There has been a lot of distress and despair in the wake of the election results on the national level. Certainly, we have a lot of strategizing to do as Democrats going forward, particularly on the national level. We will get into that below. But before we do, here’s an analysis of how we did here in Cook County:
Illinois was a rare bright spot in the nationwide election results, and we did a particularly outstanding job on turnout in Cook County. Many committeemen, organizations and volunteers must be commended for their successful efforts. While the vote tallies are not yet finalized, turnout in terms of raw votes surpassed 2012 General Election levels in Cook County (both in Chicago and suburban Cook). Secretary Hillary Clinton received over 100,000 more votes than President Obama did in 2012 in Cook County, and we nearly hit Obama 2008 levels (we’ll see where we end up when the election totals are certified). While Democratic base turnout was down in other important Midwestern cities across the country, including Milwaukee and Detroit, Chicago and Cook County did not experience a similar drop in turnout and for that we should be proud.
Downballot we had some important victories for which turnout in Cook County played a major role. We have a new Democratic senator, Tammy Duckworth. We elected a new Democratic state comptroller, Susana Mendoza. And all of our countywide Democratic candidates won resounding victories.
However: despite the encouraging results for Democrats this election cycle in Cook County, we cannot get complacent. We have incredibly important races coming up in 2018, most importantly for governor. If we are to beat Governor Rauner and his anti-worker agenda, we must “Keep Illinois Blue” in 2018, and that means making sure that Democratic turnout remains up. Midterm election turnout has always been an issue for Democrats, but the stakes are too high now to be complacent – we have to work to keep Democrats engaged and active until the 2018 midterm so turnout stays high and we are able to elect Democrats up and down the ticket.
We must also focus on the national level, and prepare to loudly resist any attempts by the new Trump administration to roll back years of progress, tear down the social safety net, or divide us racially or otherwise. Many are rightfully terrified of what this new administration represents and what it may try to do, particularly minorities, Muslims, undocumented immigrants and other marginalized groups. We must stand together as Democrats with a united voice to protect those who are threatened and offer fair and inclusive solutions for the future. Our ideas will be popular and will ultimately prevail – after all, we did win the popular vote by nearly 2 million nationwide, something we need to remind the Republicans at each and every opportunity.
Finally, we must all stay engaged and active. We have been humbled here at the party by the number of people who have come forward with a desire to get involved and engaged since the election. We have had hundreds of new volunteer requests, and we are in the process of strategizing and planning meetings and other events to accommodate and activate these new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out our volunteer form and we will be in touch shortly. Your help is absolutely necessary and crucial to the party’s efforts moving forward.
You can sign up to volunteer here: Cook County Democratic Party Volunteer Form
Thank you and let’s win in 2018!