A Good Morning

This morning, I woke up in a better mood than I expected I would just 24 hours earlier. Last night’s election victory of Alabama’s Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones meant that I’d have at least one less demoralizing political situation to live with in 2018. Of course I know in the coming months the Trump Administration and Trump’s Republican Congress will be working hard to supply plenty more of those dispiriting moments. The shameless use of fear mongering, bigotry, tribalism and lies in the pursuit of wealth and power is never an inspiring scenario.

For example, today it was announced that House and Senate Republicans have (at least initially) agreed on a tax “reform” package. This news immediately pushed the Alabama election loss of GOP candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore out of the spotlight. Now, and over the next few days we’ll be watching Trump, McConnell, Ryan, and their wealthy cronies push through new tax policies that will make the richest Americans even more rich at the expense of programs targeted to help American’s who are most in need. – That sounds like reform… right?

Nevertheless, we really should take a moment to savor the Alabama outcome. We could have had a member of the U.S. Senate who was not only totally unqualified but had long shown himself to be not only completely contemptuous of our legal system but quite possibly nuts. Instead, our Congress now has a new Senator who soon after taking office as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama quickly showed his courage. He successfully prosecuted the remaining two Ku Klux Klan perpetrators of the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls 35 years earlier.

Doug Jones’ victory last night also seems to have shown that the most recent iteration of the Democratic National Committee is capable of taking effective action for its candidates using tactics sensitive to each candidate’s local situation. The DNC put their financial and human resources heavily behind Jones while wisely keeping out of the spotlight. They avoided making big pronouncements from their East Coast headquarters – a posture that would surely have energized die hard Alabama Republicans. Instead, the DNC stayed in the background supporting phone banking, robo-calls, local organizing, door-to-door canvassing, all the stuff necessary for a win. Let’s hope this “new” DNC retains the tactical sensitivity they showed in Alabama in the many contests ahead. It’s a sensitivity I wish they’d shown more of in 2016. 

Yes, it was a nice feeling to see a creepy child-stalker like Roy Moore get defeated by an honestly good person. Unfortunately, the truth is if Moore had simply been a liar and a hypocrite he likely would have won that Senate seat. (If we could just get the Republicans to run pedophiles in every contest next year we’d really be on a roll!)

But as our nation’s great president tweeted last night, “A win is a win.” Now it’s up to our Democratic leaders in Congress to display the skill and integrity that will make the most of Doug Jones’ additional Senate vote. According to some political analysts I heard today, a 49-51 Senate minority situation is much better than 48-52. I guess we’ll see.

Here’s the bottom line. As 2018 takes shape, we need to keep the momentum of these recent Democratic victories growing. You can be sure that in the coming months you’ll be given plenty of opportunities to do that, helping to elect candidates representing us at every level of government. There will be important activities in neighboring elections too.

The time when all this activity begins will be here before we know it. In the meantime, the New Trier Dems will be hosting several events to keep your political inclinations engaged. On Sunday, January 7 our Committeeman Dean Maragos will be hosting his annual “Thank You” Pizza Party at J.P.’s Pizza & Grill in Wilmette from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm. It’s always a nice event and an excellent way to personally meet other North Shore Democrats and many of the office holders and candidates gearing up for 2018. Then, sometime during the short month of February, the NTDO will be sponsoring a 2018 Election Year Kickoff Rally (Date, time and place TBD).

And tomorrow night, you can wrap up this bizarre political year among fellow liberals with a glass or two of excellent wine and a buffet of delicious hors d’oeuvres at the Wilmette Wine Cellar. It’s strictly social, no political speeches — just wine, food and new friends. The event will also welcome contributions of packaged food, paper goods or toiletries for the New Trier Food Pantry.

So that’s it for this year’s NTD News comments. I wish the 2017 news had been a lot more pleasant to discuss but we can hope that next year will have many more bright spots. For the next few weeks I will be taking a Holiday break. The next NTD News issue will be Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Talk to you then. – Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973