Which party has a message?

Political pundits have been saying that Democrats lack a “message.” This is a Republican talking point, but too many Democrats and progressives repeat it. If it means that Democrats don’t deliver simplistic, dishonest, manipulative talking points, we plead guilty. But if it means that Democrats don’t make it clear that they stand for what most Americans believe, it’s nonsense. Review this comparison of the two parties. Which one speaks for you?



A woman has the right to control her body

Women’s rights to birth control and abortion should be restricted by legislators, most of whom are men

We must act now to limit the effects of climate change

Deny climate change, refuse to make any efforts to combat it

We can and should provide health care for every American at a reasonable cost

Cut funding for health care, leaving only those who can afford to pay insured

Every child has the right to an excellent public education

Cut funding for public schools, favor private schools for those who can afford them

We can reduce gun violence without abridging the rights of law-abiding people

The Second Amendment requires that we let anyone have as many lethal weapons as he or she wants

We should treat immigrants with courtesy and respect

Treat immigrants as enemies and criminals, separate children from their parents

Every citizen should be able to vote

Impose restrictions to prevent poor and minority voters from voting

Working people have the right to organize to improve their working conditions

Destroy or diminish unions’ ability to help workers

America works best when it works for everyone, not just the rich and powerful

Giant tax breaks for the rich, higher taxes and fewer benefits for working people

We should work with our allies and negotiate with our adversaries to ensure peace

Give in to Russia and North Korea while disrespecting our allies

Welcome progress

Fan the flames of fear

President Obama made us proud to be Americans

Donald Trump is an embarrassment to most Americans, including many Republicans

Independence Day

Independence Day is an opportunity to show our pride in being Americans. That pride has been shaken by the actions of the Trump Administration, but that makes it all the more important that we show people that Trump does not speak for us. We, and our country, are better than that. Join us in showing that we believe in the values America stands for, not the warped version of those values represented by Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner, and Peter Roskam.

If anyone tells you that both parties are at fault, tell them what John McCain's campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, said this week:

  • "Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values. This Independent voter will be aligned with the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies. That party is the Democratic Party."

I'm proud of our party. I'm proud of our candidates, like J.B. Pritzker, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Sean Casten, Ann Gillespie, and Maggie Trevor. And I'm proud of the values our country stands for. Come show that you are, too.

Why I support J.B. Pritzker for Governor

As many of you know, I am a "BIG" supporter of J.B. Pritzker for Governor. I will update this post periodically with more of my opinions and answers to questions from fellow Democrats. Posts are in reverse chronological order. If you haven't visited this post before, start at the bottom and read up.


(Originally posted 3/28/18)

My reasons for supporting JB Pritzker are all positive things about him, not negatives about other candidates. (See my earlier posts, printed below.) But I still keep hearing from self-styled "progressive Democrats" who feel that Daniel Biss should have won the primary instead of JB. Here's why I think they're wrong:

1.  Daniel Biss is a wonderful legislator and an honest, committed public servant. But he's not a strong campaigner. I supported Daniel when he ran for State Comptroller, but Susana Mendoza was so much stronger a campaigner that Daniel dropped out of the race. There's no reason to think he could do better against Bruce Rauner.

2.   Some people have said that Daniel is better qualified than JB because he's served in the General Assembly. But the list of legislators who have become Governor, much less succeeded in the job, is short. The only legislator to serve as Governor in the last 50 years is George Ryan.

3.  Election results don't lie. JB got 45% of the primary vote, compared to 26% for Biss. If Daniel can barely get a quarter of the primary vote, what makes you think he would get a majority in the general election?

4.  I share your view that politics shouldn't be dominated by rich people. But until we get a Supreme Court that reverses Citizens United and other terrible decisions, we need to live in the real world. Not being rich ("the middle-class Governor") is not a campaign platform.

