election problems loom

While we're all holding our breath or crossing our fingers waiting for Special Counsel Jack Smith to indict TFG (see NBC News coverage), we're also waiting for the US Supreme Court to vitiate the remaining section of the Voting Rights Act that still permits aggrieved voters to turn to the federal courts for relief. That opinion, like the indictment, could drop any day now. (See NPR's coverage from October 2022 and an AP story in Daily Kos that also reviews the history of the Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act.) In this pregnant pause, other important national news is not getting the coverage it deserves.

I want to call your attention to four pieces about how elections in this country are changing. First, Open Secrets — a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks money in U.S. politics — recently published The nationalization of political contributions and the rising role of out-of-state donations. The piece demonstrates that "federal candidates are increasingly reliant on out-of-state contributions." But it opens with data from the April 4 election in Wisconsin. "Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal, outraised her conservative opponent Daniel Kelly five to one. More than $2.6 million of Protasiewicz’s $14 million fundraising haul came from out-of-state donors." So the percent of her funds from out-of-state remained modest compared to the money she raised in state, from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as well as from individuals. The point is, though, that even down-ballot races are attracting funds from people who cannot vote for the candidate in question. And it may mean that big dollar donors, like the Uihleins, will dominate races everywhere.

Second, Republican-led states like Texas and Florida "have resigned their membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan data clearinghouse that helps states keep their voter rolls accurate and up-to-date" (New York Times, 6/6/2023). Why is this a problem? It turns out that ERIC is the only "comprehensive, secure and useful database of voter information. That information — drawn from voter rolls, D.M.V. records, Social Security death records and change-of-address data — gets analyzed, matched and compiled into reports that are provided to the states to help them clean up their rolls." Without ERIC, states have no way to communicate and coordinate voter information with each other.

ERIC uses states' information to identify people who have moved, either within a state or to another state, and have not remembered to change their status as a voter in their old location. But recently, MAGA Republicans have begun vilifying ERIC with the usual rhetorical accusations: the program is dominated by the left, funded by George Soros, connected to Democratic Party databases, and so on — none of it true, of course. And the point of the exodus? To allow voting rolls to become bloated and to foster a kind of chaos. That way they can point to poorly maintained voter rolls in their continuing efforts to restrict access to the ballot to shore up "election integrity." And Voila! Bring on more voter suppression.

Third, YouTube has now reversed its policy of preventing certain false "information" about prior elections from circulating on its platform. "YouTube will leave up content that says fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 presidential election and other U.S. elections" (Election Law Blog, 6/2/2023). The policy removing such content was established in December 2020, but now the company is concerned about squashing campaign speech without having a discernible effect on the threat of violence. The story first appeared in Axios.

This fourth piece returns to the pending Supreme Court decision on a case about racial gerrymandering. Richard Hasan, a constitutional law professor and scholar, and Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate reporter covering the courts and the law, find that There’s Unsettling New Evidence About William Rehnquist’s Views on Segregation. The article shows that, in 1952, Rehnquist seemed to support the infamous reasoning in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case that pronounced the 14th Amendment protected racial equality before the law but could not be the foundation for establishing social equality for Black people. Rehnquist still believed Plessy was correctly decided as late as 1993, when as Chief Justice he wrote a memo to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saying "The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination; it does not require integration, and I think it is a mistake to intimate that it does even as a 'goal.'"

Hasan and Lithwick then draw the connection between Rehnquist's views and those of the current conservative justices: "Tragically, Rehnquist’s thinking on the 14th Amendment currently infects the conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court and could have devastating consequences for the end of this term." The piece concludes, "In short, Rehnquist consistently contended—and the current Supreme Court majority is likely to contend—that the Reconstruction Amendments were drafted not to protect disadvantaged groups from racially biased treatment at the hands of the government but rather to prohibit the government from using race-conscious measures to ever remediate inequality." If their reasoning is correct, we will see the court undermine the Voting Rights Act in their forthcoming opinion in Allen v. Milligan, a redistricting case "challenging Alabama’s congressional map" that diluted Black votes (Brennan Center for Justice, 9/29/2022).

On the large and increasing field of Republican candidates vying for the presidential nomination, Josh Marshal has an interesting (and somewhat amusing) take. Schrodinger’s Candidates: They’re Running and Not Running at the Same Time looks at the field and surmises that "aside from Trump, all of the people running for President in the GOP primary, with the semi-exception of Ron DeSantis, aren’t actually running for President. Normally, long shot entrants at least think they have some chance or they have some plan for career advancement by making a solid showing. But in this race, every candidate is in that category." Marshall posits that these people are probably thinking that running now is good preparation for their real campaign in 2028. He notes that "They’re running, sort of. But they’re not saying anything out of line with Trump and they’re definitely not criticizing Trump. Ferreting out the implicit critiques amounts almost to a latter-day variant of Kremlinology."

Last week, Politico published ‘Numbers Nobody Has Ever Seen’: How the GOP Lost Wisconsin. The piece asks "Did abortion make Wisconsin a blue state again?" It's long, chatty, and leans heavily on talking to and quoting people — some ordinary folks and some dignitaries from both parties. But it has some interesting bits. For example, it reveals that Scott Walker thinks his elections and Ron Johnson's were exceptions. Then Walker said, “Wisconsin has historically, and I think largely continues to be, a blue state.” An even more stunning statement reveals that "If you lopped Dane County off the map and didn’t count any votes there, Protasiewicz still would have won. Same thing if you excluded Democrat-heavy Milwaukee." The clincher for the 2023 election: Ben Wikler (Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair) said, "abortion was so salient not only in Democratic-leaning areas of the state, but in redder, rural areas, too." It behooves us to pay attention to how much this one issue moves the needle. "Abortion, while slightly more resonant an issue for voters in the Democratic-leaning media markets around Madison, Milwaukee and Eau Claire/La Crosse, was the main vote driver for Protasiewicz in every market in the state."

There's little of note happening just this minute in the Wisconsin's political scene. Hence my focus on big national issues. But I like to bow out with a little bit of spice. So here it is. From Talking Points Memo, "George Santos Falls On Sword For Mystery Donors: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has told a judge he’d rather be taken into custody pre-trial than reveal the donors who co-signed on his $500,000 bond."


Read more
1 reaction Share

Elections past and future haunt us

The big news of the weekend, of course, is the deal President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy reached to raise the debt ceiling until 2025. Before looking at the details, we should admire and rejoice at Dark Brandon's political jujitsu. The deal means that there will be no opportunity for MAGA Republicans to shut down the government during budget negotiations this fall and no opportunity to use the debt ceiling as a hostige again until after the 2024 elections. Masterful. But that's of course not all.

