The NFL's Tush Push

What a way to finish the year! A week ago, I wrote about the elections happening as I typed. In the bit about the governor's race in Kentucky, I wrote that Democrat Andy Beshear's campaign focused on abortion rights while Daniel Cameron, his Republican opponent and Mitch McConnell protegé (and not a MAGA type), put inflation in his spotlight. I concluded, "It will be interesting to see what comes of this first head-to-head messaging war." Well now we know: the freedom to make your own decisions about your own body won big. And that has been the case in every special and off-year election since June 2022, when the Roe v. Wade was overturned.

So what does this newsletter have to do with the latest NFL gambit to win very close 4th down plays and goal line stands — the Tush Push? (Listen to a description and discussion of the tush push on NPR.) That's when the team with the ball gets behind the quarterback to help push him over the line to gain. In terms of our scary political moment, we find ourselves with lots of big, worrying punditry discouraging us with much hand-wringing and bed-wetting about next year's election, especially the presidential race. And there is much to worry about. But one big-wig in the election opinion biz is pushing hard in the other direction. Providing us with our own team's Tush Push, so to speak.

Simon Rosenberg, political analyst and upbeat author of the Hopium Chronicles, has several posts reviewing all the good data that came after the awful day Dobbs came down. Here's a great summary:

Our current political moment began in the spring of 2022 when Dobbs happened, Uvalde and other mass shootings happened, extremist Republican abortion trigger laws took effect and when the January 6th Committee began its public work. 3 days after Dobbs our candidate in an unfunded Nebraska house special election outperformed our 2020 results by 10 points. In the 5 House specials after Dobbs our candidates outperformed 2020 by an average of 7 points in what was supposed to be a good year for Republicans. Democrats and women in particular started registering to vote in much higher numbers; our candidates dramatically out-raised Republican candidates; we blew it out in the early vote in state after state; and then in the battleground states we outperformed expectations and gained ground over 2020 in AZ, CO, GA, MI, MN, NH and PA, getting to 59% in CO, 57% in Pennsylvania, 55% in Michigan and 54% in New Hampshire. Our performance in 2022 would have been encouraging in a good year; that it happened in a “red wave” made it even more extraordinary.

This heightened Democratic performance, and sluggish Republican performance, has carried over to 2023. In 33 state house and senate elections across the US we’ve outperformed 2020 by 6.2 pts. A broader analysis of the elections leading up to November 7th had us outperforming the partisan lean of districts by 10 points. We flipped two of the largest Republican-held cities in the country, Jacksonville and Colorado Springs. We took away that Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, getting 56% of the vote. We got to 57% in the August Ohio Vote No ballot initiative. Like 2022, in the elections leading up the 2023 November election Dems just kept overperforming.

Then the 2023 election came, and once again we saw overperformance. Beshear got a higher percentage of the vote in KY than he did in 2019. We kept the Senate in Virginia, and did something few thought was possible, flipped the House too. We got to 57% in Ohio - a jawdropping achievement. We picked up state legislative seats in New Jersey. We had big wins in municipal races across the US, and in school board races too. Like the 2022 election, Democrats outperformed expectations in 2023, performing at the upper end of what was possible for us even in red states.

Chris Hayes, on MSNBC on Wednesday, November 8, gave a wonderful trip through the elections of the previous night and really shows how "overperformance" works out and what it means. It runs more than 8 minutes but it's worth every second. The 538 chart Hayes uses can be found here. If you look at the chart, you will be able to spot two Wisconsin special elections — in SD-08 on April 4 and in AD-24 on July 18. Democrats did, alas, lose those contests but note how big the swings toward Democratic candidates were! That's also part of the political Tush Push.

Keep in mind that "overperform" does not mean "win." It means that compared to the partisan lean of a given electoral district, Democrats won a larger percentage of the overall vote, sometimes by a lot. The other thing to keep in mind about Rosenberg's account is that all the elections he summarizes were state or local affairs. The work we do — every day — produces these outcomes. Talking to people and turning out the like-minded during election periods — urging people to vote absentee, during early in-person voting, or on election day — can pay huge dividends.

