where we've been and where we're going

Here's a piece of Wisconsin news I bet you didn't know. Last Thursday, July 20, the Elias Law Group — "a mission-driven firm committed to helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change" — filed a lawsuit to "once again allow voters to return absentee ballots in drop boxes, a practice that was barred by the state Supreme Court last year following criticism by former President Donald Trump." The suit filed against the Wisconsin Elections Commission will begin in Dane County circuit court but is probably destined to end up at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It argues that barring drop boxes "severely burdens the right to vote." It also argues that a requirement that absentee ballots be signed by a witness also constrains voting illegally. The AP has the story.

Of course the make-up of the Wisconsin Supreme Court (SCOWI) is about to change in a way that may make a difference to a host of voting rights and laws governing elections. Justice Janet Protaseiwicz will be invested on Tuesday, August 1, at 4:30pm in the State Capitol. She's been a great friend of Grassroots North Shore. She even showed up for our event in Doctors Park on Sunday, July 9. So the least we can do for her is to show up in Madison to cheer her on. You can RSVP for the investiture and the reception that will be held on Monona Terrace. I hope a few of you, at least, will make it.

As you no doubt know by now, Bob Tatterson was defeated in the special election for Assembly District 24 last week. This election was always going to be a tough one, dependent on our ability to turn out our voters and hoping that the opposition would kind of sleep through this one. But there are some incredibly bright spots in the data. As Ben Wikler wrote in his Weekly News email, there are three great reasons to celebrate Bob's loss. First, Wikler links to a Twitter post by Anthony Chergosky (whom I've never heard of): "The GOP held this Assembly seat in a special election today, but this is another data point showing the shifts in the suburban WOW counties of Wisconsin. The district was Trump +24 in 2016, Trump +17 in 2020, and Melotik (the GOP candidate) +7 today." Wikler's second reason looks to future elections because the extensive canvassing the Democrats accomplished "found people who rarely vote, but when they do, they vote for Democrats" and also "found people who used to vote Republican, but now feel that the GOP has gone off the deep end." The third reason is so far just a hope: that what he terms "cartoonishly rigged district lines may be redrawn before the elections in 2024." If that happens and the result is even a somewhat competitive district, I'm betting Bob will run again. AND WIN!

Meanwhile, in Michigan legal news, the 16 fraudulent "electors" have been indicted on eight felony counts each last week. The charges include "forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery" among others. One of them, Michele Lundgren, claims she was duped. You can see a WDIV 4 news report on YouTube. Lundgren's version is undermined somewhat by the fact that she and three others "appeared at the state Capitol on December 14, 2020, with then-state Rep. Daire Rendon, who said the 'electors' were there to cast their votes." In the video of the face-off at the state capitol, we can hear several people in the group claiming to be "electors." The indictments in Michigan are the first to accuse any of the fraudulent electors of crimes. Georgia is still investigating but has given eight fake electors immunity deals "in an ongoing criminal investigation into efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election there" (CNN politics, May 5,2023). It's not clear why Attorney General Kaul is not pursuing the matter in Wisconsin.

In another promising development, the Michigan Bureau of Elections — the equivalent of our Wisconsin Elections Commission — has notified the Shelby Township clerk, one Stan Grot, that he is now "prohibited from administering elections" while the felony charges stemming from his participation in the fake electors scheme are still pending. According to the AP, "conducting elections is one of the primary duties of a clerk. Grot is an elected official and will continue in his other roles as township clerk, such as preparing agendas and recording meetings." And Grot is not alone. Tina Peters, a former clerk in Colorado, is accused of trying to "breach voting system technology that is used across the country following the 2020 election." And then there's Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, who was removed from his elected position as a county commissioner for his role in the January 6 insurrection. The case is important because it is so far the only time "an elected official has been removed from office for their participation or support of the US Capitol riot. It also marks the first time a judge has formally ruled that the events of January 6, 2021, were an 'insurrection' (CNN politics, September 6, 2022)."


