We're back, baby!

We did it! Democrats won all of the executive branch offices in WI: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer. So congratulations are due both to the great candidates we fielded (Tony Evers, Mandela Barnes, Josh Kaul, Doug La Follette, and Sarah Godlewski) and to the Grassroots North Shore participants who worked hard all fall with our canvasses, phone banks, and postcard writing. Congratulations too to Senator Tammy Baldwin who handily defeated Leah Vukmir. Early in this cycle she was considered to be quite vulnerable, but it certainly did not turn out that way. We also made important inroads in Waukesha county! We need to build on our successes and to go at it again in the spring when we support a candidate for Justice Shirley Abrahamson's seat on Wisconsin's Supreme Court. But that is a subject for another day and another newsletter!

What our decisive vote at the executive level means: Evers intends to accept the Medicaid expansion, make sure public schools are fully funded, create new measures of accountability for voucher schools, and try to reinstate collective bargaining for public employees. How much he can do on his own remans to be seen. He's unlikely to get much cooperation from a legislature that is at least as dominated by Republicans as it has been under Walker. Meanwhile, Josh Kaul has promised to withdraw Wisconsin from the lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (also known at Obamacare).

Because there is a limit to what the executive officers can do on their own, that brings us to the pernicious effects of gerrymandering. Getting rid of political gerrymandering has wide, bipartisan support across the country. Nonpartisan commissions of various types were approved by referenda in Michigan, Missouri, and Colorado (also possibly Utah). Ohio had passed such an initiative earlier this year. A few days ago, a panel of three judges ruled unanimously that Maryland must redraw its congressional district maps before the 2020 election. In Pennsylvania, the state supreme court ordered a new congressional map for the 2018 elections, resulting in gains for Democrats. Democrats in North Carolina hope that their own state supreme court will follow Pennsylvania's example.

Here in Wisconsin we do not have recourse to a ballot initiative that can itself alter the way both state and federal districts are drawn. Nevertheless, ballot initiatives were passed by huge margins in five Wisconsin counties: Eau Claire (74%), Sauk (72%), Outgamie (72%), Winnebago (69%), and Lincoln (65%). Of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, 41 have passed a county resolution supporting nonpartisan legislative and congressional redistricting.

But the results of the last election show how unbeatable the GOP gerrymander in this state is. According to the Fair Elections Project and Wisconsin Voices, although only 45% of the votes cast for state Assembly went to Republicans, they held onto 63% of the seats in the Assembly. As the press release from those two organizations makes clear, the state Assembly make-up seriously misrepresents the preferences of Wisconsin voters.

But we do have two potential avenues of change. On April 2, a new challenge to the Republican-drawn legislative boundaries will be heard by the same 3-judge panel that ruled the state's maps unconstitutional when it last heard the case. (It was returned to Wisconsin for a new trial by the US Supreme Court on a technical issue involving the standing of those who filed the original suit.) A second lawsuit from the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee has also been filed and may be consolidated with the Democratic voters' case (Wisconsin State Journal, 11/8/2018).

Our second avenue relies on our new governor. The legislature can send Governor Evers its preferred new map in 2021, but Governor Evers can veto it if he finds it as politically gerrymandered as the current map. If the governor and the legislature are at an impasse, judges will have to draw fair maps, as they did in 1981, 1991, and 2001.

The bottom line is this: the struggle for fairness continues in Wisconsin just as it more publicly continues in Georgia and Florida. Democrats had a very good night on November 6, 2018 — taking back the majority in the US House of Representatives, taking at leaset 7 governorships and several state legislatures — but voter suppression remains rampant across the country. Labor rights and human rights remain under attack. Immigrants, LBGTQ communities, Jews, and Muslims (to name only a few of the biggest "out" groups) remain threatened everywhere. We can heave a sigh of relief about the elections we just won, but we cannot rest on those laurels. Once we have had a few days of respite, we need to take up our tasks again.

The events list is quite short this week and probably will stay relatively calm through the holidays, but I urge you to take this moment to support Grassroots North Shore, and the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County, the Democratic Party of Ozaukee County, and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. All of these organizations need new blood and more treasure!


Tue Nov 13, 2018

Drinking Liberally MKE, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., Milwaukee

Now, more than ever, Drinking Liberally is a space to gather, support each other, and form the progressive community we need. Come share a pint with your fellow progressives! Drinking Liberally MKE meets on the second Tuesday of every month, hosted by Matt Filipowicz.

