The Next 33 Days

The November 6 elections are just 33 days from now. So if you haven’t yet been able to get involved in battling the GOP’s reactionary agenda, now is the time to jump in. These final weeks before an election are the critically important days when many eligible voters finally start paying attention to the political contests and start deciding who they will support.

As you probably know, mid-term elections usually draw a disgracefully low percentage of voters compared to the voting numbers in presidential election years. — It was Democratic voter apathy in 2010 and 2014 that put Tea Party candidates in the U.S. House and placed the Senate under Republican control. — However in this mid-term, thanks to a Republican president that is alienating large segments of Americans, a Republican controlled Congress that has revealed their complete disdain for the democratic process and a Republican Governor whose theories on running a state have proven to be disastrous, the number of voters casting ballots for Democrats could set new records. But we can’t sit back and count on that.

You can be sure that in these final weeks before November 6 the Republicans will be pulling out all the stops to derail the momentum of Democratic candidates in every election. The desperate tactics they will likely use against Democrats may make Brett Kavanaugh’s protests of innocence in the Senate seem downright affable.

So, we can take nothing for granted. The Democratic incumbents representing New Trier Township have all proven themselves deserving of reelection to their present offices, or in the case of Laura Fine, election to the State Senate. The new Democratic names on the ballot for State Rep., Jennifer Gong Gershowitz, for Laura Fine’s seat, and Bob Morgan to replace Dem. State Rep. Scott Drury, are also exceptional candidates that should logically be the voters’ choice. — But the Republican Party apparatus and the right wing ideologues behind it have other ideas.

A Republican has been placed on the ballot against each of our state-level candidates as well as U.S. Rep. Schakowsky. At this point, I don’t know the specific campaign platforms of each of the Republican candidates. However, I do know that at least one candidate has expressed anti-LGBT views; another is negative towards unions. – It will be interesting to learn more about these Republican role models in the coming weeks.

What is now known for certain is that about a half-million dollars has begun funneling into the coffers of 7 local non-profit organizations (some recently created). They, in turn, have begun financially supporting the Republican campaigns. Where did this money originate? From right-wing foundations? From far-right billionaires? It isn’t clear. That’s why they call it “dark money.” 

This is more of the “same old, same old.” Outside money was used last year when right wing ideologues attempted to take over our township government and some local school boards. (You can expect that again in next spring’s local elections.) This real threat of outside forces is why we can’t be complacent.

The key to victory, as always, will be personal contact with potential voters – either over the phone or face to face in their neighborhoods. Voters contacted by real people rather than by scary propaganda mailings are much more likely to be won over. And now, the local campaign structure to do that job is pretty much in place.

Starting next week at the NTDO office, 800 E. Oak St. in Winnetka, there will be phone banking three nights a week – Tues, Wed and Thursday, from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. There may also be some phone contact opportunities on weekends, depending on door-to-door canvassing schedules. Weekend Get Out the Vote work will be on the weekends of Oct 28, 29 and Nov. 3, 4. These efforts will probably offer three “shifts” of door-to-door canvassing.

There will also be opportunities to participate in car pools to the neighboring areas where Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten are campaigning (and perhaps to a district in Wisconsin too). These races will play a big role in wining back the U.S. House.

This entire local effort will be run out of the NTD office by a team of organizers from the Jan Schakowsky, Robyn Gabel and Laura Fine campaigns. They are skilled campaigners who will make your experience a good one.

Why not look at your calendar now. Mark some days or evenings when you think you can take part in this historically important election year. Let’s send a message to the reactionary right that the American people have had enough of their short-sighted, uncaring, pernicious policies.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

P.S. Early voting is from Oct. 22 – Nov. 5 – and unregistered voters with two forms of ID (including current address proof) can register to vote at their early voting site.

P.P.S. Have you purchased a ticket to the NTDO Annual Dinner, Sunday October 14th at Maggiano’s in Old Orchard? (If you are age 40 or younger you’ll be given a special “Millenial Rate” of $100.)

A special note:

As the person who writes this weekly commentary, I know that you trust the NTD newsletter and website to always give you accurate information. For example, when we encourage you to participate in a volunteer operation, you need to believe that the event will occur as described. So, the NTDO was upset to learn that there were occasions in the past month when volunteers showed up at the proper time to make phone calls from the NTD office and it was closed. The reasons for each messed up evening are varied, but none should have happened. Once the problem came to light, action was taken. The campaign overseeing those phone bank evenings has sent NTDO President Judy Mandel this sincere apology. His response was much appreciated:

“On behalf of the JB Pritzker Campaign I would like to issue a formal apology to the New Trier Democrats and all of its members for the inconvenience caused by scheduled phone banks that did not occur at the set location. I will be the first to deem this type of mismanagement unacceptable, and I assure you that it will not be repeated. Again, I apologize for this debacle. Please accept this message as a token of reconciliation between the Pritzker Campaign and the Democrats of New Trier Township. Thank you.”

Edward York
JB for Illinois, Regional Field Director-Region 1