We should all be luxuriating in this relatively quiet period in Wisconsin, absent any elections until February 20, 2024. That will be the primary for non-partisan positions, like judges, county boards, school boards, village and town boards and the like. The general spring election AND presidential preference primary will be held on April 2. We'll be trying to keep our fingers on the various pulses out there in the meantime. But issue advocacy never ends. And to that end, it's important that as many people as possible stay engaged. One thing you can do is call or write voters in Ohio to urge the defeat of Issue 1 appearing on their ballots on August 8 (two weeks from today). Make calls with various groups by signing up here. Write letters with Vote Forward by signing up on the Vote Forward site.

Another thing you can do, right here in Milwaukee, is attend a planning meeting the League of Progressive Seniors is holding on Friday, July 28, to figure out how to be a "presence" at the first GOP debate here in Milwaukee on August 23. The planning meeting is being held at Knickerbocker Condos, 1028 East Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee, at 11:30am. Come with your ideas. But let Patty Yunk, 414-218-1299, know you're coming so there will be a lunch for you.


Turning to the future, we can already see some worrying things and some really bright spots without even considering the excited pronouncements every day about federal and state indictments coming for TRE45ON any day now. Among the clouds on the horizon: the No Labels organization — in some contexts on some days a political party but on other days just a simple organization proposing various "common sense" ideas. It styles itself as "an insurance policy" and says it should be welcomed as an expansion of choices for Americans. But do not be fooled. While I'm not altogether sure what their end goal is, it's pretty clear that if they manage to get on the ballot in November 2024 in the "swing states" and enough other states, they could make a difference in the outcome.

As many political pundits have warned, though, its Third-Whatever (Party?) is really A Plan that Will Re-elect Trump. Third Way, which is also a centrist group, points out that the No Labels plan is "offering an illusion, not a choice" (March 7, 2023). While No Labels spokespeople and publicity claim that the "moderate independent ticket has a real and viable path to victory," the Third Way folks beg to differ. "Rather than producing a third-party ticket that would defy the overwhelming odds and win, No Labels is on track to field a spoiler who would re-elect Trump or a Trump-like Republican. Problem Solver Democrats, close allies of No Labels, are reported to be 'in open revolt' over their 2024 plans, because it’s so clear they would hurt Democrats and help Trump." The election is still over a year away but it's never too early to recognize danger and to organize to avert it.

In very bright news, two different publications point out that young voters actually vote, unlike many of the generations that came before them. Celinda Lake and Mac Heller write: "2024 won’t be a Trump-Biden replay. You can thank Gen Z for that." They base their prognostication on the demographic changes that have taken place since 2016. So "between Trump’s election in 2016 and the 2024 election, the number of Gen Z (born in the late 1990s and early 2010s) voters will have advanced by a net 52 million against older people. That’s about 20 percent of the total 2020 eligible electorate of 258 million Americans." They go on to show that Gen Z, unlike previous Gens, vote. The Washington Post op-ed is gifted to you, so go ahead and read it all.

More recently "‘This Is a Really Big Deal’: How College Towns Are Decimating the GOP" also looks at younger voters, starting with what happened in Dane County in April. The American Communities Project produces typologies of US counties, among which are 171 counties that are considered college towns.

Of those 171 places, 38 have flipped from red to blue since the 2000 presidential election. Just seven flipped the other way, from blue to red, and typically by smaller margins. Democrats grew their percentage point margins in 117 counties, while 54 counties grew redder. By raw votes, the difference was just as stark: The counties that grew bluer increased their margins by an average of 16,253, while Republicans increased their margins by an average of 4,063.

Back in 2000, the places identified as college towns by ACP voted 48 percent to 47 percent in favor of Al Gore. In the last presidential election, the 25 million who live in those places voted for Joe Biden, 54 percent to 44 percent.

It's no wonder that Cleta Mitchell, a *rump lawyer and MAGA political operative, is urging conservatives to "band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters" (Washington Post, April 20, 2023).

Finally, just a heads up about two initiatives on the horizon: this fall the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will begin some weekend canvasses to reach people the party hasn't talked to recently. The goal, of course, is to expand the Democratic electorate. The party will be doing "deep canvassing," an issue-oriented technique designed to elicit voters' concerns so that they can be addressed. You'll hear more about that from me in coming newsletters. Grassroots North Shore is also considering calling people in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties who are being purged from the voter rolls. Our goal is to reach people who want to be registered to vote next year and to help them do what is needed. Keep these two initiatives in mind as you make plans for September, October, and November.