Rosenberg makes it plain: YOU produce the astonishing wins. "Our grassroots is stronger than it’s ever been, and keeps driving our performance to the upper end of what’s possible in election after election in all parts of the country. While the Republican Party is in trouble, Democrats are thriving." Today, he put up a page with links to his various analyses, video presentations, and podcasts. If you need some upbeat political news, try some Hopium.

Closer to home, you may have missed the news that a Dane County judge has ordered former Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Patience Roggensack "to produce all records related to her involvement in a panel of former justices tasked with exploring the prospect of impeaching a current member of the state’s high court." The other two former justices (both of whom apparently advised the Assembly not to engage in impeaching the newest justice) and Speaker Robin Vos have all turned over their documents already. But lest you think the issue of impeaching Justice Protasiewicz is now behind us, think again. In the same Wisconsin State Journal article the author writes: "Vos has said he would still weigh impeaching Protasiewicz depending on how she rules in the redistricting case."

In really pressing matters, oral arguments in Rebecca Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, the case in front of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin (SCOWIS), take place starting at 8:45am on Tuesday, November 21, at the state Capitol. At 9:00am, a rally will take place inside the Capitol (see the flyer for full details). There will also be rallies at noon at the Milwaukee State Office Building (819 N. Sixth St, Milwaukee), at the Brown County Court House in Green Bay (100 S. Jefferson St, Green Bay), and at the Eau Claire County Courthouse (721 Oxford Ave, Eau Claire). You can watch the arguments at SCOWIS on WisconsinEye. And you can read the Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief submitted by the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, of which Grassroots North Shore is a member. The outcome of this case may very well determine whether Wisconsin will have new, and fairer, election district maps for the Assembly and State Senate in 2023.

Now, in keeping with this strangely optimistic newsletter, a little light ending: Jordan Klepper (of The Daily Show) interviews TFG's supporters.


Tuesday, November 14

Overcoming Barriers to Voting & Election Administration Challenges, 6:15 - 8:00pm

The third briefing session the League of Women Voters WI is holding focuses on election administration and protecting election workers; current barriers to voting and what can be done; and the LWVUS moonshot goal overview: abolishing the Electoral College; and the status of achieving the National Popular Vote. Register for this session.

Wednesday, November 15

LWV Natural Resources Committee, 6:00pm

Louise Petering will present information about reviving the Observer Corps in the context of a natural resources focus. Others will provide updates on their respective foci: renewable energy, the State League Natural Resources Committee efforts and the Coalition on Lead Emergency, etc. We will again discuss planning for a Public Issues Forum. Everyone, including non-members, are welcome. Join the Zoom meeting. Meeting ID: 810 1955 1640 | Passcode 365620. Questions? Please contact Ann Batiza at 414-238-3903.

EMERGE Wisconsin Woman of the Year 2023, 6:00pm
Greenhouse 7, 524 S Layton Blvd, Milwaukee

Join us as we celebrate the acheievements of Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski, as well as take the time to reconnect with our Emerge family at the return of Woman of the Year! Buy tickets.

Oz Dems Monthly Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton

Join us at our Grafton Office as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

Friday, November 17

League of Progressive Seniors Workshop & Discussion, 9:30am
Knickerbocker Hotel, Juneau Rm, 1028 E Juneau, Milwaukee

Neglect and Abuse: Partisan Policies are Leaving WI Children Far Behind. Presented by the League of Progressive Seniors and Souls to the Polls WI. Join us on an update on how Wisconsin is underfunding early childhood care and education and why this matters to seniors. Expert panelists will discuss how we can make sure children from birth to 3 years of age have a chance to excel, what's needed for growth, and what is really happening. For more info and to RSVP, email [email protected].

Marisabel for Milwaukee, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Black Husky Brewery, 909 E Locust St, Milwaukee

A free, no donation required meet and greet. Come meet Marisabel and enjoy Ians Pizza with Eastside voters and community members. Featuring hosts: Alderperson Jonathan Brostoff, Shorewood Village President Ann McCullough McKaig, and Attorney John Rhiel. Sign up.