Although I am one of those people who thought the President ought not to negotiate at all with people who basically think it might be a good thing to crash the economy, Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo makes a really good point. Like me, he was adamantly opposed to Biden engaging in negotiations in the first place. But as he points out, "Something like this set of concessions was more or less baked in the moment Republicans won control of the House. There was always going to be a budget negotiation this fall that shifted fiscal policy to the right. Again, baked in as soon as Republicans won the House." He goes on to say, "That’s why to me this is a very big win both in policy and political terms. In fact, such a big win that I’m still not totally clear how it came about. Once Biden started negotiating and appeared to rule out extraordinary measures, I was sure he was going to get taken to the cleaners. Somehow he didn’t. Score another one for Dark Brandon."

Here at home, we're finally going to see some public account of how the phony elector scheme started and worked (or didn't, of course). Remember the matter of the bogus "electors" who tried to construct the pretext for overthrowing the 2020 presidential election? Well, the issue has new life. The Fake Electors lawsuit Democrats filed in May, 2022, has been set for trial on September 3, 2024, and is scheduled to last a month (Urban Milwaukee, May 25, 2023). Dane County Judge Frank Remington set the trial schedule last week. Democrats are arguing that "the 10 Republicans and two attorneys who advised them broke a variety of laws, including one that bans people from falsely acting as public officials. Plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages of up to $2.4 million." Jeff Mandell, the lead attorney for the Democrats, "noted that one of the goals for plaintiffs was to prevent Republican plaintiffs from serving as electors in future elections. Mandell said the next slates of electors would be chosen in October 2024."

In early May, the same judge ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission, which had unanimously rejected a complaint about these pretend electors, first filed in 2021, to revive it. In his ruling, Judge Frank Remington wrote, "To emphasize, Wisconsin voters chose none of these persons to serve as presidential elector — on the contrary, each had been named to serve as the potential electors for a losing candidate." You can read the details in full at the PBS News Hour. His order requires the Commission to give "no deference to or consideration of its previous decision."

Are you tired of the anti-majoritarian institution, the Electoral College, enabling a candidate to win the presidency while losing the popular vote? The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is for you: See Robert Reich explain it. Minnesota just joined the Compact. The matter is still pending in Michigan. It's of course a long shot in Wisconsin and not just because the state legislature is thoroughly controlled by a political party that stands to lose a lot of presidential elections in the future if the nationwide popular vote determines the winner. Wisconsin would stand to lose its outsized influence in presidential elections. Why? Because there would no longer be "swing states" who get all the candidates' attention (and advertising money!). Nevertheless, it is the only way to rid ourselves of minority rule through the structure of the Electoral College without amending the US Constitution. And boy would it be worth it. With the NPVIC, John Kerry would have won in 2000 and Hillary Clinton would have won in 2016!

One of our three branches of national government — the judiciary — has fallen into disrepute, it seems. Or perhaps it is just the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that has earned the disapproval of the population. The latest Marquette Law School poll, released on Wednesday, May 23, shows that disapproval in the survey conducted May 8 - May 18 has reached 59% while approval has slumped to 41%. The same poll conducted one year ago showed approval at 44% and disapproval at 55%. This poll only began 2.75 years ago, in mid-September 2020. Since then approval has plummeted from 66% then to a mere 41% now. Disapproval has risen just as dramatically: from 33% in September 2020 to 59% now, an increase of 26%! We can see disapproval of the court rising rapidly in just the last five months. Among Republicans, approval has dropped nine points since mid-January, 2023. The ratio of disapproval to approval among independents has stayed roughly the same during that 5-month period: 2-1 disapproval. For Democrats, approval has dropped from 31% to 24% while disapproval has risen to 76%, a 3 to 1 ratio!

Make sure you're informed about the Special Election in Assembly District 24. The League of Women Voters Wisconsin plans to post its special election voter guide on VOTE411.org. If you live and vote in AD 24, make a note of the URL and check it periodically for useful information. (Right now it simply returns no information and states that there are no elections, which is wrong. So give it a week or so and then try.) Like Grassroots North Shore, the LWVWI reminds you that "it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you’re ready to be a voter. If you’re in the district, consider requesting your absentee ballot for the Special Election today! Also, help your friends, family, and neighbors make their voting plan." Election Day is July 18. The district encompasses Grafton (town and village), part of Mequon, Germantown (town and village), and Menomonee Falls. To find out whether you live in the district, visit the home page for the Wisconsin Legislature.

—— Take Action ——

You can send Bob Tatterson to the Assembly to protect essential freedoms, like a woman's right to choose, fully funded public schools, fair election maps, and much more. You can help in three ways if you live in Assembly District 24 (find out here by typing in your address):

  1. Volunteer with his campaign.
  2. Donate to his campaign.
  3. Vote for Bob
    • by absentee ballot (request one at MyVote.WI.gov);
    • early in person from July 5 through July 14 (in the office of your village/city clerk);
    • or go to the polls on Election Day, July 18.

If you DON'T live in AD24, concentrate on numbers 1 and 2 above.

You can strengthen our democracy by volunteering to register voters at one of Milwaukee's 3 DMV's. This is indoors in a safe environment under supervision of DMV management. The Teutonia DMV schedules two-hour shifts weekdays 8:20am - 4:45pm. Mill Road DMV schedules Saturday morning. All training and materials are supplied. The approach is non-partisan. Supermarket Legends provides voter education and encourages voters to use absentee ballots. This is very productive and rewarding work. Contact James Balk.

Protesting is also taking action. In this case, telling your cable provider that you don't want to pay even more than you're paying already (probably about $2 per subscriber per month) to have Fox News as part of your "Basic Cable" offerings. Media Matters has produced a site that will explain the whole thing and allow you to register your #UNFOXMYCABLEBOX views. It even allows you to calculate how much you've unknowingly paid in fees to Fox News.

Read more
1 reaction Share

A lot of tasty bits

I have finally understood that both the Washington Post and the New York Times offer subscribers 10 "gift links" per month and that they can be used in the Grassroots North Shore newsletter! So from now on, you can use those links to penetrate the paywalls these two important publications use. So click on the links with abandon. It apparently doesn't matter how many recipients use the links, only that the limit of 10 applies to the sender. Hurrah!

Today's newsletter begins with TRE45ON's troubles. This afternoon, the judge in the criminal proceedings brought by District Attorney Bragg will reiterate his protective order that is supposed to prevent TFG from using the discovery phase of the trial to share any information gleaned from the prosecution's evidence or to make disparaging remarks about witnesses, the prosecutors or the judge (Washington Post, May 23, 2023). E. Jean Carroll is seeking to amend her still pending defamation case (stemming from TFG's time in the White House) to include his latest remarks defaming her during his CNN Town Hall (ABC News, May 22, 2023). And Special Counsel Jack Smith has issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records of foreign business transactions since 2017 (Salon, May 23, 2023). Meanwhile, in Georgia DA Fani Willis has indicated that she will make indictments in all probability in early August (MSNBC, May 20, 2023). What with all these legal matters taking shape, it's a wonder the guy has time to golf!

