Yesterday, Democrats came close to scoring a major victory in Georgia. But since they weren't competing in a game of horseshoes, "close" isn't cause for much celebrating. True, a losing margin of less than 4% in a Republican area that is accustomed to double-digit GOP victories is an accomplishment. And it may mean that future races in these days of Trump can be won by Dems. But still, how nice it would have felt to see Newt Gingrich's former congressional seat held by a Democrat. It also would have felt good to see a definitive statement of dissatisfaction registered against the party in control of our nation's government. - Didn't happen.
Now the analysis of the John Ossoff challenge has begun. Some of the comments I've read are pretty much in line with what I've been thinking since even before the Trump victory. So perhaps one positive product of yesterday's loss will be a clearer realization by Democratic Party leaders of what they must do in the future if they expect to regain control of our government's policies.
Looking back at this most expensive congressional race in history, it's clear that money wasn't the determining factor. Unlike many contests between the right wing and Democrats, the most money, by far, was spent supporting Democrat Ossoff. It's also clear that the loss wasn't because our candidate wasn't a good speaker or had scandals in his past. The few times I saw video of him speaking, he came across as a bright, articulate young guy. And I'm sure if there were some dark secret he was hiding, the Republicans would have exposed it.
Former Georgia Secretary of State and election winner Karen Handel's campaigning skills and personal history weren't a big advantage for her. From what I saw, she was far from the sharpest orator and she presented no new ideas. Her campaign message was pretty much just scary warnings. As for her past, she was the lady who as Senior V.P. of policy for the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation removed the organization's support for Planned Parenthood. A lot of women supporters of the Komen Foundation (and men too) found her stance toward Planned Parenthood to be counter to the Foundation's mission, as well as just plain nasty. But evidently not enough of those clear thinkers lived in good old Georgia.
John Ossoff is just 30 years old and looks younger. But that didn't keep him from defeating 4 other Democrats in the Georgia Primary, as well as out-polling a whole lot of Republican candidates. He is no loser. So if it wasn't money or candidate flaws, what do news reports say decided the race? Apparently it was the voters' continuing distrust of Washington's Democratic Congressional leadership. That was the theme against Ossoff repeated throughout the campaign. The voters Democrats need to win over in red states feel that Congress is detached from their situation. Trump's promise to "drain the swamp in Washington" resonated with them. Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's blunt statements about economic inequities that remain uncorrected by Congress continues to attract favorable responses in "red" as well as "blue" states.These voters are not reassured when Congressional leaders appealing for their votes are the same people who watched so much misery fall on the heads of so many Americans but then said nothing as the culprits behind that misery walked away richer and more powerful than ever. I know that the reality of that situation is much more complex than what I just described, but the relative silence at the top was not inspiring.
To win over more of those important red state (and downstate IL) voters, I'm not advocating some sort of mass retirement by the senior leadership of the Democratic Party. Their institutional memory and political skills are invaluable. However, it feels increasingly clear to me that a lot of dissatisfied voters across the United States might respond to the Democratic Party's message if it were sometimes delivered by someone they felt was more like one of them. The voters the Democratic Party must attract need to hear regional voices, see regional faces advocating policies that will benefit those voters. Our party's policies are good. But to register those policies with voters the message must stay consistent and be delivered convincingly. Who delivers the message is a big part of that convincing. This is what is so frustrating to me and to so many of my liberal friends. During my lifetime, the domestic message of the Democratic Party has consistently been its mission to improve the lives of all Americans by recognizing the responsibilities we all share for each other. This should should continue to be our clear and overriding message. It's the right thing to do and it should make sense to at least a large majority of voters. But there will always be forces pushing back against such thinking. That's why we should never take success for granted. We have the message. But to succeed we must always keep in mind that how we deliver that message is just as important as the message itself.
Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democratic leadership do care about protecting the public from the worst tendencies of the Republican policies. I know that. But I'm afraid that in some parts of our country it may be too late to restore the trust they have lost. I hope that in the future, Democratic Party leaders begin to make more use of fresh faces to present party positions.
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Next Tuesday night, June 27, at the Wilmette Village Hall at 7:30 pm,
there will be a Village Board meeting to decide whether or not Wilmette should opt out of Cook County's pending graduated raises of the minimum wage...
Here's what I know about minimum wages.
When I was in high school, way back in the 1950's, I worked in a grocery store before and after school. My first year I was paid the minimum wage of $0.75 an hour ($6.84 in today's dollars). This had been the minimum wage for five years. After maybe six months, I got a raise to $0.85 (the equivalent of 8.83 today). But the next year I was pleased to see the minimum wage raised to $1.00 an hour ($8.99 today).
When I look back on that now I realize that the government had raised the minimum by 33% in one single step
. That would be the equivalent today of raising Illinois' $8.25 minimum to $10.97 instantly. And that was under the Republican Party's iconic President Eisenhower! --
Surprisingly, our local economy did not collapse.
At first blush, it looks like with inflation the spending power of the minimum wage back in my teens wasn't much different from today. But in those days a gallon of gas was under 25 cents, a movie ticket was maybe 40 cents, candy bars were a nickel. We got along without cell phone fees, computer connections, credit card debt. Being poor back then was simply more doable. Anyway that was then, this is now.
In looking at data over the past 60 years, I can see that the
wages received by workers in low paying jobs have often not kept pace with inflation.
The peak of spending power for a minimum wage
worker occurred way back in
when those workers made the equivalent of
$10.75 per hour in today's dollars
. By 1981, as inflation continued to affect things, the federal minimum wage was raised to $3.35 under
President Jimmy Carter
. By then, its spending power had diminished to today's equivalent of $8.62 - still better than Illinois' present rate of $8.25 and today's
federal rate of $7.25, but tough to live on. What's interesting is that soon after that year,
the Reagan era began featuring his warm and fuzzy personality and his "trickle down" economics.
There were no more increases in the federal minimum wage until 9 years later when
George H.W. Bush
was President. By that time, spending power of the minimum wage had dropped to today's equivalent of $6.82 an hour. (What a kindly man President Reagan was.)
It's been 8 years since the present federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 under President Obama. Nothing since. (You think things today don't cost any more than they did in 2009? I bet they do.) Of course, through the years, a number of states and many communities have established higher minimums. And over those years, the arguments against raises in the minimum wage have pretty much never varied. The truth is there are many people who don't think any minimum wage should exist. Our Governor Rauner used to say such things.
So here's what I think. The more I hear on this subject it seems to me that there is a single minded agenda behind the cries of how a higher wage will stop teenagers from getting jobs or will drive service industries from villages. It's not talked about in debates and probably won't come up next Tuesday. The real battle is and always has been driven by the right wing philosophy that has always abhorred the idea of any government entity telling businesses how they should do anything. If you Google ALEC and the words "minimum wage," you will see that this very influential conservative lobby and propaganda factory has consistently fought the kind of ordinance now about to take affect in Cook County. For years, they have been keeping a close watch on such things, ready to weaken or stop any such activity.
Often, local Chambers of Commerce are sucked into their chess game without truly realizing that for ALEC it's not really about what's best for a village, its businesses or their employees. It's about stopping any advancement of government oversight involving the welfare of American workers. We have such ideologues active among us here on the North Shore. Their ideas of an ideal community are far from mine.
So now here we are in 2017 and our Village of Wilmette is considering opting out of the upcoming Cook County minimum wage ordinance. Several other villages, some nearby, have already done this but in Wilmette there has been a vocal reaction to this possibility. In a 2014 referendum, 71% of Wilmette voters supported the idea of a higher minimum wage. Those voters remain engaged.
The Wilmette Village President Bob Bielinski put together an informative and neutral collection of information on this issue. You can look it over by clicking here. Also you can read through the County Ordinance by clicking here.