Saturday, November 18

The State of Black Milwaukee Call to Action, 8:00am (CST)
St Matthew C.M.E. Church, 2944 N 9th St, Milwaukee and Online

Join Community Brainstorming Conference November 18th to discuss The State of Black Milwaukee Call to Action! Plus the added bonus of #breakfast #buildingcommunity. More information. Meeting ID: 585 057 0277 Passcode: CBC2003

Learn (on Zoom) to Register WI Democrats (In Person)! 12:00 - 1:00pm (CST)

Want to do something concrete to fight voter suppression and elect more Democrats in the crucial state of Wisconsin? Learn to register Democrats, the Field Team 6 way! It's the #1 most direct, effective way to swing elections – and it's also incredibly fun. We'll introduce you to Field Team 6, let you in on all the secrets of successful voter registration, and answer all your questions. You'll leave the call fired up, and knowing everything you need to lead your own voter drive! Sign up.

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

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

Sunday, November 19

Redistricting Lawsuit Rally, 9:00 - 10:00am
Wisconsin State Capitol, 2 E Main St, Madison

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission redistricting lawsuit on Tuesday, November 21 at 9:45 AM. We want to let them know what we, as Wisconsinites, want - fair maps that equitably represent our communities. Can't make it to Madison? Join a companion rally near you at NOON in:
        Milwaukee at State Office Bldg, 819 N. Sixth St.
        Green Bay at Brown County Courthouse, 100 S. Jefferson St.
        Eau Claire at Eau Claire County Courthouse, 721 Oxford Ave.

Thursday, November 23

Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 25

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
St. Paul and Water, Milwaukee

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

Tuesday, November 28

Marisabel for Milwaukee Kickoff & Fundraiser, 5:00 - 7:30pm
Amalinda, 315 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Marisabel Cabrera is a Wisconsin pro-choice and LGBT leader. Join Team Marisabel supporters for an intimate evening of fine dining bites and snacks, inspired by the flavors of Spain & Portugal, incorporating local ingredients. Featuring beloved Chef Gregory Len, James Beard Award Nominee 2022, 2023. Hosts: former Rep Sandy Pasch and many more! Learn more about Marisabel. RSVP REQUIRED.

Sarah Harrison Campaign Kickoff, 5:30pm
19115 W Capitol Dr #100, Brookfield

Join us on Thursday, November 28 at North Star Bistro to kick off Sarah Harrison’s campaign for State Assembly District 13! AD13 includes Brookfield, Elm Grove and a little scoop of Tosa. Sarah is running for Assembly District 13 to restore our reproductive freedom, fully fund our public schools, and invest in our local communities. As a small business owner and mother of two teenagers, Sarah understands the challenges we face in AD13. Donate and RSVP.


Wednesday, November 29

On the Issues: Wisconsin Election Outlook, 12:15 - 1:15
Eckstein Hall | Lubar Center (1215 W Michigan, Milwaukee) and online

Lubar Center Director Derek C. Mosley will talk with Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll and professor of law and public policy; Craig Gilbert, Lubar Center Fellow, and longtime journalist in Washington, D.C., whose election analysis appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Julia Azari, professor of political science at Marquette University and a regular contributor to national discussions of politics. They will discuss Wisconsin's 2024 election outlook, including the effects of changes in voter demographics and highlights of polling data on some of the state's most significant issues. Sign up.

Tuesday, December 12

Marisabel for Milwaukee Southside Campaign Launch Birthday Celebration and Holiday Party5:00 - 7:00pm
Broken Bat Brewing Co., 135 E Pittsburgh Ave, Milwaukee

An event to celebrate the Holiday Season and Rep. Marisabel Cabreras Birthday. Featuring host: Milwaukee Common Council President Jos Prez. Sign up.

Monday, December 18

Join Us for a Rally and Fundraiser for Evan Goyke for City Attorney!5:00 - 7:00pm
Best Place at the Historic Pabst, 917 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee

Join Host Senator LaTonya Johnson for a special event for Evan Goyke. This is a time to sign nomination papers, get yard signs, raise money, sign up to endorse, support, and volunteer! Donate and/or sign up.

Wednesday, December 20

Oz Dems Monthly Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton

Join us at our Grafton Office as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

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