By Kim Savage

The Big Tent doesn’t need to be a circus, so please keep your attention focused on the main objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot.

This part of the election cycle tests the viability of Democratic candidates for competition in the General Election. It also tests ideas among the voters in the Democratic Party. We will not all agree on the candidates or the ideas, but we cannot let that be a distraction from achieving our objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot

For years, local Democrats have complained about the dearth of Democrats on the ballot. Some people have admitted to voting in Republican primaries because they did not have a choice in Democratic races, even if there was someone on the ballot. However, when it was time to step up and run, they were not there to throw their hat in the ring. This has been an obstacle to our objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot.

In 2018, we had almost every ballot slot filled. For 2020, we will have even a higher number of slots filled and more races will be contested. The Democratic Party, along with the township leaders and elected officials, has worked very hard to recruit candidates to run for office throughout the county. Where there are contested primaries, please learn the facts about the candidates and vote for the candidate who reflects the values you hold. Why are they running? What skills or ideas do they offer for the position they are running for? What have they done to help elect other Democrats in DuPage? Are other candidates or entities distorting information to foment their personality conflicts or push special agendas? The Primary Election voters determine who will represent us on the ballot. We want the candidates who support Democratic values to run in the General Election so we can meet our objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot.

On a local level, there have been many Democrats who have served on municipal, park, library, and school boards in non-partisan roles throughout DuPage County. Until recently, many have been reluctant to identify as Democrats because they were elected as non-partisan candidates. The recent shift in the political landscape has made local elected officials more willing to identify their political affiliations. The Republicans have not exhibited the same hesitations over time and have used their positions as a spring board to higher levels of office. To achieve similar results, it is imperative that we support local elected officials who share our values so that they will be successful in their roles and eventually decide to run as Democrats for higher office. One way to do that is to speak up in support of their initiatives or have discussions with them when you might suggest an alternate path. When local officials support legislation that was passed by a supermajority in the legislature and signed by a Democratic governor, we should applaud their efforts and advocate for their positions. Uniting to implement a Democratic agenda will assist in meeting our objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot.

While we have made great inroads in DuPage County, the Republicans are swarming like sharks to attack and dismember the Democratic infrastructure that has grown in DuPage County. It is imperative that we maintain the Democratic seats that have been won. It is also necessary to increase the number of elected Democrats this year and into the future in order to effect change. Don’t be fooled; this will not be an easy task. We need everyone on board to work toward the same goal. Please don’t get caught up in distractions and unnecessary games. It is important to hold elected officials accountable, but make sure that you don’t engage in counterproductive narratives because you wanted a blue pony and the best they were able to negotiate for is a yellow pony. Stay focused and do what you can to help meet our objective: electing Democrats up and down the ballot.