrung from the start by an obstructionist Senator McConnell and his henchmen, we need to help the two Democrats running for Senate in Georgia. If they win, we win the Senate. So, Grassroots North Shore needs more postcard writers: GRNS volunteers are currently writing 2,000 postcards to Georgia voters for the special Senate election for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Warnock. We just received 1,000 more names/addresses so we need more writers to get these postcards mailed by Dec. 9. We chose that date because early voting begins on Dec. 14 in Georgia. This project requires volunteers to handwrite a short message and address the postcards. The packets contain 25 postcards, stamps, instructions and the script and will be delivered to you by Dec. 3. To volunteer please contact Norma Gilson ASAP.

And don't overlook these opportunities to participate in the governance of our state:

Governor Evers is holding virtual listening sessions as he prepares his 2021-23 State Budget proposal. Wisconsinites are encouraged to offer their thoughts and recommendations for the Governor to consider. We hope many WISDOM members will speak at the next two sessions. To speak, you must register ahead of time.

  1. The Listening Session on "Environment, Infrastructure and the Economy" will be held TOMORROW (December 2) evening at 6:00 pm. This is the time to speak about Transit and Transportation issues, or matters related to protection of the environment. To be allowed to participate, you need to register. You can do so at the Governor's website. You can also submit written comments or suggestions.

  2. The Listening Session on "Criminal Justice Reform" will be held Next Tuesday, December 8. Again, the session will be at 6:00 pm. And, agan, you need to register at the Governor's website.
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now we can exhale. Twice!

ast night, the GSA chief, Emily Murphy, sent a letter to President-elect Biden signifying that the presidential transition could begin. And I'm sure everyone gave a big sigh of relief. Now, three weeks after election day, Pennsylvania and Nevada finally certified their elections and we can all exhale. Again. (For a lefty take on the momentous anti-climax, see this Daily Kos diary.) That of course leaves the recount in Wisconsin (and the ridiculous one the Drumpf campaign is calling for in Georgia) to go. Plus, I guess, a new court case? That's what the tweeter-in-chief claims, anyway. His campaign did appeal a federal district court's ruling on a case that seeks to nullify the voting in Pennsylvania. You can see an account of what that appeal includes, if you have time and patience.

The recount in Wisconsin is plodding along. And the Democratic Party is still looking for volunteers to observe the remaining process in Milwaukee County. If you can give some time to this work, that would be great. Sign up here. According to the chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, in a presentation to the Milwaukee County Democratic Party on November 23, the Drumpf campaign is asking that absentee ballots requested through the myvote.wi.gov site should be discarded because the clerks did not receive the appropriate request applications directly. Also, in-person absentee ballots should be discarded because the people who voted early in person used absentee ballots but did not have to fill out the form requesting absentee ballots. And those are only two of the odd rationales for challenging ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. This week's Capitol Notes conversation on UWUM 89.7 FM, on Monday, November 23, is headlined "Wisconsin Recount Will Likely End Up In Court." Is anyone surprised?

It's a holiday week but we are urged not to spend the it with family we don't regularly live with or to travel. But it seems millions of people are ignoring the pleadings of officials and scientists. I hope you are not engaging in high risk behaviors! To get a great handle on the state of our knowledge about the coronavirus, and how the Medical Society of Wisconsin assesses the risk of various activities, you can't do better than to watch a recording of Dr. Ian Gilson's presentation to Grassroots North Shore on November 22. Dr. Gilson uses his first-hand experience with patients who have contracted COVID-19 to help us better understand the latest scientific information.

The events list is pretty lean for the next two weeks, but the run-off elections that will take place in Georgia on January 5, 2021, will determine whether Mitch McConnell is demoted to Minority Leader, an outcome devoutly to be wished. You can do your part to help! Here are some ways to help put the Senate in Democratic hands so President Biden will be able to pass some much-needed legislation to provide COVID relief, stabilize the ACA, prop up our failing economy, and deal with many other pressing issues.

All in all, we have much to be thankful for this year, even if we cannot gather with extended family to share a meal. We have won an historic election for President. He may do some damage in the meantime, but tRump will exit the White House on January 20, 2021. The new administration will be able to roll back many of the terrible orders our current *president issued. We've elected the FIRST WOMAN and the first Black and South Asian American to the Vice Presidency. And there are several very promising vaccines for the coronavirus in the offing. So 2021 will almost certainly have a very difficult beginning but we can hope for a happy end to much of the misery and sadness we are currently experiencing by late in the year, at least. So whether you're alone for the holiday, celebrating it with the people in your immediate household, or risking visiting with a wider circle of friends and family, be thankful and be safe.

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Where the winning votes came from

GRASSROOTS NORTH SHORE did (at least some of) it! As analyses of voting patterns roll in, one thing is clear: the Milwaukee suburbs made a huge difference this year. Although Biden's vote share in Milwaukee County was 69% to Drumpf's 29% (JSOnline.com), voter turnout in the city was essentially unchanged compared to the turnout in 2016 (JSOnline, November 9, 2020). Using the still unofficial results, Sarah Volpenhein concludes, "In the city as a whole, Biden picked up close to 6,000 more votes than Clinton did four years ago, according to unofficial results. For his part, Drumpf also won more votes than four years ago: nearly 3,000. Third-party candidates this time around got a smaller share of the vote." On November 6, Craig Gilbert's scan of the data is headlined "Where Joe Biden won Wisconsin: Dane County and the Milwaukee County suburbs." The places where the crucial 44,000 vote shift occurred? They were "principally in the city of Madison, the Madison suburbs and the suburban communities within Milwaukee County. It also occurred — on a smaller scale — in the suburban counties of Waukesha and Ozaukee, the Fox Valley counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, and the counties of La Crosse, Eau Claire and Rock. These are all among the state’s most populous places."

