Voting for Bernie

by Bob Roman

Chicago DSA has taken a few calls about voting for Bernie Sanders delegates. In Illinois, primary election voters will vote for the person they desire to be nominated for President. They will also vote for the delegates to the national convention. Nominally, the delegates are the ones who make the decision, so the callers were confused. There are more Bernie candidate delegates on the ballot than there are to be voted for. Who to vote for?

It turns out this is probably true for about two thirds of the Illinois Congressional Districts: more Bernie candidate delegates than spots to fill. I don’t know why but it seems to be deliberate. Each delegate on the ballot must be approved by the campaign they’re supporting. Without approval, they would be dropped from the ballot. The people on the ballot are those for whom Bernie supporters circulated petitions, minus one or two in several Districts.

Possibly it has something to do with the Democratic National Committee encouraging the representation of previously under-represented constituencies, something they’ve been doing since 1992. The Illinois Democratic Party uses a formula based on the turnout in the previous primaries. Thus the delegation, as a whole, should include 60 African Americans, 17 Hispanics, 1 Native American, 9 Asian / Pacific Islander, 10 LGBT, 6 disabled. Shortfalls in any category can be made up in the at-large delegates. The total number of District level delegates (and the Illinois delegation as a whole) needs to be equally divided between men and women.

It turns out there are several classes of delegate to the Convention.

There are the delegates elected in each Congressional District. 102 of the 181 total delegates from Illinois are District level delegates. The important thing to remember is: For Illinois Democrats, this primary is a binding preferential election. That is: It’s binding because the elected Sanders and Clinton delegates are obliged to vote for their candidate. It’s preferential because the delegates elected from each District is proportional to the popular vote in that District for each Presidential nominee candidate, unless that candidate gets less than 15% of the vote. Those don’t count.

So your most important vote is at the top of the ballot: Vote for Bernie. I suspect it would be unwise to skip voting for the delegates, but it becomes somewhat less important just which of the delegate candidates you vote for. This year the process is a bit less complicated as there is no election for District level alternate delegates, though there will be for Republicans.

Another class of delegates are the Pledged and Unpledged Party Leaders. The Unpledged total 25 and the Pledged total 20. The Unpledged are basically Illinois’ Congressional Delegation, Democratic National Committee members, Senator Durbin, President Obama, and others. The Pledged subcategory includes people drawn from State government, county and municipal officials, and party officials from those levels. The selection of the Pledged group takes place after the primary, in May, by the elected District level delegates and will reflect the state-wide vote. Candidates receiving less than 15% are not considered. This is another reason why the top of the ballot is your most important vote.

Unpledged, incidentally, does not mean uncommitted. It just means those delegates can change their minds at any time.

And then there are 34 At-Large delegates, apportioned by the statewide vote for Presidential nominee. Once again there’s a 15% threshold of the statewide vote to receive delegates, and these at large delegates are selected at the same meeting where the Pledged Party Leaders are chosen. 13 at-large alternates will also be selected. Once again, your preference at the top of the ballot is important.

The Illinois Democratic Party is taking applications for these positions through 5 PM on April 11. You will, however, need the approval of the Sanders campaign.

For more of the gory details of this process, see the Illinois Democratic Party 2016 Delegate Selection Plan and the Illinois State Board of Elections 2016 Candidate’s Guide. This is a very nice selection process for a Convention that, since the 1980s, has become nothing better than an overpriced, boring info-mercial for an already victorious nominee and a Platform that is forgotten even before the event is over.

Remember: Vote for Bernie. And the delegates, too, but don’t sweat the selection.


Petitioning for Sanders

by Tom Broderick

Petitions to put Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on the Illinois Primary Ballot won’t be submitted until January 6, which is just after the deadline for this article. The same holds true for delegates that we will elect to join him at the Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia in July later this year.

We hope to have one Chicago DSA member on the ballot as a Sanders delegate from the 6th Congressional District (CD): Alexander Franklin. The 6th CD is represented by Republican Peter Roskam, so we are very excited that Alex may go to Philadelphia and represent the views of Democratic Socialism from such a right wing stronghold.

Illinois will send 156 of 182 delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) pledged to vote for particular ­Presidential candidate based on the results of the vote tally from the March 15 Illinois Primary. Not only is it critical to vote for Bernie Sanders for President, you must look for the delegates pledged to vote for Bernie. Look for the Sanders’ delegates on your primary ballot and be sure to vote for them.

The remaining 26 delegates to the DNC will be officially designated as “Unpledged.” These are “Political Leaders and Elected Officials” (PLEOs) and will be made up from 14 Democratic National Committee members, 11 Members of Congress (1 Senator and 10 Representatives) and one Distinguished Party Leader (President Barack Obama). One reason to send the maximum number of electable Bernie delegates to Philadelphia is to influence these few “Unpledged” Super Delegates.