5.  Not all rich people are the same. Some use their money greedily acquiring more money at the expense of more needy people, like the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, Ken Griffin, and Bruce Rauner. Others use their wealth to help needy people, like Bill Gates or George Soros. JB Pritzker is one of the latter.

6.  An old shampoo commercial said, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Don't hate JB because he's rich. Love him for what he's done with his wealth and what he's trying to do now. You can resent the role that wealth plays in politics, but don't throw away our best chance to beat Bruce Rauner. 

7.   As Ben Joravsky said in the Reader, "Pritzker's win was a sign that Democrats have hardened from that debacle [Trump's 2016 victory]. They're more pragmatic and practical."

The primary is over. It's JB Pritzker or Bruce Rauner. The choice is obvious for any Democrat and/or progressive. Put aside candidates who lost and support one who shares your values and can win. 


(Originally posted 3/8/18)

Yesterday, I sent an email with a sample ballot and my recommendations for the March 20th primary. If you didn't read it, click here.

I received a number of questions. Rather than answer them individually, I decided to create this blog post. You might be interested in hearing what other people asked and my answers.

Q. "Why not Daniel Biss?"

A.  I have known Daniel Biss for many years and admire him as a legislator. But I don't think he would be a strong candidate against Bruce Rauner. Daniel's speaking style is best described as "professorial". As a State Senator and previously a State Representative, his record leaves a lot of openings for criticism. I've been disappointed by his campaign. Not being rich is not a platform. JB Pritzker has run much more substantive ads, laying out a vision for Illinois. He's our best chance to beat Rauner.

Q. "Why aren't you supporting Chris Kennedy for governor? "

A.  Kennedy's campaign has been a real disappointment. He over-relies on his family name, taking credit for things he played no part in. Almost every email is from someone named "Kennedy." He ignores his own checkered record as President of the University of Illinois, when he led questionable financial decisions and led the decision to deny a faculty job to controversial professor Steven Salaita. He claims credit for running the Merchandise Mart, but he was put in charge of the family business. He's taken cheap shots at other Democrats while defending Governor Rauner. No wonder the Chicago Tribune, which hates Democrats, loves Kennedy.

Q. "Why do you support JB Pritzker?"

A.  I made that pretty clear in my email and in my endorsement of JB. Let me just add this. Not all rich people are selfish, arrogant jerks. JB is using his money to help those who are less fortunate. He's a generous, public-spirited rich person, part of a tradition ranging from the Rockefellers to Bill Gates. Some progressives are prejudiced again Pritzker because he's rich. I want to reduce the influence of money in politics as much as anyone, but throwing away our best chance to win won't do that.

(Originally posted 2/20/18)

I am today announcing my endorsement of J.B. Pritzker for Governor and Juliana Stratton for Lieutenant Governor.

The positions J.B. has taken on issues are the most progressive and the most practical of any candidate for Governor. His proposal for a “public option” for health care, for example, would give Illinois families more choices at little or no cost to the state. His support for a progressive income tax prioritizes our middle class and those striving to get there, while those who can afford to pay more do so.

J.B. has run a smart, effective, and principled campaign. His TV ads have focused on substance. He faces the camera and tells voters what he stands for. That’s a refreshing change. His campaign staff is excellent. A candidate who runs a great campaign gives voters confidence that he’ll run a great government.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know J.B. as a person. After public appearances, he stays to talk with voters one-on-one. He is warm, genuine, and sincerely cares about the needs of Illinois’ working families.

Governor Rauner knows that J.B. would be our strongest candidate. That's why Rauner has been running ads trying to defeat J.B. in the Democratic primary. Don't be misled by Rauner's misleading TV commercials. Too many Democrats made that mistake four years ago.

For all these reasons, I’m proud to support our next Governor, J.B.Pritzker.

Matt Flamm

Palatine Township Democratic Committeeman

[email protected]


Please note: the Greater Palatine Area Democrats (GPAD) have not endorsed any candidate in the primary. This endorsement is made by me personally and as the elected Palatine Township Democratic Committeeman.

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