In local Illinois elections Dems picked up seats in places they’ve never won before. Kankakee elected its first African-American, Democratic mayor. Elgin Township voted for “a complete changeover,” flipping to an all-Dem board. Normal Township elected Democratic supervisors and trustees to run its board ― the 1st time in more than 100 years that a single Dem has held a seat. Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Ass'n: “We won in areas we normally would win, but we also won in areas Republicans never expected us to be competitive in. They were caught flat-footed.” These may seem like relatively small victories... but they fit with a broader pattern that should have Republicans on edge ahead of the 2018 elections: Progressive grassroots activism, exploding with energy since Trump’s win in Nov., is fueling Democratic gains in GOP strongholds.