Working independent of the official Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign, Chicago DSA had comrades and friends circulating delegate petitions in the following Congressional Districts: 1 (Bobby Rush); 4 (Luis V. Gutierrez); 5 (Mike Quigley); 6 (Peter Roskam); 7 (Danny K. Davis); 8 (Tammy Duckworth); 9 (Jan Schakowsky); 11 (Bill Foster); 14 (Randy Hultgren) and 16 (Adam Kinzinger).

Elected Bernie delegates can influence the DNC. 102 delegates are to be pledged to presidential contenders based on the primary results in each CD. The more Bernie delegates sent to Philadelphia the greater their/our influence at the DNC. Rep. Jan Schakowsky will be a PLEO. She came out early for Hillary, but there are many voters in the 9th CD who mistrust Hillary’s deep ties to the world of trans-national investment and banking. Sending all of the elected Bernie Delegates to Philadelphia will deliver to Rep. Schakowsky a strong message in support of democracy.

Bernie delegates from districts that are heavily Republican can also sway events at the DNC. Sending a slew of Bernie delegates to the DNC from these districts will strengthen the voice of democratic values regardless of the upchuck delivered at the Republican National Convention. Voting for Bernie and his pledged delegates will only sow seeds for the future.

My appreciation to all the friends and comrades who freely gave time and energy in response to Chicago DSA’s outreach to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary ballot: Giudi Weiss, Alec Hudson, Tom Ladendorf, Norm Groetzinger, Alexander Franklin, Sydney Baiman, Bill Barclay, Pat Dooley, Judith Gardiner, Paul Sakol, Hilda Schlatter, Diane Scott, Peg Strobel, Tom Suhrbur, Holly Graff, Tom Simonds, George Kazda, Gary Hagen and Dave Rathke. Hopefully I haven’t missed anyone that I knew helped, but if so, mea culpa.

The number of valid signatures to get Bernie on the Illinois Democratic Primary ballot was 5,500. Nearly 10,000 signatures were collected. Delegates for the ballot required 500 valid signatures from their respective Congressional Districts. In the CDs where Chicago DSA had petition circulators the unofficial counts are: more than 850 in the 1st, almost 800 in the 4th, more than 1,100 in the 5th, more than 1,300 in the 6th, more than 1,100 in the 7th, more than 700 in the 8th, more than 1,500 in the 9th, more than 1,000 in the 11th, nearly 1,000 in the 14th and almost 700 in the 16th.

Any who read this and worked for Bernie’s campaign know that elections are but one step in the process of bringing forth democratic socialism. DSA is part of that process. Bread and Roses together breathe democratic socialism. There will be more work to do whether or not Bernie Sanders is elected President of the United States.

Editor’s Note: Paid for by Chicago DSA and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Dig it?


For more information on the delegate selection process, CLICK HERE.

Feel the Bern: A Great Chicago Fire

by Tom Broderick

New Ground: Chicago Democratic Socialists of America and the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce? The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce manages the indoor winter and outdoor spring through fall farmers’ markets in Logan Square on the near northwest side of Chicago, very near our office. Lisa Wallis, a Chicago DSA activist, suggested we apply for a table at the indoor market last winter and ask market visitors to sign petitions urging Senator Bernie Sanders to run for President of the United States. On our application, we also stated that we’d be promoting DSA. To our surprise, we were approved and provided a table and two chairs and a very good location within the market. Although this was before Bernie had announced that he was going to run, many people knew who he was and were happy to sign our petition. We had a copy of several of his position papers and one visitor read through all of them, said she would sign the petition, but felt that Bernie was not radical enough. Lisa Wallis, Michael Milligan and Tom Broderick staffed the table and enjoyed our first Bernie outreach.

When the outdoor market opened, we applied for space and were supplied a table, two chairs and a tent. This was still before petitions to get Bernie or his delegates on the Illinois Ballot were available. The response was tremendous. We had the four page flier “Who Is Bernie Sanders And What Is His 12 Point Agenda” printed by Chicago DSA at a union print shop, campaign buttons produced internally by Bob Roman and two versions of bumper stickers printed by Chicago DSA at a union print shop. We also had copies of New Ground and Democratic Left on the table. We had sign up sheets for folk who wanted more information on DSA as well as for folk who wanted to help with Bernie’s campaign. We ran out of sign up sheets for those who wanted to help with the campaign and had to use the blank back side of the sheets to keep up with the interest. Alec Hudson and Bill Barclay handled the first shift, Tom Ladendorf and Peg Strobel staffed the second shift and Jan Sansone and Tom Broderick took the last shift. We all commented on the enthusiasm of the primarily young, white market visitors. Let’s hope they vote.

