News & Events

July 31, 2019
Debating the debates.
Last night on national television, we heard from ten Democrats who want to be their party’s nominee for our next president. Tonight, we’re going to hear from ten more. To get onstage, these twenty met certain criteria (fundraising and poll numbers). The total number of aspiring candidates is ever higher!
I won’t attempt to critique last night’s performance of each candidate or the specifics of what they said. That’s beyond my skill set. -- If you did miss last night’s event, you can find complete videos or transcripts on the Internet and draw you own conclusions.
With that said, I did get a couple of general impressions that I’ll share:
-- There is a progressive core of Democrats who believe it’s time for America to renew the energy, ideas and ideals that led our nation to achieve so many positive milestones. Those Democrats were well represented on the stage. (I imagine we will see some of that thinking represented in the debate tonight too.)
-- There is also a segment of Democrats who appeared last night who, although progressive on certain issues, are reluctant to challenge the status quo in truly big ways (they claimed they had in the past – maybe so). Such reluctance led them to criticize various Medicare expansion proposals and border “security” positions with words that were close to Republican talking points. (I also recognize that they are from “red” states.)
It will be interesting to see if that dynamic holds true tonight. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see if the CNN producers and debate narrators handle their chores in a less annoying way.
Each of this year’s Democratic Party “debates” has been allotted two hours of TV time. However, last night if you subtracted the time spent introducing each candidate as they strolled onto the stage, the narrators’ introductory and interim comments, the breaks for paid commercials, and each candidates opening and closing remarks, viewers were given little more than ninety minutes to hear the ten candidates present specific thoughts on at least a dozen complex and critically important issues. 
The narrators’ rules allowed a one-minute response to each of CNN’s questions. Once the timer reached one minute, the narrator started speaking over the candidate’s comments – often just as their summary point was being made. This really did annoy me.
I may not possess the keen ear of a TV professional like CNN’s Jake Tapper, but I’ve been in conversations for a lot of years. If I’m actually listening to what’s being said, I know when that person speaking to me is nearing the end of their sentence. Their cadence and wording makes it clear. These debates do have reasons for time rules (commercial breaks if nothing else), but there must be a better way to handle this.
At our New Trier Dems endorsement sessions, we have a timekeeper with a “30-seconds” sign that is quietly flashed to each speaker. Amazingly, he/she usually wraps up within seconds of their allotted time. Perhaps CNN could budget for a tiny light bulb on each podium. The narrator could click it on when 5 or ten seconds of time remained. The candidate’s words might be rushed, but viewers would at least hear the summary language without someone else’s voice shouting them down. -- Or perhaps the CNN narrator could simply say, “ten seconds left” and allow the candidate to finish unmolested.
The shout-down methods of CNN’s fastidious timekeepers accomplished the opposite of what their event was supposed to produce. Information was lost.
As the debate went on, I also got a growing feeling that there was something “off” about the questions being asked. At times, they almost felt accusatory. And, for sure, they felt like the narrators were trolling for “gotcha” lines that would keep the polarization pot stirred for future CNN TV discussions.
Often, the initial question asked about a new subject didn’t call for an “elevator statement” that quickly described the candidate’s position and reasoning. Instead the leadoff question was worded to demand a defensive answer. That’s not all bad. We should see how the candidates handle such confrontation. But those challenging leadoffs happened so often it started to feel like the tone of the entire debate carried a negative vibe. I hope things are different tonight.
Last month, as I watched the first pair of debates with the glitzy stage setting and the parade of candidates on display, it reminded me a bit of the Miss America Pageant. I thought, “Is this the best procedure we can come up with to determine who we want to be our next president?”

Thankfully, these debates are only part of the process. The grass roots action starting this fall is when things really take off.
Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Saturday, September 14, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Annual Meeting & Picnic at Gillson Park

When : Saturday, September 14, 2019 - Annual Members' Meeting from 1:00pm to 2:00pm; Picnic for Everyone from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

What : At our Annual Members' Meeting, you'll hear what we've been up to this past year, as well as our plans for the 2020 election season. Please note that the Annual Meeting is restricted to Members only - If you're not currently a member,  why not join right now?

Our Picnic will begin immediately after our Annual Meeting and everyone - family, friends, neighbors - are welcome to attend. Our Picnic is always a great opportunity to meet fellow Democrats and hear from some of our local elected officials and candidates. We look forward to seeing you there!
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. 
Monday, August 5, 2019: Indivisible Evanston’s Monthly Meeting

When : Monday, August 5, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where : Lorraine G. Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Ave, Evanston
What : Join Indivisible Evanston for its August monthly meeting and hear from special speaker, Rep. Jan Schakowsky. Hear their working group updates and plans to pivot in preparation for 2020.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019: Luncheon With US Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth

When : Tuesday, August 6, 2019 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Where : Il Porcellino, 59 W. Hubbard, Chicago
What : A luncheon honoring Senator Durbin with special guest, Senator Tammy Duckworth. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or contact Nancy Kohn at 312-527-3667 or email
Wednesday, August 7, 2019: Cook County Human Trafficking Conference

When : Wednesday through Friday, August 7 through 9, 8:30am to 4:15pm each day
Where : IIT Chicago-Kent, College of Law, 565 W. Adams St., Chicago
What : The Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force’s ninth annual three-day conference features national speakers and local discussion. For more information, see the  Task Force’s website Register online .
Sunday, August 11, 2019: Touch-A-Truck & Park Day in Morton Grove

When : Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Austin Park, 8336 Marmora Ave., Morton Grove
What : State Senator Ram Villivalam, Special Guest Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Josina Morita with the Morton Grove Fire Department present this event. Bring the whole family to explore fire trucks from the Morton Grove Fire Department, learn about water conservation, and enjoy Austin Park. Parking is available on all sides of the park. Water, sunscreen, and snacks will be available.  Link to RSVP . Questions call 872-208-5188.
Thursday, August 15, 2019: MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita Hosts Joint Asian American Leaders Caucus Launch Party

When : Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where : Clarity Partners, LLC, 20 N. Clark St., Chicago
What : Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Josina Morita hosts the Chicago Launch Party of the Joint Asian American Leaders Caucus.  Come to network and have a drink. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information and to RSVP,  register online .
Thursday, August 15, 2019: Ida B. Wells Annual “Legacy and Libations” Features Film Screening

When : Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Film Row Cinema – Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago
What : The annual Ida B. Wells Legacy and Libations Event features a screening of the film  Lincoln is Crying: the Grifters, Grafters and Governors of Illinois.
Saturday, August 24, 2019: Deputy Voter Registrar Training Sponsored by Tenth Dems

When : Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:00am
Where : Northbrook Public Library, Interactive classroom, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What : A training for Deputy Voter Registrars will be held. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote in Cook County. The event is open only to Cook County residents who are interested in helping to register new voters. Deputy Registrars must be trained in the county in which they live, but once trained, can register voters anywhere in Illinois. Training takes less than an hour. This training is being held through the County Clerk’s Office and is free of charge. Sign-ups will be taken up to five hours before the class starts. In most cases, late sign-ups will not be added to the class.  Register online in advance . For additional information contact us at, or call 847-266-VOTE (8683).
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When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process by: participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, and playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain  free admission  to select forums and events throughout the year.    

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