TGIF, Illinois. We survived the unconventional Democratic convention, and we’ll be doing it all over again next week when the Republican Party "gathers."
Mission accomplished. Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination for president and put to rest the idea floated by his critics that he’s alone, hiding in a basement somewhere too feeble or "sleepy" to run the country. Just earlier this month, the Trump campaign leaned into this idea hard, deploying Photoshopped images of Biden. The former vice president slipped on a couple words but there were no goofs nor gaffes, otherwise.
Biden’s speech was one for the large Democratic tent with room left open for Republicans or Independents to feel comfortable joining in, too.
“United we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America,” Biden said on the fourth and last night of the virtual Democratic National Convention.
POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelgo, who have covered Biden extensively on the campaign trail, said the “commanding delivery could make it more difficult for Trump to paint him as staggering and senile (“Slow Joe”) at the Republican convention next week.”
Biden touched on Covid, the Affordable Care Act, an economy “in tatters,” environmental justice, and in one of the most powerful moments, he talked about visiting with George Floyd’s daughter before his funeral and the racial inequalities that choke the country.
“Will we be the generation that finally wipes out the stain of racism from our national character?” Biden asked in a speech he chose to kick off with a reference to often-overlooked civil rights leader Ella Baker. “I believe we’re up to it. I believe we’re ready.”
Biden’s speech attempted to stay above the fray (he avoided mentioning the president by name), so he relied on others like Sen. Tammy Duckworth, to sling the harshest arrows at Donald Trump.
Speaking to the national audience before Biden Thursday night, the Illinois senator roasted Trump as the “coward-in-chief” and said he is unfit to command the nation’s military. Knowing her story of losing both legs after her helicopter was shot down during the Iraq War, which may be new to many people outside of the state, the message was a punch in the gut.
Duckworth said Biden understood the responsibilities of the presidency because his late son Beau was an Army vet who had served in Iraq.
“Joe knows the fear military families live because he’s felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe,” she said, adding that Biden also “would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet.”
Biden’s one-time opponents from the Democratic presidential primary also took part in the night, participating in a Zoom call where they shared memorable moments they’ve had with the nominee. Separately, Mike Bloomberg took to a podium to excoriate Trump as he did on the campaign trail about his fuzzy business acumen, and now as a purveyor of "quack cures" amid the coronavirus.
Illinois Democrats rallied in their own Zoom call to support the Biden-Harris ticket. Sen. Dick Durbin, former Obama top aide Valerie Jarrett, Rep. Danny Davis and Lauren Underwood all gave shout-outs to the ticket.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker was there too to offer sweeping support for the Democratic ticket, saying Biden has experienced tragedy that allows him to bring empathy to all he does. The governor then made a push for the other big campaign in the state: the graduated income tax. “I hope you’ll bring all that energy to the job of transforming Illinois and making our tax system more fair for the middle class, and those who are striving to get there,” Pritzker said.
State Democratic Party executive director Mary Morrissey called the election “D-Day… Every hour of every day between now and Nov. 3, we need to ask ourselves, what we are doing to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?”
Days until the 2020 election: 74
Inside the 5 moments that nearly tanked Biden’s bid: “From Iowa and New Hampshire to Bloomberg and Hunter, Biden’s campaign was one near-death experience after another,” by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki
Joe Biden: An Old Man Trying to Lead a Young Country, by POLITICO’s John F. Harris
What we learned about Biden during this bizarre 4-day convention, by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza
Best lines: Thursday night convention host Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who starred in “Veep,” sprinkled jokes throughout the programming, even mispronouncing Mike Pence’s last name — a jab at the VP and perhaps other conservatives, like Tucker Carlson, for mispronouncing Kamala Harris’ first name. Video here
Trump’s diversion tactic: Trump invokes ‘blood-stained sidewalks of Chicago’ in attack on Biden, by Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart
State Sen. Terry Link announced Thursday that he’s stepping down as head of the Lake County Democratic Party effective Sept. 15. The move came after party members emailed him Wednesday saying if he didn’t resign immediately, they’d vote to push him out.
Link, who has been charged by the feds with tax evasion, is also expected to step down from his seat in the General Assembly sometime before Sept. 15.
That little window, in which he’d be out of the Senate but still running the Lake County party, would allow Link to name his successor. It’s a point that’s infuriating Lake County Dems who say Link has been promising he’d step down for weeks.
Some background: Before he was charged by the feds, Link has been identified for more than a year as the state lawmaker who wore a wire for the FBI in a bribery investigation of former state Rep. Luis Arroyo.