Even his lawyers are deserting him. In a recent interview, Ty Cobb, "who worked for Trump from July 2017 and May 2018, said he was confident 'The Apprentice' star 'will go to jail' for obstruction for refusing DOJ requests to return classified documents after he left the White House." He told CNN's Erin Burnett last Thursday that “all they really have to do is show that Trump moved these documents at various times when DOJ was either demanding them or actually present. That he filed falsely with the Justice Department, had his lawyers file falsely with the Justice Department, an affidavit to the effect that none existed ― which was shattered by the documents that they then discovered after the search ― and the many other misrepresentations that he and others have made on his behalf with regard to his possession of classified documents." (Huffpost, May 21, 2023)

An article by Azi Paybarah and Jacqueline Alemany in the Washington Post spills the dirt former TFG lawyer Timothy Parlatore dishes on CNN just after he resigned from the classified documents case. According to Parlatore, he quit because Boris Epshteyn, a lawyer on the team and a close long-time associate of the orange man who once occupied the White House, “had really done everything he could to try to block us — to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president.” And the critique did not stop there: “In my opinion, he was not very honest with us or with the client on certain things,” Parlatore said of Epshteyn. “There were certain things like the searches that he had attempted to interfere with.”

Two big issues are on my mind lately. The first is the spate of book-banning all across the country but especially in Florida. Finally, someone is taking to the courts to push back. In DeSantis’s book banners face a tough new foe: Angry moms with lawyers, Greg Sargent notes: "In one of the big political surprises of 2023, pockets of stiff resistance have sprung up to defend teachers, textbooks, novels and libraries against censorship efforts across the country. These efforts just took an important turn, with a lawsuit filed by Florida parents in federal court Wednesday to try to stop book bans in school libraries in Escambia County. In an important twist, the lawsuit doesn’t directly target DeSantis’s laws or directives. Instead, it argues that the removals themselves are unconstitutional."

The other big issue I've been stewing about is gun violence. This year has already been more horrendous than past years and it's only May. Paul Waldman, also in the Washington Post, asks How many guns will it take to make us safe? His opinion piece argues that gun advocates are tacitly using an argument akin to the raising-taxes-cause-diminishing-returns nonsense Republicans have long touted. "Good-guy-with-a-gun proponents imply that there exists a kind of Laffer curve of gun murders that will be our liberation. Recall the quack economic theory propagated by Arthur Laffer positing that raising tax rates slightly from a low starting point might bring in more revenue, but further increases would cause revenue to fall as people discouraged by taxation stopped working. Gun advocates seem to assume a similar arc for the relationship of guns to gun violence: At some point, there will be so many guns that the trends will reverse, crime will be deterred, and all arguments will be resolved peacefully." Yes, that does seem to be the gun nuts' basic argument. And if you believe that malarky, I might have a bridge to sell.

An intriguing post on Daily Kos speculates about how possible new congressional maps for Wisconsin after Judge Protasiewicz is sworn in to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on August 1, might affect future elections in our congressional districts. The piece goes into substantial detail about two congressional districts that might be more competitive if new maps are adopted: WI 01 and WI 08. The more promising district is the 1st CD where the current representative is Republican Bryan Steil. The district encompasses southeastern Wisconsin and was once held by Paul Ryan. The optimism about CD1 is largely based on Protasiewicz's 53-47 win there. CD8 — Republican Mike Gallagher's district encompassing the Green Bay area — is somewhat more problematic. "OB-GYN Kristin Lyerly, who is one of the three doctors participating in Attorney General Josh Kaul's challenge to the state's 1849 abortion ban, says she's thinking about taking on Gallagher." Here's hoping.

And a final word on the upcoming special election in Assembly District 24. Bob Tatterson announced yesterday that he has gathered more than enough signatures to be on the ballot. Signatures are due in Madison tomorrow, May 24. Shortly after that we will know whether a primary will actually be necessary. One of the two Republicans listed on the Wisconsin Election Commission's form for tracking candidates has already turned in 369 valid signatures. The other Republican — Spencer Zimmerman, who oddly enough seems to reside in Janesville (well outside the boundaries of AD24) — has as yet filed neither a "Declaration of Candidacy" form nor any nomination papers. So we still don't know for sure whether there will be a primary. But we do know that Bob will need everyone's help. You can step up right now in two ways: (1) volunteer with his campaign; (2) DONATE.
Doctors Park, 1870 E Fox Lane, Fox Point

It's a party to celebrate our country's 247th birthday. John Nichols — National Editor for The Nation, Madison Editor of the Capitol Times, author of Dollarocracy and other books, and the Voice of Wisconsin Progressivism — will get us ready for 2024 with a talk on where we have been and where we are going. Bob Tatterson, now running in a special election for Assembly District 24, will also be on hand to speak, meet, and greet. Enjoy beverages and birthday cake. Bring your family, your folding chairs, and your hope for our future as we celebrate our good work in recent elections. RSVP.


If you missed some newsletters and want to catch up, you'll find them archived on our website.


Read more
1 reaction Share

endless sturm und drang

Let's start with news about the AD24 election. First I want to correct an error. The 24th AD includes the following communities:

  • In Ozaukee County: Town of Grafton (wards 1-6); Village of Grafton (wards 1-14); and City of Mequon (wards 1-4, 6, 10, 12);
  • In Washington County: Town of Germantown; Village of Germantown (wards 1-14);
  • In Waukesha County: Village of Menomonee Falls (wards 1-7, 9, 11).

It seems likely that there will be a June 20 primary involving at least two Republican candidates: Paul Melotik and Spencer Zimmerman. It is increasingly likely that Bob Tatterson WILL NOT have a challenger in the Democratic party. Nevertheless, if you live in the district, he will be on the primary ballot and really could use your vote. He could also use help RIGHT NOW getting signatures on his nominating papers. Again, if you live in the district and have not yet signed, please download the papers now, sign them (both as nominator and as circulator), and get them to Bob by Friday, May 19. The directions for filling out the form and for getting them to Bob are included.

We're now preparing to send postcards to support Bob Tatterson to 5000 strong and leaning Democratic women in AD24. And we need to buy a large number of stamps. The price of postcard stamps is set to increase on July 9 so we also want to purchase as many as we can to prepare for 2024. Help us beat the higher cost by donating to our stamp fund now. A roll of 100 stamps currently costs $48. You can send a check to Grassroots North Shore, PO Box 170684, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217-8056. (Please write "stamps" in the subject line.) Or you can go online to support our election actions.


In other more-or-less local news, Alex Lasry will be at the Waukesha County Democratic Party meeting on Thursday, May 18. He's running to be one of two Wisconsin representatives to the Democratic National Committee. This is an important position and it would be worthwhile to attend, especially if you happen to live near Waukesha. RSVP if you can go.

Wisconsin Republicans are stalling elections reforms even though they're gung-ho on "election integrity" (whatever that means). The 545 items Republicans have stripped from Evers' budget bill include reforms unanimously backed by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. The WEC recommended establishing an Office of Transparency and Compliance that would be headed by an elections inspector general. See more about this issue in Urban Milwaukee.