Wednesday, July 26

Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue, 6:00 - 9:00pm
Islamic Society of Milwaukee, 4707 South 13th Street, Milwaukee

People of all faiths and no faith, all spiritualities and theologies will gather in small groups to share a meal and participate in a moderated discussion using a proven model, evoking deep exchanges about lived experiences and the role of faith and/or spirituality in their lives. Through exploration and dialogue, participants learn about the beliefs and traditions of others within an atmosphere of respect and understanding, and are empowered to stand as witnesses for tolerance and inclusion. Sign up.

WRITE TO OH VOTERS, 7:00 - 8:00pm

Join Vote Forward, Stand Up America, and volunteers across the country in writing letters to voters in Ohio ahead of the special election happening on August 8. Whether you’re writing letters for the first time or you’re an experienced letter writer looking to refine your message, this event is for you. The most common question we receive at Vote Forward is: "what should I write?" This letter writing event is the personalized, in depth answer to that question. Vote Forward staff will help you craft an effective, personal message to voters. Sign up.

Friday, July 28

League of Women Voters Cafe Book Club, 10:00am
Summit Building, 6737 West Washington Street, West Allis

Our July book club selection is 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Feel free to pick just a single story or a single part or a few parts or a poem or two to read. At our meeting, we will take turns talking about what we read in particular. After that, we will open it up for discussion. Co-Facilitators: Marie Garnhart, Pat McFarland, Mary Ellen Spicuzza.

League of Progressive Seniors, 11:30am
Knickerbocker Condos, 1028 East Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee

The the League of Progressive Seniors is hosting an organizing meeting to plan a demonstration/action against the Republicans Presidential Debate on August 23, 2023, at the Fiserv Forum. We hope you will be able to attend and offer your organizations ideas. Whether it is a Press Conference, March, Street Theater or a combination or something totally new out of the box, LPS hopes you will be willing to join us. Lunch will be served, so please let us know how many guests we can expect. RSVP with Patty Yunk, 414-218-1299.

Saturday, July 29

Cartoon Skills Workshop with Eric Orner, 10:00 - 11:30am
Milwaukee Public Library, Good Hope Branch, 7715 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee

Learn to bring your cartoon characters to life during this fast-paced and interactive 90-minute workshop. Eric Orner has worked as a Disney animator and his published comic strips and illustrations have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New Republic. In 2021, Metropolitan Books published his graphic novel, Smahtguy:The Life and Times of Barney Frank. For ages 10+. Registration requested.

Wisconsin Dems Park Cleanup! 11:00am - 1:00pm
Noyes Park, 8235 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee

Come join your fellow Democrats at 11AM Saturday July 29th, at Noyes Park for a little tidying up! Let's all take some pride in making this staple of the community a sight to see and who knows, you might even meet some new people in the area! Make sure to bring a friend or two! Sign up.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
92nd and North Ave

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

One Smaht Guy: A Biography of Barney Frank, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Milwaukee Public Library, Good Hope Branch, 7715 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee

Author Eric Orner will read from and talk about his graphic novel, “Smahtguy,” a biography of Barney Frank, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Eric is a former Congressional aide to Frank. He is also the creator of The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, one of the country’s first and longest-running gay comic strips. Eric has also published comic strips and illustrations in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New Republic. His cartoon story “Weekends Abroad” was included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2011. Books will be available for purchase from Boswell Books.

Tuesday, August 1

Investiture of Justice Janet Protasiewicz, 4:30pm
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

We worked hard to get her there. And she worked even harder. With an 11% victory, we all deserve a party! The investiture will take place in the State Capitol building. (If you want a seat, be sure to arrive early.) It will be followed by a reception on Monona Terrace. Please RSVP.