Realizing a change had to be made at the top of their organization, the Lake County Democrats prepared to elect Lauren Beth Gash as the new chair in the spring. But Covid-19 restrictions kept members from meeting in person, as the group’s statutes required. Link agreed more than a few times to step down, but never did. Now party members want him out.
They’re also worried he’s making a power play on his Senate seat. If Link resigns before Sept. 12, that would trigger a special election for the Nov. 3 ballot. Then each party would put a candidate forward.
If Link resigns his Senate seat after Sept. 11, the cut-off date for a 2020 election is missed and his successor is appointed and would serve out the remainder of Link’s term, through 2022. And Link could have a hand in the selection.
Committee members are calling the move an “egregious” abuse of power and are pushing for a special meeting to confirm new leadership. “Enough is enough,” said one committee member. “It’s time for him to move along with his life.”
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Presiding over a virtual City Council meeting at 10 a.m.
No official public events.
On vacation and back to work Aug. 24.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 27 deaths from the coronavirus and 1,832 new confirmed cases in Illinois. That’s a total of 7,833 deaths and 213,721 cases. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Aug. 13 through Aug. 19 is 4.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is 4.9 percent.
— School outbreaks wreck Trump’s plans for return to normal: “The infections follow the cancellation of much of college sports, another blow to the president’s quest for a sense of a return to pre-pandemic times,” by POLITICO’s Bianca Quilantan, Nicole Gaudiano and Juan Perez Jr.
— A Covid-19 vaccine still hasn’t emerged — but some are already wary of it: “As scientists across the globe race to create a Covid-19 vaccine that is safe and effective, the American public appears sharply divided when it comes to the prospect of getting vaccinated against the new virus,” by Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos.
— Kanye falls short in Wisconsin: “When you’re late, you’re late,” Commissioner Julie Glancey said during a 2½ hour hearing at which the panel voted 5-1 against West. “We’ve knocked people off the ballot for being one signature short. If we are holding their feet to the fire on the number of signatures, we need to hold their feet to the fire on the time they file." West faces the Illinois State Board of Elections today on challenges to getting on the ballot here.
— Pritzker-backed group promoting graduated-rate tax goes up with first ad of campaign season: “With only 75 days until Election Day, we’re committed to ensuring Illinoisans know the truth about the Fair Tax and how it will help our families, our communities, and our state,” said Quentin Fulks, the group’s chairman. Tribune’s Rick Pearson reports.
… Battle heats up over graduated income tax: “Both friends and foes of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tax amendment step up their game on a closely contested issue,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Harris sets off Democratic donor stampede: "Biden’s new running mate has energized some donors who were disappointed after the primary, piling on top of Biden’s robust fundraising," by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider
— Police union donates to Foxx’s opponent: Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police has donated $57,800 to Pat O’Brien’s campaign to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. The donation “eclipses the total contributions Republican Pat O’Brien reported during the second quarter. In addition to the FOP donation, the former judge looking to unseat the Democratic incumbent this November received $5,000 from the Chicago Police Sergeants Association PAC Fund at the end of July, records show,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— After string of safety problems at Chicago early childhood centers, feds take notice: “The federal government says Chicago has not done enough to correct health and safety problems in the child care programs it oversees for some 11,000 children. That has sparked a chain of events that could curtail Chicago’s early learning powers and threaten its universal prekindergarten expansion, Chalkbeat has learned,” by Chalkbeat Chicago’s Cassie Walker Burke.
— As murders soar, judges are freeing more violent crime suspects on electronic monitoring: “Sun-Times analysis finds big jumps in monitoring for people charged with murder, robbery and illegal gun possession. Police Supt. David Brown blames that for this year’s 50% rise in killings,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Are people really leaving Streeterville?: “Ald. Brian Hopkins warned of a mass exodus following looting on Michigan Avenue. But it may take more for people to flee the utopia built by Mayors Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. Daley,” writes Edward McClelland for Chicago magazine.
— Lightfoot defends heavy police presence around her home: “‘Given the threats that I have personally received. Given the threats to my home and my family, I’m gonna do everything to make sure that they are protected,’ the mayor said Thursday. ‘I make no apologies whatsoever for that,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Lord & Taylor closing last Chicago-area stores: “Operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the department store chain is shutting down in Northbrook and Schaumburg,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Nonprofit beefs up virtual support: Communities In Schools, a dropout prevention nonprofit, is beefing up virtual support programming it provides to Chicago Public Schools students. It’s launching a new program to help freshmen cope with the stress of entering high school.
