News & Events

March 20, 2019
Today is my first day back from a month-long vacation away from Wilmette’s final weeks (I hope) of winter. Returning home and still recovering from jet lag, I had the idea that I could phase back into newsletter contributions by inserting a past essay that is still timely. I chose the May 9, 2018 commentary titled “Pulling ourselves together” with its unsurprising message that uniting Americans in this complex century is a huge challenge.
But yesterday, as I reread my May, 2018 comments, I realized that with the 2020 Presidential campaigning now underway, that reality should also be addressed.
My words in last May’s newsletter were inspired by a movie I had just seen, “The Rider.” “The film takes place in the wide-open spaces of America's West and features a young man and his friends immersed in the culture of rodeo riding. It was a world completely unfamiliar to me.
As I watched the action, filmed in the vast western landscape of the Dakotas (also unfamiliar to me) I was moved by how huge a country our United States is and how breathtakingly diverse are its people. And I asked myself, “How could any political party or candidate ever think they could get their arms around this mass of humanity?"
Ten months later, that question feels even more urgent. -- How does a nation as large and diverse as ours achieve a level of cohesion that will see us through the perils of the 21st century without losing its way?
If we look at modern China, their cohesion is achieved under the firmly established rule of President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party apparatus. While today’s Russia is bound together by the absolute dictates of President Vladimir Putin. -- These are not the best environments for developing freethinking creativity or individual opportunity. -- But, when it comes to navigating a government through the complexities of today’s world, authoritarian leaders do have a certain appeal. Even our very own President seems, at times, to admire his Chinese and Russian peers’ approach to governance.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe the President is alone in his admiration. I suspect there are more than a few people in America who would be comfortable with some "mild" form of authoritarianism – as long as they can keep getting what they want. (That’s the way authoritarian regimes often begin their ascent.) Certainly the crowds applauding President Trump’s pugnacious statements at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) might go along with such a development. His cry that our free press is the “enemy of the people” is chilling. And the willingness of too many Republican members of Congress to acquiesce to President Trump’s effort to bypass the constitutional funding powers of the U.S. House should trouble every American.
A recent New Yorker Magazine article reporting on the perversely close ties between the Trump Administration and Fox News is also an unhealthy development. Apparently Sean Hannity has become the “Minister of Propaganda” for the Trump regime, and he has a locked-in national audience.
My point is, the size and diversity of our country makes the United States fertile ground for divisive demagoguery and authoritarian appeals. So now I will repeat the question I asked back in May, 2018: Here in the U.S.A., in these divisive times, what will it take to see our own huge, multi-cultured country become more closely united in a common purpose?
The good news is, we now know it can be done. The results of last fall’s elections right here in Illinois should give us hope and guidance for the direction that must be taken. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D. IL 17th) won reelection and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D. IL 14th) won her first election. Both Democrats received urban and rural votes in congressional districts that included farmers, factory workers, ethnic and racial minorities, white majorities, in other words, Bustos and Underwood won the support of a diversity of voters not unlike those across the United States in general.
These victorious Democrats won by speaking not to fear or fabricated issues but to the issues that are of universal concern to Americans no matter where they live or what they do. And this is what must happen across the United States in the 2020 campaigns of every Democratic candidate at every level of elected government – and certainly in the campaigns of every Democrat running for President.
You can bet the Republican think tanks will be steering their campaigns in nasty directions. The accusations of "radical socialism" and "communist agendas" may make us feel like we’re back in Joe McCarthy’s era. I’m concerned that such fears spread by candidate Trump and other Republican office seekers may lead many voters to accept authoritarianism as the answer. – Will that happen? Maybe. Maybe not. But we must be on guard against it.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
Other Events of Interest
Inclusion in our "Other Events of Interest" List – whether it’s a fundraising event for a specific candidate or an event concerning a particular issue – does not mean that the New Trier Democrats have endorsed that candidate or adopted that position on an issue. 
Tomorrow Night, March 21, 2019: Making it Rain – Salary Negotiations, Promotions and the Pay Gap

When : Thursday, March 21, 2019; networking at 5:30pm, program from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where : Chicago Community Trust, #2200, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What :  The Young Women’s Giving Council (YWGC) of Chicago Foundation for Women hosts a panel featuring diverse women leaders helping attendees to “make it rain.” Topics include how to: negotiate benefits, ask for a raise, discuss salaries with co-workers and advocate for change. Networking, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments follow the panel. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
This Saturday & Sunday, March 23 & 24, 2019: Kenosha Dems Canvass for Lisa Neubauer for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

When : Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm; Sunday, March 24, 2019 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Where:  Kenosha Dems’ office, 5712 7th Ave, Kenosha
What : There is a critically important Supreme Court election in WI coming up this April 2nd. Lisa Neubauer is a progressive candidate running for the WI Supreme Court, and if she doesn’t get elected, the WI Supreme Court may not be able to change the state’s awful gerrymandering for another 10 years. The Kenosha Democratic Party has organized these canvasses for Lisa Neubauer over the next couple of weekends before the election.  Sign up for these canvasses here.
This Saturday, March 23, 2019: Schneider for Congress and Democrats of Northfield Township Open House

When : Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Where : 3710 Commercial Avenue, Suite 5, Northbrook
What : Join Congressman Brad Schneider and Democrats of Northfield Township in the opening of their joint political office in Northbrook. There will be an update from Congressman Schneider, and an opportunity to sign up for your 2019 Democrats of Northfield Township membership. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
This Saturday, March 23, 2019: How Fascism Works – The Politics of Us and Them

When : Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston
What : United for Democracy Now and the Chicago Chapter of Refuse Fascism sponsor Yale Professor Jason Stanley discussing his book,  How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.   The presentation will be followed by audience Q&A and a panel discussion of strategies to stop this trajectory. Books will be available for purchase. Free admission with refreshments and free parking. For more information or to RSVP,  register online  or email
Monday, March 25, 2019: “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” Film and Discussion

When : Monday, March 25, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where : Northbrook Public Library, Auditorium, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What : A powerful documentary that tells the story of the everyday women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. A discussion will follow the screening.
Saturday, March 30, 2019: Personal PAC’s Spinning for Choice Fundraiser

When : Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Where : SALT Fitness Chicago, 1714 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago
What : Unique and entertaining fitness fundraiser encourages supporters of choice to join fellow spin enthusiasts to protect reproductive rights for the women of Illinois.  Please use this link to register .
Saturday & Sunday, March 30 & 31, 2019: Kenosha Dems Canvass for Lisa Neubauer for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

When : Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:00pm; Sunday, March 31, 2019 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Where : Kenosha Dems’ office, 5712 7th Ave, Kenosha
What : There is a critically important Supreme Court election in WI coming up this April 2nd. Lisa Neubauer is a progressive candidate running for the WI Supreme Court, and if she doesn’t get elected, the WI Supreme Court may not be able to change the state’s awful gerrymandering for another 10 years. The Kenosha Democratic Party has organized these canvasses for Lisa Neubauer before the April 2nd election.  Sign up for these canvasses here.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019: Municipal Election Day
Remember to Vote!
Tuesday, April 2, 2019: Indivisible Evanston’s Monthly Meeting

When : Tuesday, April 2, 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Lorraine G. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Parasol Room — 4th Floor, Evanston
What : Join Indivisible Evanston for an expert panel on Climate Change. Find out what’s happening at the local, state & federal levels and how YOU can be part of the solution! We’ll learn more about the Green New Deal and Carbon Pricing legislation and actions we can take to support. Panel Speakers include: Cam Davis, Commissioner Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; Eleanor Revelle, Alderman, City of Evanston, League of Women Voters of the U.S., Climate Change Task Force; Mike Zanillo, Citizens Climate Lobby – Illinois State Co-Coordinator; Jennifer Linton, Chair of the The Climate Reality Project – Chicago, IL Chapter; Regina Gomez, MD, League of Women Voters, Arlington Heights-Buffalo Grove-Mount Prospect, Environmental Issues Specialist. All are welcome to come, learn, and to get involved! For more information,  visit their Facebook event page .
Thursday, April 4, 2019: Mikva Challenge’s 20th Anniversary Fundraiser

When : Thursday, April 4, 2019: 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Cocktail reception; 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Dinner and program; 8:30pm, Dessert reception
Where : Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago
What : Mikva Challenge will host its 20th anniversary fundraiser, 20 Year Forward // Empowering Youth & Renewing Democracy, to raise support for its transformative youth leadership and civic engagement programs in Chicago. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, dinner and program, followed by a dessert reception.  Register and learn more .
April 6, 2019: A Town Hall Discussion On Cannabis Legalization

When : Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:30 am
Where : Evanston Civic Center – Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Avenue, Evanston
What : This Town Hall discussion on cannabis legalization is being hosted by IL State Senators Heather Steans and Laura Fine, as well as IL State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Kelly Cassidy. Individuals of all viewpoints are invited to attend and learn about proposed cannabis legislation. Please  RSVP here  or contact 847-424-9898 for more information.
Saturday, April 6, 2019: Warming House Annual Benefit and Silent Auction

When : Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Where : Wilmette Golf Club, 3900 Fairway Drive, Wilmette
What : The Warming House is that place for so many teenagers in our community. A place to go for friendship and support, where we’re always glad you came. Join them for an evening in support of the Warming House Youth Center and local teen programming. The Warming House Youth Center’s annual fundraising benefit is a festive evening featuring appetizers and a buffet, drinks, a silent auction with great sports packages like Cubs tickets with an on-field visit, and a fun Wine Pull event featuring great wines from our Board’s collections. Your $100 ticket includes dinner, drinks, and live music featuring Louie Zagoras. For more information or to purchase tickets,  visit their website.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019: Tenth Dems 9th Annual Poetry and Prose Awards Night

When:  Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 7:00pm
Where : Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan
What : The Tenth Dems 9th Annual Poetry and Prose competition will receive submissions from high school students through March 20, 2019. These students, from Zion, Waukegan and North Chicago, will submit original poetry and prose on the theme of “Respect.”  The student authors of prize-winning pieces, selected by our panels of published poets and past prizewinners, will receive cash gift cards and all participants, who receive Certificates of Participation, are invited to read their submissions. To RSVP,  register online . For more information contact 847-266-VOTE (8683), or email
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