News & Events


March 27, 2019
Title
The other day in the Chicago Tribune’s guest editorial section, a headline immediately grabbed my attention. The headline said, “Trump isn’t the biggest threat to the Constitution. Democrats are.” — I had no idea destroying the Constitution was our goal.
 
Whenever I see a news lede worded in such a clearly partisan way, the first thing I check is the name of the article’s author. In this case, the guest editorial was by Marc A. Thiessen. You may be familiar with this writer. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and his guest opinions appear periodically in the Trib. His AEI is also a guiding light for some of the most active right-wingers here on the North Shore.
 
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think free enterprise in a democracy is a brilliant thing. And responsible capitalism can benefit a society. But we should be clear on what is driving the efforts of Mr. Thiessen and his organization. To be blunt, I think the overriding priority of The AEI is to do everything it can to make sure its most moneyed supporters (I’m talking really BIG-money supporters) enjoy a future of virtually unfettered wealth accumulation.
 
This, of course, also means that any government policies that might interfere with extracting maximum profits from the sources of that wealth —corporations, financial institutions, natural resources — must be contested. No matter how positive the reason for such government action might be. Based on the stands AEI has taken, government involvement in search of ways to make the lives of every citizen better is dangerous. 
 
But let me get to the specifics of why Marc Thiessen says we Democrats are out to destroy our nation’s Constitution. The basis for Thiessen’s alarm is the fact that several Democratic presidential candidates have said that if elected in 2020 they will work to abolish the Electoral College.
 
According to Mr. Thiessen, getting rid of the Electoral College will marginalize Americans who don’t support the Democrats’ “increasingly radical agenda.”
 
Thiessen says, “Today Democrats have become “the party of big-city elites.” --- Really? I find it a bit weird that these guys who live comfortably in the Washington D.C. area (highly populated) are speaking up in defense of the residents of Kirwin, Kansas or Lost Cabin, Wyoming.
 
According to Mr. Thiessen, a main reason the founding fathers created the Electoral College was to make sure that less populous, rural states would not be dictated to by “large, big city populations.” – Well, not really. -- Mr. Thiessen is skilled at telling compelling stories, however they aren’t always completely true.
(In his younger days, he spent some time as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.)
 
The truth is, when the constitution was written, the most populous state was Virginia. It didn’t have the biggest city, but it had lots of rural plantations loaded with slaves. Today, city versus rural might be a polarizing issue, but back then the divide was between slave states versus free states. In a direct election system, the South would have lost every time because a huge percentage of its population was slaves, and slaves couldn't vote. But the Electoral College allowed states to count slaves as three-fifths of a person. This gave the South the inside track in presidential elections for years. 
 
So what about that “radical agenda” fear? Thiessen says the Electoral College protects our nation from “unconstrained radicalism.” His examples of radicalism are the “Green New Deal” and government involvement in health care, energy and transportation. He says without the Electoral College, Democrats will feel free to pursue full socialism without constraint.”
 
I wonder if the AEI thinks the government’s initiation of the interstate highway system under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was as socialistic a proposal as, for instance, federal funding to rebuild our nation’s electrical power grid to be more green?
 
He also says Democratic Party dependence on the support of voters living in our more rural states will force the party to broaden their appeal. And he falsely claims this is why “more and more Democrats want to get rid of it (the College).” --- To be honest, there actually was a time when our party did broaden its appeal in the rural south by going along with their Jim Crow laws. But it seems to me that is an excellent example of why we should walk away from any future possibility of Electoral College blackmail.
 
With all that said, I do think it’s always worth taking note of everything Mr. Thiessen writes because to me his editorials are basically right wing talking point bulletins. There’s a good chance that whatever you “takeaway” from his editorials will soon be repeated in other right wing print, radio or TV propaganda.
 
Now that the Mueller cloud is no longer hanging above President Trump’s impressively coiffed head, the country’s attention is turning to the presidential candidates vying to replace him in 2020. There are some exciting and inspiring proposals being presented that, contrary to Marc Thiessen’s opinion, should interest many voters in those rural states that Marc is so eager to “protect.”
 
As those proposals are refined to become more appealing, we Democrats will be increasingly attacked as radicals, socialists, big-city elitists. At least that’s what it appears Marc Thiessen and the AEI plan to do.

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. 
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 info@tenthdems.org.
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