This is the last part of my story — after running for York Township Supervisor with a slate of well-qualified first-time candidates, after getting a respectable 44% of the vote (compared to the candidate who got only 6% four years earlier) and almost doubling voter turnout in the township — I was punished and disowned by the local Democratic Party. Why?
During the campaign, on a live Zoom show while talking to voters, I was hit with this nastygram via private message from the person at York Township Democratic Organization whose job it was to help and advise us:
I just want to remind you that you wouldn’t be the democratic slate without the vote of the York Township Democratic Central committee, I know you are more interested in promoting your new political committee but you are REALLY ticking off a lot of people by doing this, I have been working hard to get our long standing members behind you all and this messaging DOES NOT HELP.
What a hateful message to receive, especially in the middle of a presentation! She pretty much stopped helping us in any way after that.
After the election we heard exactly nothing from either YTDO or DPDC (the Democratic Party of DuPage County)– no thanks, no analysis, no requests to share best practices or come on board to help the local party. I thought that was the end of it — I planned to continue volunteering for the Democrats but had no thoughts of ever running again.
Come to find out months later that this same person, an elected official and a leader in the local party, had spent her time since the election using her platform and position to tell lies about me to other leaders and party members! Stuff like this (a screenshot shared with me by friends):
It is even more fustraiting [sic] as I know some of the people chiming in have not donated money or time directly to DPDC or YTDO. I’ve been right where you are at in the frustration of getting jabs thrown at all the work we do as volunteers, and it really is heart breaking when those same people start their own organization instead of engaging with those that already existed with no real care of making things better.”
Can we unpack these lies little? I did donate time and money to both DPDC and YTDO, and ran for office when they had no one else to run (arguably the hardest volunteer job of all). I did an immense amount of work only because I wanted to make things better — not to become a career politician. And, we started a new organization to fill a gap, supporting candidates the party takes no interest in. It’s infuriating!
I submitted an official complaint that read in part:
It gives me no pleasure to report harassment and bullying per the DPDC Code of Conduct but I must, if only to prevent this happening to other volunteers. I understand that per the Code “Any Executive Committee Member (voting or non-voting) who violates this Code is subject to removal from the Executive Committee.” [I went on to detail all that I’ve already described]
What was the result?
Nothing — my complaint was swept under the rug and ignored. It was only some months later that I realized I had been stripped without notice of my responsibilities as Appointed PC and Election Judge, and blocked from all things YTDO.
Make it make sense! What was my crime? Why have I been #BannedForLife?
Here’s what I think. I think that one person — someone I think is clearly not fit for leadership given her lack of self-control, judgment, and just plain decency — took a dislike to me for reasons unknown. And then used her power as a leader and elected official to drive me out of the local party altogether. All that is bad enough, but the complicity of the many Democrats who are also aware of this bad behavior and have chosen her false version of events over my own — well, it is disappointing to say the least.
As has previously been covered in local press, there are members of my own political party who have a long-standing history of harassment and bullying within the workplace. I have experienced this personally over the last three years including: deliberate and coordinated reputational damage caused by lies spread by members of my own party, having to intervene to stop a member of my own party from physically and verbally attacking another member, and immeasurable hours spent limiting the repercussions of such unprofessional conduct to prevent damage to our county’s institution and initiatives. Furthermore, this influence has permeated the local party’s leadership as well. I know this because I have personally (along with other hard-working members) have brought evidence of these concerns and the resulting damage to leaders for years with no action.
And still, nothing has changed! The bullies and harassers remain in leadership, and continue their bad behavior. Most people do not dare speak up because they will then become the target of this grossness with real-life repercussions. I’m telling this story because I have nothing to lose — my political career, such as it was, is over, my reputation has been harmed, and I have already lost friends over this mess.
It stinks. Why is this Trumpian behavior tolerated? And how does it get more Democrats elected?
I have no idea.