I admit most of what I've written here is just my opinion. But it's an opinion with 60 years of observation behind it. So, I hope you will take a look at some the information available on the links I've provided. Or if you are curious, do some of your own research into the various aspects of this subject. Then, I hope you will show up next Tuesday night at the Wilmette Village Hall well before 7:30 pm to makes sure you have a seat. It should be a stimulating evening.
To paraphrase what I said in today's essay, being concerned about better
lives for all Americans is the right thing to do. If that means paying a few cents more for my cheeseburger or my dry cleaning in Wilmette, I can live with it.
This Saturday, June 24 at Glencoe sidewalk sale, stop by the New Trier Dems table and say hello!
Other upcoming events and news items:
Saturday afternoon, June 24 in Winnetka --
Meet Daniel Biss, Candidate for Governor
When: Saturday, June 24, from 4:30 - 6:30pm
: Home of Nancy Pred and Wade Thoma (Winnetka, IL address given upon RSVP)
: Event for Daniel Biss, Illinois State Senator who is a candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary election.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Liz or Lauren at RSVP@danielbiss.com or 773-372-6488
When: Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 5:00pm
This Sunday, June 25 in Deerfield -- Brad Schneider's End-of Quarter Reception.
Warehouse Eatery (formerly Trax), 833 Deerfield Rd., Deerfield
An end-of-quarter evening reception in honor of U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider.
Monday July 10 in Chicago - Rep. Robyn Gabel Rooftop Soiree
Monday, July 10, 2017 from 5:30 - 7:00pm
The Chicago home of Ellen Benjamin and Fred Bates, 3512 Southport Ave., Chicago
The annual rooftop soiree supporting state Representative Robyn Gabel.
For additional information or to RSVP. email Katy Lagenfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-600-9496.
Wednesday, July 19 -
The Tenth Dems Candidate Appreciate Event
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, time to be announced. SAVE THE DATE
Location in Tenth District to be announced
Tenth Dems hosts an event honoring those who put themselves forward to run in the April local elections. Keynote speaker will be Jason Kander who was named one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party by President Obama. He was a U.S. Senate candidate in 2016 after serving as Missouri's Secretary of State, a state legislator, and an Army National Guard intelligence officer.
Details to follow.
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
FYI: The NTDO Events Calendar
for the rest of 2017
June 23-24 GLENCOE SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Glencoe
July 14 -15
WINNETKA SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Winnetka
July 17 ANNUAL MEET AND GREET at AVLI ESTIATORIO
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
July 22 -23 WILMETTE SIDEWALK SALE
9am-5pm Downtown Wilmette
Sept. 10 NTDO ANNUAL MEETING AND PICNIC
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion 1 pm - 4 pm
Oct. 8 2017 NTDO ANNUAL DINNER
Maggiano's Old Orchard, Skokie, 5 pm-9 pm
Nov. (Date & Place TBA)
"HEAD START FOR 2018" CONFERENCE
All North Shore Democrats Invited
The guest speaker for the October 8, 2017 NTD Annual Dinner has been confirmed.
It's Congressman Mike Quigley.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Quigley will bring his perspective on the possible Russian meddling in our 2016 Election and the seriousness of such a threat to our democratic process. (Were any Trump operatives involved?) -- By October, who knows what our guest speaker may have to report?
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
If you are not already an NTDO member, and enjoy our Newsletter, we hope you consider joining us as a dues-paying member. NTDO is a not-for-profit political action organization. We depend on our membership dues to support our Democratic causes and candidates.
There are two options for dues payments: by check or credit card.
By Check: Make check payable to NTDO and mail to our office:
800 Oak St., Suite 112
Winnetka, IL 60093
By Credit Card: visit our website by clicking here
Click on the "Join/Contribute" button
Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
or go directly to ActBlue by clicking here.
|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.