Wednesday, August 2

We All Belong: MICHA & WISDOM Event, 1:00 - 3:30pm
MLK Statue, 1740 N Doctor MLK Jr. Dr., Milwaukee

Protect Our Democracy. Reject "christian" Nationalism. Build the Beloved Community. 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM Press Conference; 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM March to Mt. Zion Baptist Church; 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Program.

Thursday, August 3

Protect Our Democracy: Reject Christian Nationalism, 1:00 - 4:00pm
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2207 N. 2nd St., Milwaukee

WISDOM will hold a press conference, march, and program (Stay tuned for more information soon!).

Saturday, August 5

Brown Deer Dem Team Launch, 12:00 - 2:00pm
Kurt Schulz Deli & Pastry Shoppe, 8752 N Deerwood Dr, Brown Deer

Join other Democrats in your area to launch a Brown Deer volunteer action team! We will be getting together, talking politics, and planning out what we can do to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2024. No need to sign up. Just come!

Sunday, August 6

Whitefish Bay/Shorewood Bridge Building Canvassing, 12:00 - 3:00
4845 N Newhall St, Whitefish Bay

Join the Whitefish Bay and Shorewood Dems for a volunteer meetup and neighborhood canvass! We'll be talking to voters about the issues that matter most to them ahead next year's crucial elections. First time canvassing? No problem! Our organizer will walk you through everything you need to know to knock doors. All you need to bring is yourself, your best walking shoes, and a fully charged phone. Sign up.

Tuesday, August 8

WisPolitics + Milwaukee Press Club, 11:45am - 1:15pm
Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, 750 N Lincoln Memorial Drive, Suite 320, Milwaukee

Walker now is president of Young America’s Foundation [YAF], an outreach organization that introduces young adults to principles of conservatism such as individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. Walker will take questions from a panel of journalists and from the audience at the luncheon, to be moderated by Milwaukee Press Club President Maryann Lazarski, series/documentary producer for Milwaukee PBS. The media panel includes Charles Benson (TMJ4 News), Jesse Opoien (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), and Matt Smith (WISN 12 News). The cost to attend is $25 for MPC members, $30 for non-members and $20 for students. Lunch is included. Registration deadline is Friday, August 4. Seating is limited. Register.


Monday, August 14

North Shore Fair Maps, 7:00 - 8:30pm

Former US Senator (WI) Russ Feingold, president of the American Constitution Society on The Constitution in Jeopardy. Are you worried about a new Constitutional Convention? If not, you may be after you check out this Facebook page. RSVP HERE.

Tuesday, August 29 through Tuesday, September 26

WISDOM 5 Week Fall Training Series, every Tuesday from 6:30 - 8:00pm

Please join us for our 5-week Fall Training Series every Tuesday night from August 29-September 26. We are excited to cover a variety of topics about community organizing. Whether you're a new WISDOM member, an old timer or need a refresher - we welcome you to come learn from our leaders within our network! Once you register, you will recieve your Zoom information within a few minutes. It is the same Zoom link for all 5 sessions. You can choose to attend one or all sessions. If you have any questions please contact Amanda Ali, WISDOM's Digital Organizer.

Wednesday, August 30 - Tuesday, September 5

The Golden Rule, an historic sailboat, docks in Milwaukee
The Golden Rule, a storied sailboat that helped bring about an end to atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, will stop in Milwaukee Aug 31 - Sep 5 as part of a 15-month, 11,000-mile voyage to inform and educate the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation. A number of public events will be held, and speakers / crew members will be available for presentations at schools, churches or other venues during the four-day visit. Boat tours and visits with the crew will be offered every afternoon. (See a real-time map of the boat's journey.) The Golden Rule is a project of Veterans For Peace.

Sunday, September 10

Keeping Our Kids Safe at School Rally, 12:30pm
North Point Water Tower Park, 2288 N Lake Dr, Milwaukee

It’s back-to-school time and it’s time we back common sense gun safety laws to protect our kids! Parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, students — we all have a stake in this issue. HEAR from WAVE, Moms Demand Action, Brady, State Senator LaTonya Johnson, and Students. VOLUNTEER to turn your concern into action. BE VISIBLE Join our short march up North Ave. to Murray Ave. RSVP.

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