As the legislature tries to wrestle with the budget, you might be interested in "How municipal governments would fare under Assembly Republicans’ and Tony Evers’ shared revenue plans."

The "fake electors scheme" in Wisconsin is back in the news in two different judicial rulings, both by Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington. A lawsuit filed a year ago by two Democratic electors and a voter "alleges that the defendants broke several criminal and civil laws when they met at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in an attempt to cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump." The defendants wanted the lawsuit broken up and refiled in each county where a "fake elector" lives. Judge Remington ruled that "the law requires that the case be heard in Dane County where it was filed." The lawsuit seeks $2.4 million in restitution and disqualification of the 10 Republicans from serving as electors in the future.

In another action, Judge Remington ruled that the Wisconsin Election Commission must "reconsider a complaint filed against fake Republican electors." The election commission had dismissed the complaint earlier and had allowed Robert Spindell, one of the commissioners, to participate in the decision even though he was one of the "fake electors." The WEC and Commissioner Spindell together with those who had filed the complaint reached agreement that Spindell would not participate in the new WEC deliberation and decision. "The complaint asked the elections commission to investigate the fake electors' actions and declare that they broke the law (Spectrum News)."

Steve Schmidt, a former Republican consultant and prolific Substack author, writes today about the latest book-banning in Florida. The opening paragraph reads: "The state of Florida has banned textbooks that focus on the Holocaust under Governor Ron Desantis’s censorship laws that politicize and corrupt the teaching of history in Florida. All of this is a type of sick performance theater — a grotesque kabuki. Ron DeSantis has made an assessment that the fastest way to climb the greasy pole all the way to the top and reach the MAGA throne room is by engaging in poisonous theatrics that have come to include censorship of books about the Holocaust."

It's quite a long piece, ending with an address Elie Wiesel — Nobel Laureate, Holocaust survivor, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — delivered to the United Nations commemorating Auschwitz on January 24, 2005. Schmidt and Wiesel both insist on the "obligation of future generations to bear witness" to the Holocaust, which Schmidt calls "a singular event in human history." Schmidt ends his post with the following sentences: "There is a new extremism rising, and it is happening in America. It is being led by men like Ron DeSantis." Will there be any blowback from this book-banning and others? Is this really what we as a nation have become?

Enough darkness for one day. So here's your woo-hoo goody for the week: Racehl Maddow interviewed E. Jean Carroll and Robbie Kaplan last night. Carroll is likely to file another defamation lawsuit against TFG for remarks he made just the day after a jury found him liable for sexual assault and defamation. According to Kaplan, the potential new lawsuit won't have to adjudicate liability because it's already been adjudicated. Meaning that the new one, if it materializes, will only have to show that the former president defamed Carroll, again.

And one more thing: a Randy Rainbow tribute to Ron DeSantis. You'll love it.

Read more
1 reaction Share

and we're off and running!

Hallelujah! We finally have a special election for Assembly District 24 scheduled for July 18. Nomination papers began circulating on Friday, May 5. You can get Bob Tatterson's here.They must be filed in Madison by 5pm on May 23. If a primary is needed, it will be held on June 20. Bob Tatterson ran for this seat in the November 2022 elections but he was running against a long time incumbent. It's now an open seat, meaning there is no longer an incumbent. And having just run, Bob is prepared to give it his all. This is a huge opportunity to flip an Assembly seat from red to blue! Help him out by going to his website to volunteer or to donate.

Not everyone can vote in this important election. But everyone can do something to help the cause. Anyone can circulate nomination forms but only residents of the district can sign as nominators. So if you know voters in AD 24, you can ask them to sign the form. If you are a resident of the district, you can both circulate the form AND sign as a nominator. Be sure to follow the directions exactly! Assembly District 24 includes the following locations:

  • In Ozaukee County: Town of Grafton (wards 1-6); Village of Grafton (wards 1-14); and City of Mequon (wards 1-4, 6, 10, 12).

  • In Washington County: Town of Germantown; Village of Grafton (wards 1-14).

  • In Waukesha County: Village of Menomonee Falls (wards 1-7, 9, 11).

Grassroots North Shore is even now preparing postcards to be sent as soon as the candidates have qualified by turning in enough valid signatures on nomination forms. Norma Gilson will be recruiting people to write postcards. Nancy Kaplan will be recruiting people to follow up the postcards with phone calls. Additional actions will take place as we get closer to election day. Make a promise to yourself that you will help in some way. We're already collecting names and contact information for people who are willing to act as drivers for people who are canvassing. Send email to Nancy Kaplan if you are willing to be a driver.

Once upon a time, people in Wisconsin were blessed with one of the easiest systems for voting in the country. Now Wisconsin is one of the hardest states for voters to cast a ballot. Since 2010, when Republicans gained control of the legislature and the governor's office, rules for voting have become more restrictive. In a May 4 article in the Wisconsin State Journal, Matt Mencarini details how "Voting has gotten harder in Wisconsin. Organizers have found ways to help." In the section of the article called "How it’s gotten more difficult to vote in Wisconsin," Mencarnini provides the narrative. As I pointed out in an earlier email, Republicans are at least entertaining making it even more difficult for college students to access the ballot. Today's New York Times leads with the article "Under the Radar, Right-Wing Push to Tighten Voting Laws Persists." This link to it will get you past the paywall.

In June 2022, Attorney General Josh Kaul initiated a legal challenge to the 1849 law that prohibits abortion in Wisconsin. On Thursday, May 4, Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper convened a hearing on the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. In the course of the hearing, Judge Schlipper suggested that the 1849 law proscribes feticide and may not apply to abortions at all. (See 1849 feticide bill may not apply to abortions, Dane County judge suggests.) But not all media outlets covering the hearing even seemed to notice this striking part of the argument. Wisconsin Public Radio's piece, for example, doesn't even mention the feticide issue. The judge intends to rule on the motion to dismiss the case at a later date.

Almost every outcome for any political issue in our state results from voting maps that are so skewed that MAGA Republicans are almost guaranteed to retain the majority in both the Senate and the Assembly for the remainder of the decade. And by any political issue, I mean control of women's bodies, the epidemic of gun violence, the future of our climate, funding and supporting education from pre-school through graduate school, local control of key issues, revenue sharing, and even the right to propose non-binding advisory referendums. We know from surveys and past advisory referendums that large majorities of Wisconsin voters want to see changes in these areas. But we can't have nice things, it seems, until the voting maps construct fair districts. To learn more about how dark money has led to the landscape we now inhabit — and to get a legislative update from Representative Deb Andraca — join the North Shore Fair Maps Zoom meeting featuring Matt Rothschild discussing Money, Money, Money in our elections. The meeting begins at 7:00pm on Monday, May 8. You can sign up here.

