More Than 200 Attend Lively Post-Election Forum

By Nancy Krent

On Monday evening, November 21, more than two hundred people gathered at the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest to participate in the Tenth Dems open forum on the 2016 election.  Tenth Dems Founding Chair Lauren Beth Gash opened the meeting by noting that, locally, Election Day was an overwhelming success for the people of the 10th District. In addition to Brad Schneider’s win in the Congressional race, the 10th kept all its incumbent Democrats, picked up the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk’s seat and helped Tammy Duckworth and Susana Mendoza win statewide.  However, that stood in sharp contrast to the scary, shocking rightward pull seen in so many areas of the country with the election of Donald Trump.  As Lauren noted, all of us are still trying to come to grips with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and what that means for Democrats and for the country.  The purpose of the meeting was therefore to mpostelection4ourn, to celebrate, and to plan how to move forward.

For the next two hours, person after person lined up for the microphone and patiently waited their turn to share their concerns, their frustrations, and their suggestions for action.  Four of Tenth Dems’ leaders—Managing Vice-Chair and newsletter editor Barbara Altman, Communications Director Eric Herman, and Leadership Committee members Nancy Krent and Laurence Schiller joined Lauren on stage and occasionally engaged with the speakers on the floor by elaborating upon an issue or answering a question.

The conversation was free-ranging.  Multiple people spoke about the need to engage younger voters and others who feel disenfranchised.   Several speakers mentioned looking for ways to bring young Democrats together, and volunteers are being solicited to reinvigorate the Young Tenth Dems to focus on this goal.

A number of speakers addressed national concerns, such as voter suppression, Trump’s expected Cabinet picks and ethics issues, and attacks on progressive legislation and programs, such as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Among the suggestions for action were letter-writing and educational campaigns, lobbying efforts, partnering with affinity groups, and working to make our voices heard nationally.

One key issue was the Electoral College.  Some speakers talked about efforts to change or abolish the Electoral College, and others wanted to work on studying the issue more fully.

Others spoke about the need to prepare for upcoming elections, including the municipal elections in 2017 and the mid-terms and gubernatorial elections in 2018.  Building and strengthening precinct committee structures, helping with canvassing and organizing, and encouraging and raising support for candidates were some of the suggestions that speakers shared.  Additionally, people suggested reaching out to other states, and other areas of Illinois, where local Democrats may need our support to strengthen their organizing efforts.

Several people talked about the presidential campaign, and discussed some of the factors that may have led to Hillary’s defeat.  Many thought that it was important to study the election so that we could learn from what went wrong to help us build stronger, more successful campaigns going forward.

In all, dozens of people took the mic to voice their individual thoughts, concerns, and suggestions over the course of nearly two hours, and many more signed up to volunteer to put ideas into action.

Tenth Dems plans to host additional, smaller conversations in the coming months, across the 10th District, to talk more about the ideas that have been generated, to seek additional ideas, and to implement action plans.  Find out more at, and if you are interested in volunteering, you can do so at

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