— Burke’s lawyers say feds bungled wiretaps, call post office scheme a setup: “Lawyers for indicted Chicago Ald. Edward Burke alleged in a court filing Thursday that federal investigators bungled the wiretap of Burke’s phones and improperly tried to set him up in a scheme involving the old main post office that forms the backbone of the corruption case. The allegations came in a motion to suppress the evidence gleaned from the wiretaps on Burke’s cellphone and City Hall offices, which allowed the FBI to monitor thousands of conversations the alderman made and received over the course of nearly a year,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner.
— Former alderman who secretly recorded Burke could avoid prosecution: “Former 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis may never be convicted of a crime in the wide-ranging federal probe of Chicago City Hall corruption, even though he admitted wrongdoing when he was the powerful chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.
Suburban Catholic school teacher fired after refusing to return to class: “At age 63 and married to a cancer survivor, the longtime teacher said she didn’t feel comfortable with the Chicago Archdiocese’s plans to reopen schools full time this fall while Covid-19 is still far from contained,” by Tribune’s Javonte Anderson and Sophie Sherry.
— Amid ComEd scandal in Springfield, ethics reform front and center in Pritzker’s energy agenda: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration is proposing a series of “accountability” measures for utility companies as part of an energy policy agenda unveiled Friday, a month after federal prosecutors said the state’s largest utility, Commonwealth Edison, engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” while seeking political favors in Springfield. Improving transparency and ethics is the first of eight principles in Pritzker’s agenda, which also includes a number of clean energy proposals,” by Tribune’s Jamie Munks.
— Springfield race riot site now part of National Parks program: “The site of a deadly race riot in Springfield has been added to the national African American Civil Rights Network. Only 30 locations have received recognition,” by NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford.
— Eviction moratorium extended by Pritzker, while activists demand rent control ban be lifted: “The move is supported by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who are tasked with evicting tenants when they are legally allowed. Dart wrote a letter to the governor asking for the moratorium to be extended,” by ABC/7’s Leah Hope.
Bigger isn’t always better for cannabis companies trying to survive pandemic: “Specialized operations and a narrow geographic footprint are buoying marijuana providers such as Trulieve Cannabis Corp. at a time when the broader industry is struggling with falling demand and capital constraints,” by Bloomberg’s Tiffany Kary.
— The spectacular fall of Steve Bannon, a center-of-power populist, by POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger
— DeJoy looks to reintroduce himself after attacks on Postal Service changes, by POLITICO’s Marianne Levine and Daniel Lippman
— ‘Imagine the mayhem coming to your town’: Trump offers his Biden prebuttal with dark predictions, by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook
— State Rep. Delia Ramirez (4th) and Boris Hernandez are engaged. “Sometimes love comes at unexpected moments, in the midst of a global pandemic and when you’re just trying to survive day to day,” she tweeted with a picture after their engagement earlier this week. Ramirez told Playbook their parents are from the same village. They went to school together and farmed together, Ramirez said. When Hernandez heard Ramirez was running for her the Illinois General Assembly in 2018, he emailed to wish her luck. They stayed in touch and when they met in person a few months ago—in the middle of the pandemic—Ramirez says it was “love at first sight.” The two plan to live in Humboldt Park. “I hope our story brings some hope and joy. Always believe in love,” she says. Photo
— Turning Point USA co-founder Bill Montgomery, who died last month, will be honored at a memorial service today.
— Rabbi Leo Wolkow, helped lead OSRUI Reform Jewish camp that nurtured faith, friendships, has died: “Beside working at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the nation’s oldest Reform Jewish overnight summer camp, he was rabbi for 37 years at what’s now Shir Tikvah in Homewood,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.
Sister Jean discusses quarantining, basketball’s fate, life lessons ahead of 101st birthday: “Her one birthday wish? ‘The best one that I could possibly imagine is that if I could leave [my apartment] and go to campus,’ she said,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
Today: Federal Judge Ilana Rovner; Jonathan Leach, former general counsel and COO for Chicago’s Aviation Department and now partner at Chico & Nunes P.C.; Amanda Puck, director of Strategic Brand Development at Mariano’s, and Loyola cheerleader and Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, who turns 101.
Saturday: Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough,Springfield lobbyist Frank Bass, political consultant and co-founder of New Chicago Consulting Tom Bowen, Circuit Court Judge Kent Delgado, and National Institutes of Health Legislative Analyst Essence Motley.
Sunday: State Sen. Dale Righter (55th), state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (92nd), state Rep. Barbara Hernandez (83rd), Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong, city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, White House Legislative Affairs Associate Director Richard Chalkey, Illinois Department of Human Resources Chief of Staff Ryan Croke, Brunswick Group Partner Patti Solis Doyle, civic leader Carol Prins, PR and media consultant Shawn Taylor, and comms consultant and YWCA Metro Chicago Board President Joyce Winnecke.
August 21, 2020 at 08:34AM