Looking ahead, Law Forward is planning to "challenge the state’s voting maps based on the assertion that partisan gerrymandering violates the Wisconsin Constitution," according to The Cap Times. The plan is to file the suit soon after Janet Protasiewicz takes her seat on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin on August 1. Stay tuned.

And finally, a little schadenfreude: your gift article from the Washington Post — Even Tucker Carlson knew Tucker Carlson was out of control. Erik Wemple notes that the last straw seems to have been a texted conversation with one of his producers. "Carlson appears to believe that 'white men' somehow stick to principles of fairness and chivalry when fighting in the streets — whereas men of color presumably hew to a less honorable code of engagement. Racist trash, all of it." Wemple nails the wonderment many of us feel about why this particular message sealed Tucker's fate when his whole show revealed who he truly is.

But if the board was genuinely concerned, perhaps it should have paid attention to Carlson’s nightly output over the past six years. There was plenty of racism on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” as when the host said that immigrants made the country “dirtier” or when he repeatedly espoused the “great replacement theory” or when he said that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who fled civil war in Somalia, is a “living fire alarm” for the U.S. immigration system.


Read more
1 reaction Share

a little this, a little that

t's budget time in Wisconsin. And you know what that means. The governor proposes and the legislature disposes: reportedly preparing to remove 545 items from Evers' plan. (During the last budget cycle two years ago, the legislature removed about 391 items.) In the crosshairs are the proposed 12-week paid family and medical leave program, legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana, hiring additional mental health providers in schools, and much more. Tax rates, too, are coming in for their share of struggle. Evers wants to reduce the tax rates "by 10% for individuals earning $100,000 or less a year and married filers making $150,000 or less." Republicans plan to strip out that proposal and focus "their efforts on flattening the state’s more than 110-year-old income tax." The Wisconsin State Journal published an extensive article on the push and pull between the governor's proposed budget and the legislature's plan to strip huge chunks of it out. It contains a long list, though of course not an exhaustive one, of the Republican's likely cuts. The more you know, the more there is to dislike.

We still have no word on when the special election to replace Dan Knodl, the former representative of the 24th Assembly District, will be held. We do know, from an email he has sent to his constituents — and to me even though I am no longer his constituent since the new election maps assigned me to the 10th Assembly District — that at the end of his last Assembly floor session "my colleagues gave me a nice sendoff by unanimously messaging me over to the Senate." I have no idea what "messaging" someone over to the Senate could possibly mean, but he could be sworn in during the next scheduled Senate floor session. Or not. Maybe he's just enjoying a rest from his light record as a legislator? Who knows. According to the Senate's online calendar, though, the next Floorperiod is May 16-18, and he could take his seat then, setting the machinery of a special election in motion.

On the national scene, last week's news covered the Dominion lawsuit, Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon's departures from their respective cable news networks, and TFG's mounting legal woes. This week, the press seems to be preoccupied by the ethical morass some justices at the Supreme Court seem to have created and the E. Jean Carroll suit. The New York Times has of course provided lots of details about the relationship between Justice Thomas and his billionaire buddy Harlan Crow. And they've also discussed Justice Gorsuch's sale of property to the CEO of a prominent international law firm with plenty of business before the court. Plus the unreported income from commissions Chief Justice Roberts' wife was paid.

But the story most worth your time to read, and which is "gifted" to you so you can pierce the paywall, takes a close look at the relationship between the conservative justices and their sweetheart deals with the Scalia School of Law at George Mason University. "The documents [the Times reviewed] show how Scalia Law has offered the justices a safe space in a polarized Washington — an academic cocoon filled with friends and former clerks, where their legal views are celebrated, they are given top pay and treated to teaching trips abroad, and their personal needs are anticipated, from lunch orders to, in Justice Gorsuch’s case, house hunting." If these arrangements weren't verging on open bribery, the idea of providing a "safe space" for the justices' conservative thinking might almost be funny.

E. Jean Carroll's litigation has turned out to be strikingly interesting. She has now endured several days of testimony and cross-examination with what has been described as poise and good humor. The latest revelation from her testimony: that George Conway (erstwhile GOP lawyer, soon-to-be former husband of Kellyanne Conway, and Never Trumper) encouraged her to file the suit. The Guardian has a good article about the ongoing trial.

Looking ahead to the punditry we will endure during the endless 2024 election, which has of course already begun, Doug Sosnik, who was a senior advisor to President Clinton and who regularly writes political memos, has a relatively new piece out that goes into great detail about what he and others are calling "the diploma divide." Sosnik writes "educational attainment has increasingly played a dominant role in voting. This has led to a political realignment, with the base shifting for both political parties." He goes on to say that "educational sorting has made the vast majority of states no longer politically competitive. It is the battleground states in the middle - where education levels are neither disproportionately high nor low - that will decide the 2024 presidential election." Eight states, his analysis shows, will determine the outcome of the presidential election: "Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin."

This is a rather hodgepodge version of the newsletter. So let me end with something completely different and yet relevant to the national debt ceiling "debate" we must endure. In the April 30 edition of Middle Wisconsin, an online magazine, Dave Svetlik has two articles — SEEMS OBVIOUS – PART ONE and SEEMS OBVIOUS PART TWO — that take a rather jaunty look at how the country makes its money. Seriously: not earns but creates. He begins PART TWO with a brief recap of PART ONE: "So, we know the US Government is the creator, the source, of the nation’s money. We know the US Government always has money of its own (for Heaven’s sake it creates the money). We know the US Government can never run out of money. There, the review of Part One is done. Thank God!" And then he goes on to poke holes in the very notion that the United States government would ever need to borrow money in the first place. Now I was never any good at economic theory so I'm sure there's some snappy rejoinder a serious economist could make. But it's a fun read and some food for thought.

Bay Bridge Restorative Justice Series, 6:30 - 8:00pm
Untied Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, 819 E Silver Spring Dr, WFB

Healing the Survivor and Community with Janine Geske, Director of the Andrew Center of Restorative Justice and Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette University of Law School. She will discuss how restorative justice can bring healing to victims and survivors and repair relationships and communities impacted by crime. Sponsored by: Bay Bridge Wisconsin; United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay; MICAH; WISDOM; EXPO; The Community; From the Same Dust, a Baha'i Group, Bay Shore Lutheran Church, Christ Church Episcopal, Congregation Sinai, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Interfaith Restorative Practices Coalition. LIVESTREAM will be available.

Saturday, May 13

5th CD Dems Convention, 1:00pm
Jackson Area Community Center, N165 W20330 Hickory Lane, Jackson

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin 5th Congressional District is holding its annual convention on Saturday. Registration opens at 1pm. The Convention convenes at 2pm. Please RSVP by ordering your tickets ($20 each). Questions? Please email [email protected] or call 414-491-4544.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Wisconsin and Prospect (by orange sunburst), Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday. This week we will focus on Palestinian rights Join us.