Oak Park has an annual event called Day In Our Village, where local social, religious, civic and educational organizations can rent space to erect a tent and present themselves and their purposes. The Greater Oak Park chapter of Chicago DSA has taken advantage of this for years. This time we focused on Bernie: basic information about him, along with our petitions urging him to run. Oak Park is often referred to as a liberal community, and while it might be liberal on social issues, it is fiscally conservative and so of course we did encounter people who scoffed at the term “socialist.” We also encountered folk who declared themselves Republican as they strode past. It was also apparent that in Oak Park more white people than people of color knew the name Bernie Sanders. Along with our push on Bernie, we had copies of Democratic Left and New Ground available. Day In Our Village is an all day event and several comrades helped with set up, take down and staffing our tent.

GOPDSA @ Oak Park’s Day in Our Village

Our experience at Day In Our Village made it clear that it was necessary to do outreach in areas of Chicago where a white skin tone was less prevalent. To that end, we took the “12 Point Agenda” to the African Arts Festival, which was near Dyett High School at the north end of Washington Park. Dyett High School gained fame for the hunger strike that local parents staged to have the school both remain open as a public school and offer a curriculum focusing on green energy technology. Visitors to the Festival were overwhelmingly African-American. While there were some who said they didn’t know who Bernie was, this was a minority. Many smiled as I handed the Agenda to them and said “We Love Bernie.” Nobody told me they were Republican although two said they were going to vote for Hillary because we could not endure another Republican in the White House. As this was an entrance to an event, and I was there early in the day, most people were going in, leaving little opportunity for discussion. But I was wearing my DSA hat with one of our Bernie stickers pasted on the brim and one of our Bernie campaign pins. I was also able to hand out a few pins to folk who took a moment to talk with me. In about two hours, I handed out 200 fliers.

We also went to St. Pius V Parish in a predominantly Hispanic area of Chicago. Here we were able to utilize the English language/Spanish language “Who Is Bernie” flier that we produced internally. Thanks to our National DSA office for the translation and thanks to Peg Strobel for producing them. People were entering and exiting church or passing by. Not a lot of people wanted to stop and talk and I’d say the brief interactions I had with people convinced me that few knew who Bernie was. Our work there may have been the introduction of Bernie to this community.

Toward the end of the summer, Alex McLeese, Bill Barclay and Tom Broderick traveled to “Fighting Bob Fest” in Madison, Wisconsin where we joined with our Madison DSA comrades to promote Bernie and DSA. This was a decidedly left political gathering and many groups were tabling for Bernie. Alex did an outstanding job of corralling people passing by the table to discuss not only Bernie, but pushing a democratic socialist agenda.

Paul Sakol, Alex McLeese, Peg Strobel, Bill Barclay and Tom Broderick worked around Humboldt Park, which has a diverse community including a strong Puerto Rican presence. Again offering us a chance to use our bi-lingual fliers. Paul Sakol and Bill Barclay went to a community center in the Austin neighborhood. Austin has a large African-American presence and a young women posted information about Bernie on her Facebook page.

Finally on Wednesday, October 14, petitions to put Bernie on the Illinois Primary ballot were provided. Each petition had space for ten signatures and GOPDSA was given 50 copies and urged to turn in as many signed and notarized petitions as possible on the following Monday. Though not immediately in everyone’s hands, by Monday, Julie Allison, Peg Strobel, Bill Barclay, Ron Baiman, Sydney Baiman, Jan Sansone, Hilda Schlatter, Paul Sakol, Joe Kransdorf and Tom Broderick submitted more than 270 signatures to the Bernie campaign staffer working in Illinois. That is more than 5% of the 5,000 maximum number of signatures that can be submitted. We have since turned in additional signatures and we were told that the state-wide count was over 3,200 signatures as of November 4.

DSA is working independently from the official Bernie campaign and are taking no direction from them. We are a creative group. We took a variety of signature gathering approaches. Of course visiting friends was prominent, but also walking several blocks from a CTA train station on the way home from work, standing by the Lake Cinema, standing outside Unity Temple Unitarian Church and Third Unitarian Church before and/or after service, sitting in a lawn chair in front of an apartment near a CTA train station and stopping commuters and passers-by, taking them to a business meeting among non-profits, taking them to a writers’ group, and sitting on a park bench on a shopping mall in downtown Oak Park and to various farmers’ markets as that season wound down.

At press time, the petitions to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary Ballot were not yet available. The official campaign wants to create a slate of Bernie delegates for each Congressional District. The upside? Each collected signature is good for the entire slate. The downside? Double petition work for the circulators. But gathering petitions to get Bernie’s delegates on the Illinois Primary Ballot is critical. We need to get all of his delegates to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in July, 2016. In Illinois, we get to elect a portion of delegates to go to the convention. Delegate petitions (unlike Bernie petitions) must be signed by registered voters who live in the Congressional District where the delegates live. Paul Sakol, a GOPDSA comrade, is hoping to be a Bernie delegate. We hope to enlist more Chicago DSA members to circulate petitions within their districts to enhance Bernie’s chances to become President of the United States.

Editor’s Note: Paid for by Chicago Democratic Socialists of America and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.