350 Milwaukee Meeting, 7pm - 8:30pm
Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Pl., Milwaukee

350.ORG is the global organization building a grassroots movement in 188 countries to address global warming and solve the climate crisis. 350 Milwaukee meets every month on the second Tuesday. More information.

Wed Nov 14, 2018

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Thu Nov 15, 2018

Live in Hope Reception, 4pm - 4pm
Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., Milwaukee

Mercy Housing’s "Live in Hope" reception is a fun, inspiring event that engages community leaders to raise money to provide affordable homes and services to enable Milwaukee residents to work towards greater economic self-sufficiency. Cosponsored by Boswell Book Co. This year’s reception features speaker Peter Edelman. A nationally known expert on poverty, Peter Edelman, author of Not a Crime to Be Poor, shows how not having money has been criminalized and shines a light on lawyers, activists, and policy makers working for a more humane approach. Registration for this event is $60, $45 for students, and sponsorship levels are available as well.

Childhood Trauma and Criminal Cases, 4:30pm - 4:30pm
Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee

Law professor Deborah W. Denno, Fordham Law School, will discuss how courts in criminal cases respond to childhood trauma. Taking cases from an original, large-scale, empirical research project, this lecture will assess the extent to which, and the methods whereby, courts in criminal cases weigh and respond to trauma experienced by defendants, in their past, as children. RSVP required.

Sat Nov 17, 2018

Do Black Lives Matter?/Justice, 10am - 11:30am
Parklawn Assembly of God Church, 3725 N. Sherman Blvd., Milwaukee

Reggie Jackson, Head Griot of America's Black Holocaust Museum, will speak at a free public lecture series about the history and current impacts of the devaluation of black lives. This session will explain: What legal methods of control kept African Americans in slavery for 250 years; where, when and why did night riding, lynching, and race riots happen – and what repercussions from these are still felt today; how did the current relationship between the police and Black community evolve; what accounts for the racial disparities in incarceration and the death penalty? RSVP (only for free child care).

Lead Issues in Milwaukee, 10am - 12:30pm
United Way Johnson Controls Volunteer Center, 200 W. Pleasant St., Milwaukee

At this forum, hear from experts who work to address lead issues,including lead-based paint in homes and in drinking water from lead pipes. Presenters: Michael Stevenson, Public Health Planner in the City of Milwaukee Health Department; Helen Meier, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health; Carmen Reinmund, Lead Outreach Program Coordinator, Sixteenth Street Community HealthCenters. 10:00am - Gathering, 10:30am - 12:30 p.m. - Program, Q & A. Presented by the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County.

NAACP Monthly Meeting, 11:30am - 1pm
2745 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., Milwaukee

Monthly membership meeting of NAACP Milwaukee Branch. The meeting is held in the basement conference room.

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm
North Avenue & Sherman Boulevard, Milwaukee

Stand for peace in the streets of Milwaukee, every Saturday at noon. Organized by the United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Peace/Conflict Committee.

Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, 8pm - 10pm
Comedy Sportz Theater, 420 S. 1st St., Milwaukee

Laughing Liberally Milwaukee's Bye Bye Scott Bonanza. Laughing Liberally Milwaukee presents a night of progressive political comedy. In addition to some of the finest progressive comedians Milwaukee has to offer, each Laughing Liberally Milwaukee will feature a special interview with a local political figure, journalist oractivist. This month’s guest is Jarrett English from the ACLU of Wisconsin. Advance tickets ($8).

Mon Nov 19, 2018

MKE Dems Blue Bash, 6pm - 8pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

County party meeting and gathering to relax and raise some money for the year ahead. #MKEDems. RSVP or just come.

Wed Nov 21, 2018

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Drinking Liberally Wauwatosa, 6pm - 9pm
Walter's, 6930 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa

Drinking Liberally Tosa returns at a different venue while repairs are made to the Red Dot.

Southwest Region Dems Meeting, 7pm - 7pm
Studz Pub Sports Bar & Grill, 6833 W. National Ave., West Allis

Southwest Dems will hold their monthly meeting. Region 5 covers Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Milwaukee (Southwest), West Allis, West Milwaukee. For more information contact Southwest Dems.

Sat Nov 24, 2018

Community Brainstorming, 8am - 11am
St. Matthew CME Church, 2944 N. 9th St., Milwaukee

Community Brainstorming Conference Breakfast Forum. Breakfast: 8 am, Program: 9 am. All Are Invited, Come and Participate.

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm
West Greenfield Avenue & Cesar Chavez Drive (South 16th Street), Milwaukee

Stand for peace in the streets of Milwaukee, every Saturday at noon. Organized by the United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Peace/Conflict Committee.

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