Monday, May 15

DPMC Monthly Membership Meeting, 6:00 - 7:30pm
734 N. 26th Street, Milwaukee

The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County is focused on empowering citizens with the tools they need to improve our communities. We must join our friends and neighbors in electing leaders that we believe in. We’re ready to win, but we need your help to do it. Let’s get to work! Join us for our fifth membership meeting of 2023!

Read more
1 reaction Share

oy vey!

Yesterday was a mind-blowing news day, what with Fox firing Tucker Carlson and CNN firing Don Lemon. If you watched, listened or read any news Monday, you couldn't miss the bombshell from Fox News. It was everywhere with oodles of speculation about why Carlson was fired. I won't bother with links. Just Google it. The Lemon matter was hardly covered at all but still made a little noise. You can Google that one too. And maybe you learned the E. Jean Carrol's lawsuit against TFG is beginning with jury selection today. It will no doubt take up some air space in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile DA Fani Willis sent letters to law enforcement agencies in and around Atlanta to warn them that she will be announcing criminal indictments between July 11 and September 1, 2023. She wrote to give the agencies "sufficient time to prepare the Sheriff’s Office and coordinate with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that our law enforcement community is ready to protect the public" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 24, 2023). She justified the early warning: "We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of those we are sworn to protect. As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prepare." It sure seems like she has someone in particular in mind.

But all the hubbub around the national press should not distract us from the urgent need to keep sharply focused on the constant GOP stratagems to rig our elections. As I mentioned last week, the April 4 election in Wisconsin featured record turnout, especially among college students. Here's a link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece on April 13: Wisconsin college students voted in huge numbers for the 2023 spring election. What led to increase and will it continue?

Sure enough, a leading Republican lawyer, who also happens to be on the board of the Bradley Foundation here in Milwaukee, jumped right on it. It's a huge problem for the far right, of course, because these young people apparently don't seem inclined to vote for the current crop of Republicans. Our former governor Scott Walker thinks the problem lies in the way young people are "indoctrinated" presumably by the education system he worked so hard to undermine. ("On Fox, Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says result of the state Supreme Court election is 'liberal indoctrination coming home to roost'.") But Cleta Mitchell, the aforementioned MAGA lawyer, wants to tackle the voting behavior of college students by, you know, making it impossible or at least harder for them to vote. Here are a few accounts of the "private" remarks she made to top GOP donors: a gifted link (to get you around their paywall) to the story in the Washington Post on April 20 titled "Top GOP lawyer decries ease of campus voting in private pitch to RNC." On the same day, and based on the Post's story, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published "Bradley Foundation board member Cleta Mitchell bemoans college voting in private meeting with top GOP donors." MSNBC covered the story on Alex Wagner Tonight on April 22: "MAGA lawyer recorded while discussing ways to suppress the youth vote." (Skip the Alex Wagner video at the top of the post and read the blog post by Ja'han Jones.)

The attack on democracy, human rights, and our individual freedoms is pervasive and pernicious. What’s Next in Wisconsin, a sobering piece in the the Brennan Center for Justice's newsletter, looks at "how Wisconsin’s conservative state legislature might respond to Justice Protasiewicz’s win and the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s new liberal majority." From impeachment proceedings based on rulings MAGA Republicans don't like to "bills that target the court’s power or independence by, for example, stripping its jurisdiction or remedial powers," the legislature has several avenues to constrain the state's Supreme Court.

For the future of your personal pocketbook, here's the result of the Dominion defamation case: Fox Corp. and Fox News have been ordered to pay humongous amount of money to Dominion Voting Systems. But foxy Fox is now demanding that cable companies pay it more per customer to carry Fox on its basic cable system. In essence, Fox wants TV viewers to pay for its defamation costs! We do not have to stand for it. Call your cable provider to demand that they not raise the amount they pay Fox to carry its "news."

We do not yet have specific information about the special election to fill the Assembly seat in District 24. Once we have that information, Grassroots North Shore will be partnering with grassroots groups in Germantown and Menomonee Falls to work on the election. And I will be calling on you to get involved in all the usual activities: writing postcards, making follow-up calls, texting with the campaign of whoever runs (c'mon Bob Tatterson!), canvassing with the Democratic party. And with this election, we'll be trying something new: organizing a Driver Brigade to make canvassing in the district both easier and more fun. So stay tuned for announcements and pitch in when you can. (You can already to sign up to drive a canvasser.) It will be a turnout election and we stand a good chance of an upset here. There will be no incumbent and turnout will be especially low. That means every vote we get will really further our chances.

In the meantime, we're not just taking a vacation. Grassroots North Shore is partnering with the Democratic Party in a donation drive for kids' school supplies from May 1 to May 18. We'll be collecting notebooks, folders, crayons, markers, pencils, colored pencils, pens, erasers, glue sticks, highlighters, lined paper, and rulers. Drop items off at Shirley Horowitz's house at 4845 N Newhall St in Whitefish Bay or Andy Berger 's house at 7632 N Beach Drive in Fox Point. Andy will be hosting a gathering to celebrate the drive on Sunday May 21st. So hit those stores and/or scrounge in your homes for stuff to help kids thrive in school!

Also, the Democratic party is looking for canvassers ahead of the May 2 special election for Milwaukee County Supervisory District 14 (in the south part of the county). The party has endorsed Caroline Gómez-Tom and will be hosting canvasses our of the county party's office at 2999 S Delaware St. on Saturday, April 29: sign up for a shift at noon or at 3pm. There will also be two shifts on Tuesday, May 2 at noon and 3pm.

Today, President Biden announced that he will run for President in 2024. As if we didn't know already. Anyway, there will be ample time to chew over the pros, cons, whys, and wherefores in future newsletters.

Read more
1 reaction Share

more after action reports

Probably because the April 4 election in Wisconsin attracted a lot of national attention and its results were so striking, there continues to be a lot of press and analysis of how different groups voted, including in the Washington Post. Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about the youth vote in the state, focusing particularly on the turnout among college students. "Across the state, college students showed up to the polls in droves for an election barely on their radar a couple of months ago. A number of voting wards on or near college campuses show students cast ballots near midterm-level, exceeding the expectations of local clerks and youth organizers."

At least some of the outcome stems from a new organization, Project 72, headed by Mike Tate, a former chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin: "By Election Day, the Project 72 team topped 100 organizers who had set up shop at 15 institutions. They knocked on 40,000 dorm doors, tabled outside quads in judge's costumes and taped "my body, my choice" signs in women's bathrooms." It's worth noting that Grassroots North Shore was active on three campuses for this election: UM-Milwaukee, MIAD, and MSOE. So we can take a bit of credit too!

