Thursday, October 11, 2018

Illinois Races Even more Critical in 2018

Now that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is Justice Brett Kavanaugh, we can focus on real issues again.  Election Day is just over three weeks away, early voting has begun already, and the Democrats have a real chance to re-take the house.  That would mean House opposition to anything that comes out of the White House, greater Democrat intransigence, and a "new normal" with a farther left-leaning House of Representatives.  Our hot economy we have, full employment, and our foreign policy victories are at risk; and the Dems' putative House Judiciary Chair should they take the House, has promised yet another investigation of Brett Kavanaugh as well as his impeachment if they gain the House.  Just the focus we do not need at this critical time in our history.  It also would mean a decidedly more hostile environment for Israel on Capitol Hill.

In Illinois, we face special challenges that we must overcome.

When the first Congress of this century was sworn in, Illinois had one Senator from each major party.  Its Congressional delegation of 20 also was divided evenly among Republicans and Democrats.  Twenty-first century has proven to be a much different state, and all signs are that it is moving further along in a clearly partisan direction.  Although Republicans held the Governorship in 2001, 2002, and between 2014 and 2018, they have been the minority in the State Senate since 2002 and in the General Assembly since 1996.  The last Presidential election in which Illinois went Republican was in 1988 when then Vice President George H. W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis.  Democrats carried the state in all subsequent Presidential races by 14 (B. Clinton), 18 (B. Clinton), 8 (Gore), 10 (Kerry), 25 (Obama), 17 (Obama), and 17 (H. Clinton) percentage points respectively.  Similarly, the split Congressional delegation seems like the memory from a bygone age.  Republican Members of Congress in Illinois are in danger of becoming as rare as those in New England, where there is only one Republican Senator out of 12 and one Republican Member of the House out of 21.  Of those 22 lawmakers from Illinois in 2001, only five remain, all of them Democrats; and the independent Ballotpedia ranks Illlinois as the 41 most competitive state out of 50.  And, then, there’s the Czar from the Back of the Yards:  Mike Madigan, a name everyone in Illinois knows.

One threat from what is largely one-party rule in Illinois, not usually addressed, is a repeat of what happened after the last census.  According to the Article I of the Constitution, each state is to re-apportion its Congressional seats after each decennial census.  After the 2010 census, Democrats controlled of all branches of government in Illinois, which meant that their party had a free hand to re-district the state's Congressional districts in their own image.  Even Illinois Democrat leaders have admitted that the 2010 redistricting was designed to defeat former Congressman Bob Dold (R-IL-10) and solidify the Eighth District as a base for Tammy Duckworth, who went on to defeat Republican Mark Kirk to become a US Senator, and whoever her Democrat successor might be.  They have plans for 2020, too.

As we approach the 2018 midterm elections, there are 18 House seats from Illinois up for election.  This includes seven currently held by Republicans.  Right now, two downstate Congressmen, John Shimkus (IL-15) and Darin LaHood (IL-18), appear safe, as does Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), whose district is mostly downstate but also includes some communities on the outermost edge of the farthest Chicago suburbs.  One downstate Congressman, Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) from the far Chicago suburbs currently are leading but are not safe.  And two Republicans--one downstate, Mike Boost (IL-12), and the last Chicago-area Republican, Peter Roskam (IL-6), could be in trouble without a strong Conservative turnout.   Both races are listed as toss-ups, however, a recent poll by Democrats shows Roskam's opponent up by five points.  Peter Roskam supports smart health care insurance, a strong United States, and he a leader among Israel's most steadfast supporters in Congress.  His opponent gets funds from J Street and likened President Trump to Osama bin Laden.  All seats in Illinois currently in Democrat hands are safe to remain as such.

If Roskam survives this election and the next, Democrats plan to make a Republican victory in the Sixth impossible, as they did in the Bob Dold's Tenth and Joe Walsh's Eighth.  Unless Republican Governor Bruce Rauner gets a strong boost from a post-Kavanaugh Conservative surge and from revelations of his opponent's tax fraud convictions; he more likely than not will lose.  Democrats currently have nine-seat advantages in both the Illinois Senate and General Assembly.  If none of that changes, Springfield Democrats will again have no opposition to do as they please after the 2020 census.  This is not mere speculation.  After the 2010 census, they created some of the most convoluted Congressional districts in the country to stack the deck against Bob Dold and others.  They promise a repeat if given the chance, targeting Roskam and any other Republicans left standing.  They will use the anticipated loss of a seat to force two sitting Republicans to face each other, and with the same tactics as they used before, assure an almost automatic 12-5 or 13-4 plurality over Republicans in Congress versus the current 11-7; and that will have national implications for which party controls the House.

There’s an even more immediate danger.  If elected governor, Democrat JB Pritzker promises to impose a graduated income tax in Illinois—a disaster both morally and fiscally.  In order to do so, however, he would need a super-majority in both the Illinois Senate, which he has it now. He will lose it if only two seats change from Democrat to Republican.  One NW Side seat in Chicago is pretty sure to go from Democrat to Republican.  The key to stopping Pritzker's graduated income tax, should he have the chance to impose it, could come down to the State Senate seat in the 29th State Senate District.  The incumbent is Democrat Julie Morrison, and her Republican challenger, Barrett Davie, has a real shot at taking the district and stopping to Pritzker's attempt to force us to fund corruption and inefficiency.  I've been doing work for Barrett Davie, and find that very few voters know about or care about State Senate races, let alone cast a specific vote in the race.  That means a dedicated team of committed citizens can impact these races far more than the high profile ones.

These races are critical for the future of Illinois and the entire country.  Barrett Davie and every other Republican in these state Assembly and Senate races need all of us to vote for them and support their candidacies.  Of course, if we avidly support Republican running for the Illinoisn General Assembly, the other advantage is an end to Madigan’s autocratic and disastrous rule.  Doing both will be difficult in deep blue Illinois, but getting at least one is not impossible if we mobilize people to take these races VERY seriously and vote for people like Barrett Davie and Peter Roskam.

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