Dog Day Democrats

This is the time of the year known as the “dog days of summer.” Why chocolate_lab_face.jpgdoes it have that name? Well according to the dictionary, that term comes from the fact that Sirius, the Dog Star, is now rising at the same time as the sun. But as a small town boy, I always thought “dog days” simply described hot summer days when every dog knows that the smart thing to do is nap all day in the shade. And in fact, the dictionary’s second definition for “dog days” is: “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.”

So okay, our calendars say it’s that time of year. But if there ever was a time to not be lethargic, inactive or indolent, it is now! That’s certainly the view of our New Trier Dems’ President, Judy Mandel. Here is her personal message:

As the summer comes to a close, I look forward to the fall and the chance we have to make a change in D.C. and in our leadership for the state of Illinois. We had a great event at Avli in Winnetka July 16th and enthusiastic responses at the Glencoe, Winnetka and Wilmette sidewalk sales. In the fall, we will have our annual meeting and (indoor picnic) on Sept. 8 and then, on Oct. 14 our Annual Dinner at Maggiano’s. We’ll also be offering chances to canvass in Roskam’s district for Sean Casten and perhaps for Randy Bryce in Wisconsin.

I know many of you might be traveling now or getting children ready for school. However, I want to alert you to an opportunity to get involved right now. We are offering a weekly call bank at our Headquarters at 800 Oak Street, suite 112 every Thursday night from 5pm-8pm. We are calling for JB, but just as importantly, we are calling for the down ticket candidates too. We have a tough race for Attorney General and we want to make sure Laura Fine, Robyn Gabel and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz win their seats so that Illinois with a Democratic Governor can start moving forward again, protecting us from the “Madman” in DC.

Can I count on our savvy and activist membership to start the ball rolling by coming to the NTD office this Thursday night? — If this week doesn’t work for you, there are 4 other Thursdays in August. Getting involved this month will make a difference in November.

Judy Mandel, President, NTDO

Sitting here in early August it’s easy to think that “making a difference in November” is far, far away. But Mid-term Election Day will be here in just 13 weeks! And you know how fast your weeks fly by. You can be sure that the energy of right wing fanaticism and fear, backed by substantial financial resources, is already hard at work. Republicans know they are in trouble and they aren’t waiting until October to enter the battle.

With the trajectory of our national government as ominous as it is, putting off getting involved is dangerous procrastination. We need to play a role in not only winning back congressional seats but also in gaining the strongest possible legislative voices in Illinois to push back against whatever half-cocked initiatives are thrown at us by the Trump Administration.

Electing intelligent, principled, dedicated people has never been more urgent. (I’m not exaggerating with that last statement. In my long life I have never seen so many government officials willing to defend so many cruel, dangerously shortsighted, ethically hollow positions.)

Here’s just one example: In last week’s NTD News commentary, I mentioned Governor Rauner’s recent veto of Illinois Senate Bill SB-2273. The bill was introduced by State Senator Kwame Raul to “prohibit the Illinois State Board of Elections from sharing any voter information with the controversial Crosscheck system or any other interstate voter registration program other than the mandated Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).” – In other words, there is a far superior system also in place that will do the job without the shocking risks of Crosscheck.

Governor Rauner vetoed the bill saying that the legislation would hinder efforts to identify where individuals are and are not eligible to vote. But here’s the reality: Researchers found Crosscheck was 99 percent more likely to purge legitimate voter from the rolls as opposed to illegitimate ones. The system compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. Experts view this as problematic because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

The system also uses minimal IT security and its operators have demonstrated a disregard for basic cybersecurity protocol. Crosscheck leaves personal information of Illinois of voters vulnerable to hacking, tampering and manipulation.

SB-2273 almost had enough votes to make it immune to a Rauner veto. But Republican senators stuck with their leader. At least some of them should have known better (no doubt some did). Those legislators were willing to keep a system in place that is 99% more likely to purge legitimate voters than the other in-place system.

Such callous disregard for the sanctity of every American’s right to vote should disqualify any person from continuing in office – and that includes our state’s Governor.

So, ready to make your phone calls? There’s a chair waiting for you at 800 Oak Street in Winnetka. All Dog Day Democrats welcome.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

P.S. The NTDO’s Street Fair straw polls produced an interesting look at how the North Shore views President Trump’s 18 months in office. You should be seeing the results in your local North Shore publications. (I was unable to reproduce the actual poll using this Constant Contact system.)

However, here are some of the choicest personal comments about President Donald Trump’s job performance written in by poll takers beyond the multiple choice “poor” rating option:

“horrible, awful, very bad, embarrassing, criminal, scary, absolute worst, can’t find the words, are you kidding, impeach, too awful for words, worst ever, sucks life from country, worst in history, traitor, opportunist, worse than poor, not negative enough, no opinion, I lack an obscenity foul enough to characterize him, unpatriotic, destructive, he’s not my president, criminal/evil, inexcusable.”*

*It should be noted that these were not “fake” North Shore residents.