A more comprehensive look at voting patterns and trends, "Lessons from the Wisconsin Supreme Court race: Why the alarm bells for Republicans are ringing louder", examines the race for the WI Supreme Court in the broader context of recent elections. A key sub-head notes that "Republicans have a losing record in Wisconsin in the Trump Era." Craig Gilbert, the article's author, divides the elections of the past 15 years as two contrasting eras: the Obama years and the Trump years, including 2021, 2022, and 2023. He notes that six of the 22 major elections ("for president, governor, U.S. Senate and state Supreme Court") "were decided by roughly 1 point or less." However, since Trump became president in 2017, "only one side — the left — has won decisive statewide victories in Wisconsin. Democrats won an 11-point race for Senate in 2018 and a 3-point race for governor in 2022. Liberals won double-digit court victories in 2018, 2020 and 2023." The article goes into great detail about several past elections and is worth a careful read.

In news you may have missed, Mandela Barnes was named president of Power to the Polls Wisconsin, "an organization focused on voter turnout, especially in diverse communities like Milwaukee. Barnes worked with the group during the recent spring election." We've seen declining turnout in the city in recent elections. Perhaps Power to the Polls Wisconsin will help turn that around. In his statement, Barnes pointed out that "Organizing isn’t just about what happens right before an election – it’s about mobilizing communities to use their power year in and year out." Amen.

The national political news is hopping right now. The Dominion defamation case against Fox News and Fox Corporation is getting underway today. Next week, the E. Jean Carroll rape and defamation case against Donald Trump will begin. And then there are all the other investigations, both civil and criminal, into DJT. Business Insider has a pretty comprehensive list, noting that "It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket." The publication lists the Manhattan DA's most recent indictment plus the Trump Organization payroll case DA Bragg successfully prosecuted last year. In addition, there's the Fulton County, Georgia, probe; the Justice Department's investigation into schemes to overturn the 2020 presidential election; the DOJ investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents; New York AG Letitia James's civil suit against the Trump family and the Trump Organization; lawsuits alleging that Trump incited the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; a 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme case stemming from a promotion on "The Celebrity Apprentice;" Micheal Cohen's suit against Trump and Bill Barr for sending him back to prison for speaking to the press and writing a book. Then there are the civil suits Trump himself has initiated: against Hillary Clinton — which was tossed out of court last September and resulted in nearly $1 million in sanctions against Trump and his lawyer — and against his niece Mary Trump, the New York Times, and three of its reporters. Whew: so much litigating!

And then there's this news from the League of Women Voters: National Popular Vote Bills Introduced In Wisconsin.

An update in the National Popular Vote space: Wisconsin legislators just introduced the NPVIC bill in the WI Senate, and it has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations, Elections, and Consumer Protection.

What can you do to show your support? Call your legislators! Tell them you want the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact bills, SB 144 and AB 156, scheduled for public hearings. States passing NPV legislation is the fastest path forward for every vote in presidential elections to count. States are moving forward. If this bill is passed in Wisconsin, our 10 electoral votes, along with those of other compact states, will go to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. Let's get it done!

I'm surprised — and pleased — to see that the events list this week is growing robust again. The Democratic Party of Ozaukee County invites residents of the 6th Congressional District to sign up to be "a delegate to the 6th Congressional District Convention in Oshkosh on May 7 and/or a delegate to the DPW State Convention in Green Bay, June 11-12. It is a great opportunity to meet fellow Democrats, vote on officers, both at the CD and state level, participate in various caucuses of interest to you and attend valuable workshops. Register here.

In addition, the 1st CD convention is listed in the events section. The 5th CD convention will be held May 12. You can see more information and sign up for that now. The 4th CD convention was held on March 25.

The state convention will be held in Green Bay on Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11. Even without attending a congressional district convention, you can apply to be a state convention delegate.

Read more
1 reaction Share

How sweet it is

In case you were wondering, the turnout in the communities we target was quite high in most cases. And GRNS takes some credit for that. We sent out thousands of postcards and made thousands of phone calls encouraging absentee and early voting both for the February primary and the April 4 election, for example. And we began these actions much earlier than the Democratic Party. The postcards and flyers we designed and printed explained WHY voting in these spring elections was so important. Our website offered a one-stop locale for finding both statewide and local candidate information as well as early in-person dates and times. In short, we were all-in from early January until the polls closed on Election Day. But when I say "we," I really mean YOU. All in all, we had more than 100 volunteers undertaking these vital actions. Grassroots North Shore is nothing without all of you. But truly amazing when we all pitch in.

Naturally, I have a lot more to say about last week's election results. For one thing, there is a lot of data to analyze and ponder. I've done my best to gather some election results for you. If you want to wade in the numbers, you can download the spreadsheet! The first tab is an overview of the areas of the state where Grassroots North Shore sent postcards, phoned, dropped literature, distributed yard signs, and encouraged our supporters to volunteer with the Democrats to canvass. The next several tabs provide more detailed information about how wards in the North Shore and in Ozaukee County voted, how wards in Milwaukee that are in Assembly District 10 voted, how the parts of Washington County in Senate District 8 voted, and how the Washington County communities voted in the Supreme Court race.

Here's a picture of how all 72 counties voted in the Supreme Court race:


And also a picture comparing the results of the Supreme Court race in the city of Waukesha to the results of the race between Tim Michels and Tony Evers in November 2022.


As you can see in the map and the accompanying data, Democrats did better in the most recent election in what used to be ruby red areas than they did only a few months ago.

With their narrow win in Senate District 8, Republicans maintained their supermajority in the Senate (the seat was formerly held by Republican Alberta Darling until she retired last fall). With a supermajority in hand again, there's been loose talk that the legislature could impeach and convict elected state officials without needing a single vote from Democrats. Before the election Dan Knodl expressed his view that the "Milwaukee County Justice system is failing" and that its prosecutors and judges need to be scrutinized. Indeed when he was asked whether he would vote to impeach Janet Protasiewicz, he said he "would certainly consider it."

Immediately after the election results came in, Devin LeMahieu, Senate Majority Leader, poured some cold water on the idea: "To impeach someone they would need to do something very serious, so no we are not looking to start the impeachment process as a regular occurring event in Wisconsin,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Braggadocio about impeaching people you oppose is easy when you're running for office. But not really effective once the election is over.

Actually, removing judges, prosecutors, or even governors would be pretty foolish. If the legislature impeached Governor Evers, for example, Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez would serve in that capacity. If she were also impeached, the next person in line would be the Secretary of State, Sarah Godlewski! So too with judges and prosecutors. After all, that's how the now defeated William Brash obtained his seat on the Milwaukee Court of Appeals and how Dan Kelly got his former seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court!

What has turned our elections into national news has now been augmented by the ruling that the drug mifepristone will no longer be available to the nation's women after Friday, April 14, unless the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issues an emergency stay. In today's coverage of the issue in the New York Times, the connection between Janet Protasiewicz's stunning victory and the push to ban or seriously curtail medication abortions is explicit:

The decision on Friday by a conservative judge in Texas, invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, showed the push for nationwide restrictions on abortion has continued since the high court’s nullification of Roe v. Wade.

Days earlier, abortion was the central theme in a liberal judge’s landslide victory for a contested and pivotal seat on the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin. Some Republicans are warning that the uncompromising position of their party’s activist base could be leading them over an electoral cliff next year.

If Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's ruling on mifepristone is upheld, the consequences for federal regulations of all sorts could be awful. Take the article in The Hill: "Texas abortion pill ruling could impact other FDA-approved drugs, vaccinations: HHS secretary." On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, laid out the problem: “When you turn upside down the entire FDA approval process, you’re not talking about just mifepristone. You’re talking about every kind of drug. You’re talking about our vaccines. You’re talking about insulin. You’re talking about the new Alzheimer’s drugs that may come on.” Other regulatory bodies may not be immune to similar attacks. Think about the EPA, the FCC, the SEC, and so on. We may be seeing the thin edge of a dangerous wedge: the long-running GOP strategy to cripple federal regulations entirely.

The events list is once again pretty sparse and is likely to remain that way for a while. Nevertheless, you should have a look. Something there might pique your interest.


Read more
1 reaction Share

we are the change agents

The news is once again wringing its virtual hands over the latest — but certainly not the last — school massacre (see the coverage on NBC or CBS or any other news site you choose). The coverage is replete with pictures of the "shrines" the community constructs — the flowers and the candles and the teddy bears propped near the scene of the crimes. But not with pictures of what bullets from the weapons of war so often used in mass murders do to the human body. Thus the media mask the brutality, saving us from confronting what these events really mean. And of course the Governor of Tennessee offers his thoughts and prayers. The shock wears off and we go back to our routines. And then the next one happens. We lather, rinse, repeat.

Instead of fixing our dysfunctional gun culture, the legislature in the state of Georgia has passed a law to allow it to fire any elected District Attorney they please. Surely that means Fani Willis for daring to investigate TFG? Governor Kemp is apparently ready to sign it. So we're a small step ahead of Israel, where the current government is in the process of "bringing the judiciary to heal." In other words, making sure the judiciary does not act too independently, or at all. And saving big wigs from the annoyance of being indicted and tried.

It's all so maddening. And we feel helpless in the face of it. But we're not. We must simply redouble our efforts to elect people to represent us who refuse to seek power with lies. And first up is Jodi Habush Sinykin, who is set to debate Dan Knodl (currently the Assembly representative for AD24). Even if you are not in Senate District 8, contribute to her campaign. The election maps currently in place in Wisconsin have made Senate District 8 a bit less competitive than it was in the last decade. So the money to compete successfully is more important than ever. If you do live in SD 8, go to the debate in person. You may have already voted for her or plan to do so this week (using early in person voting) or on April 4. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that we show up and stand with her. Here are the details.

MATC-Mequon, Auditorium A289
5555 W Highland Rd

The debate will take place from 7:00 to 8:30. Registration begins at 6:45.

If you cannot attend in person, you can use the sign up form to specify that you want to "attend" the virtual event. A link to a video of it will be sent to you.

If you want to watch an interview with Judge Janet Protasiewicz, you could do worse than looking at this one. Irene Parthum, a long-time member of Grassroots North Shore, has shared a video of our candidate for the Supreme Court and the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. It's recording of a live-stream from 3/20, with Judge Janet and Ben Wikler to get out the vote for the April 4 election. When you start to watch, fast forward to about the 11 minute mark (there were lots of technical troubles at the beginning).

There isn't any public polling on the race, but in today's New York Times online, an extensive article about the race, asserts that "she appears to have the advantage, with a lead in private polling and a major fund-raising and advertising edge" (Costly Court Race Points to a Politicized Future for Judicial Elections).

As we head into the final week of the campaign, I hope you will help GET OUT THE VOTE in any way you can. Here are links to canvassing opportunities, texting opportunities and to places where you may be able to get yard signs. Of course putting a sign in your yard, while helpful to signal your position to your neighbors, isn't enough on its own. If you absolutely cannot canvass, team up with a friend who can and offer to drive them through their turf to make the canvass quicker and the walking not quite so strenuous! And don't forget to urge like-minded family and friends to vote.


  • Bayside, Fox Point, and Brown Deer: 7632 N Beach Drive, Fox Point
    • Saturday, 4/1: 9AM, 12pm, 3pm
    • Sunday, 4/2: 9AM, 12pm, 3pm
    • Monday, 4/3: 9AM, 12pm, 3pm
    • Tuesday, 4/4: 11AM, 2pm, 5pm
  • Glendale: 6563 Crestwood Dr., Glendale
    • Wednesday, 3/29: 4pm
    • Thursday, 3/30: 4pm
    • Saturday, 4/1: 12pm, 3pm
    • Sunday, 4/2: 12pm, 3pm
    • Monday, 4/3: 12pm, 3pm
    • Tuesday, 4/4: 11AM, 2pm, 5pm
  • Whitefish Bay: 4845 N Newhall St., WFB
    • Saturday, 4/1: 9am, 12pm
    • Sunday, 4/2: 9am, 12pm
    • Monday, 4/3: 12pm
  • Grafton:
    • Saturday, 4/1: 9AM, 12pm, 3pm
    • Sunday, 4/2: 9AM, 12pm, 3pm
  • Mequon:
    • Saturday, 4/1: 9am, 12pm
    • Sunday, 4/2: 9am, 12pm


  • NextGen Organizing. Join NextGen as we get out the vote for the 2023 Supreme Court election in Wisconsin! Wisconsinites will be voting in a new state Supreme Court justice. It's likely that the court will hear a case over an abortion ban from 1849 this year, so it's crucial that Wisconsin voters make their voices heard in this election. Choose a time that works for you and we'll provide the script, texting platform, guides, and a community to connect with other NextGen volunteers! Wednesday, March 29, 12:00 - 2:00pm CDT; Monday, April 3, 12:00 - 2:00pm CDT. Sign up here.

  • Text Party for Abortion Rights Tuesday, March 28, 5:00 - 7:00pm CDT. Abortion and Voting Rights in Wisconsin. We'll make sure voters in Wisconsin know about the April 4th WI Supreme Court election, and where the candidates stand on abortion rights and democracy! Sign up here.


  • Grassroots North Shore is distributing signs for Janet Protasiewicz and some candidates for other offices while supplies last. Contact the person nearest you to find out if they have still have signs and to make arrangements.
  • Judge Janet Protasiewicz Signs Available at MKE Dems Office!
    2999 S. Delaware St, Milwaukee
    Monday - Wednesday: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. CLOSED Thursday - Sunday.
    Phone: (414) 269-9287 • Email: [email protected].

Finally, in the never-ending saga of special prosecutor Jack Smith's pursuit of justice, former Vice President Mike Pence must testify to the DC grand jury. In this case, the judge ruled that TRE45ON's claim of executive privilege is so much BS (New York Times) and that the "speech and debate" clause protecting members of Congress might apply to the former vice president under other circumstances but not when acts that are potentially illegal are involved. Reuters, however, is less nuanced, simply saying the Pence is shielded from testifying about Jan. 6, 2021." So, two cheers, maybe?

Read more
1 reaction Share