The most detailed analysis of the vote in Milwaukee County comes from John Johnson, a research fellow at the Marquette University Law School's Lubar Center. His data show that the net votes for the Democratic presidential candidate grew by 51.5% between 2000 and 2020. The net votes in the Milwaukee suburbs over that same period grew from a deficit (-7,685 votes) to a net gain of 36,663 votes, or a change of 44,348 votes — a little more than 575%! In short, "Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris netted a larger number of votes than any other Democrat in Milwaukee County’s history. According to unofficial returns, they received 182,896 more votes than Donald Drumpf and Mike Pence. In percentage terms, this 40-point margin of victory is only exceeded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 and 1936 campaigns (45- and 56-point victories, respectively), going back at least to 1892." Johnson goes on to say that "a remarkable blue wave in Milwaukee’s innermost suburbs ... recast the region’s political complexion. In the City of Milwaukee net votes cast for the Biden/Harris ticket exceeded those cast for Clinton in 2016 by about 3,000 votes. However, the Milwaukee county suburbs collectively netted the Democratic ticket over 17,000 more votes in 2020 than 2016."

But what does the picture look like in the North Shore suburbs and Ozaukee County? Johnson's piece tells us about the North Shore area while Chris Drosner provides the results for the WOW Counties in a piece for Milwaukee Magazine published on November 5, 2020. The northern suburbs of Milwaukee have shifted dramatically to the Democrats over the last 20 years. Here are the numbers showing the Democratic presidential vote margins as the difference between the percent won by the Democrat compared to the percent won by the Republican.

Municipality 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 Change
Bayside 12.2 12.4 22.5 10.7 34.3 42.8 30.6
Brown Deer 1.6 4.7 24.3 27.6 34.3 44.4 42.8
Fox Point 2.8 6.1 13.8 6.0 30.3 41.4 38.6
Glendale 13.9 16.3 27.4 24.7 37.2 45.4 31.5
River Hills −17.4 −15.0 −7.0 −15.7 7.9 14.3 31.7
Shorewood 23.8 33.6 47.4 44.7 60.0 67.1 43.3
Whitefish Bay -9.2 0.5 12.8 4.5 33.0 41.8 51.0

In the WOW Counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington), the Republican strength remains but there are small blue gains in parts of those counties. Drosner writes that "Democratic gains were greatest in the more ... suburban suburbs and discrete cities — as opposed to the counties' exurbs and rural areas. Biden's largest gain in the WOW counties was in the city of Brookfield, where he added 8 points over Clinton's share. Biden gains of 4-6 points were more common in the WOW burbs, and those in rural areas and the southwestern part of the metro area were smaller." The only comparative figures here are with the 2016 outcome, so it's more difficult to see the longer term trends. But here is the data we have.

Waukesha 2016: Drumpf 60.0% | Clinton 33.3% 2020: Drumpf 59.6% | Biden 38.5%
Ozaukee 2016: Drumpf 55.8% | Clinton 37.0% 2020: Drumpf 55.2% | Biden 43.2%
Washington 2016: Drumpf 67.4% | Clinton 27.2% 2020: Drumpf 68.3% | Biden 30.2%

The slight uptick in Democratic performance in the WOW counties is largely attributable to the decrease in third party shares of the vote. But still, there's a little drift to the blue side we'll want to build on. And for the brightest spot in the WOW picture, how about that slim victory in the city of Cedarburg! Biden won there by "19 votes out of more than 8,000 cast. Drumpf won Cedarburg by 8.5 points in 2016." Congratulations to the Ozaukee County Dems who really put their backs into this year's election. And of course to Grassroots North Shore for the thousands of postcards and follow-up phone calls our volunteers made to the county. With all that hard work, we helped achieve the victory Deb Andraca won in the 23rd Assembly District!

Finally, for a look at demographic data in the state as a whole, take a look at this Washington Post piece exploring exit poll results. The data are preliminary right now, but a first read shows that 92% of people identifying themselves as Democrats supported the Biden/Harris ticket, while only 86% of those identifying themselves as Republicans supported the current orange elephant in the White House.

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It's not over!

As I am writing this, around 3pm on November 4, we have won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes, give or take. So a HUGE thank-you to everyone who got engaged and worked hard for this outcome. Several other states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan have yet to be called. Arizona and Nevada are also up in the air. As a result, we cannot definitively say that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won. Still, it is a promising map, though too close to repudiate the large numbers of the country's voters who still support the man currently occupying the White House. Despite all the lies, the cruelty, the law-breaking and law-bending, the lack of vision and the lack of empathy. It's well nigh inexplicable that our fellow citizens have made that choice.

But here we are. The newsletter is a little more than a day late because I was working in a Virtual Staging Location to Get Out the Vote in the Milwaukee area over the weekend and on Election Day. We were down to the bottom of the barrel and every vote we managed to get out made a difference. That is my take-away going forward. If we want this state and this country to move in a new direction, we have to put in the hard work. And not just in the last week or two before an election. There will be important nonpartisan races in our area next spring and we have to be ready. So take a break now, but plan to get active and to find out what YOU can do as soon as we have all recharged.

Needless to say, there's very little on the events list right now. But that does not mean there's nothing to do. Have a look. And don't miss the entry for a John Nichols presentation on Saturday, November 14!

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