Lakeside Bank 2022.July
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

No simple explanation for Dem failure

By Rich Miller

November 13, 2020

Illinois Democrats were hoping for some big election night wins last week, but now everything has devolved into finger-pointing chaos.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal was in some doubt for a while. The governor’s campaign chose not to advertise early because of the delicacies of politics during a pandemic, so they passed up a chance at total dominance of the playing field during crucial months.

When billionaire Ken Griffin finally decided to weigh in against it, the proponents had lost the crucial advantage of time to drive their message home unfettered. The “anti” message was strong and relatable: Don’t trust Illinois politicians to do the right thing. The proponents’ much less focused message simply had no chance.

The ballot measure was losing as of Nov. 6 by almost 10 percentage points and about 500,000 votes.

A narrow loss would have been one thing. But after voters overwhelmingly rejected taxing a relatively few upper-income people, it’s going to be hugely difficult to convince Democratic state legislators to make up for those billions in lost revenues by increasing the state’s flat tax on everyone.

Without the money generated by a graduated income tax, Gov. Pritzker’s fallback was the hope that Joe Biden would win the White House and the Democrats would take control of the U.S. Senate and give big bucks to the states. As I write this, Democratic control of the Senate appears in doubt.

So, if Pritzker can’t raise taxes and he can’t get a federal bailout, that leaves a $5 billion Federal Reserve loan, and the only way to make room for those payments will be to slash an already bare-bones budget to the marrow or consider shafting the public employee unions and “reform” pensions.

Pritzker is most definitely not in a good place. He put literally everything on this tax vote and he came up way short.

A big loss like that can easily devastate legislative confidence in a governor. As I’ve said for years, this business is a protection racket. You earn support by proving you can protect your fellow politicians’ interests. Despite Pritzker’s billions, his big win two years ago over an incumbent governor and broad public support for his handling of the pandemic, he did not hold up his end on this one.

That brings us to soon-to-be-former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, who conceded defeat in his retention bid. The opposition’s message, also mainly funded by Ken Griffin, was brisk and simple: A vote against Kilbride is a vote against Madigan.

We’re to the point where I don’t even have to explain that “Madigan” means House Speaker Michael Madigan. Everybody knows who he is and most despise him, so the attack worked like a charm in that Downstate, blue-collar district.

Like Pritzker, Kilbride did not have an effective counter-argument. Kilbride fell way short of the votes he needed to be retained.

One of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s favored Democratic congressional candidates, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, was handily defeated last week after narrowly losing to U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis two years before. The ads run by Davis and his allies constantly featured “Madigan.”

While the Griffin-funded effort to defeat the Fair Tax didn’t mention Madigan in their TV spots, they did use Madigan in direct mail; and people generally hate Madigan so much that it’s probably not a huge leap to say he’s why the “Don’t trust ’em” approach worked so well.

In disgust, the governor and U.S. Senators Durbin and Tammy Duckworth all threw Madigan under the bus after the election ended, calling on him to quit the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party. Duckworth even suggested he should no longer be House Speaker.

But if you zoom out for a moment, you’ll see that congressional Democrats failed to meet expectations all over the country last week and a massive national push to elect more Democratic state legislators crashed and burned.

On election night, Madigan appeared to have lost two House seats to the Republicans when expectations were that he’d pick up several, but that might change for the better when all the votes are finally counted.

The bottom line is the “Madigan” message appears to have worked and it’s probably only going to get worse for the Democrats if he remains in power.

But that doesn’t let the governor, Durbin and Kilbride off the hook. A much better than expected performance by President Donald Trump in Illinois combined with a national trend that defied expectations were also involved.

In other words, simple explanations are usually neither.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Rich Miller’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Greater Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

Local News

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

Red Stars players thank their fans at the end of Sunday's 2-0 win over Angel City to qualify for the NWSL playoffs. The team will be on the road in the postseason. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: What the hex? Red Stars claim final NWSL playoff spot

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer In a joking attempt to jinx the Chicago Red Stars into losing to or drawing with Angel City in a game with playoff implications, the North Carolina Courage’s twitter account made two references to supposed Chicago Cubs’ hexes. “Rumor has it a guy named Steve Bartman rode into SeatGeek Stadium…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

CRRNH_Carnevil02_100522

Halloween’s dark side

Carnevil on 64th promises grisly, gory, ghoulish frights By Cosmo Hadac Those passing the home at 5716 W. 64th St. this month may see the grave of Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger dancing to the Monster Mash. What started out as a way to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic’s social distancing mandates has expanded…

Joan Hadac

Don’t take senior center for granted

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] I’m back. Thank you, Patti Tyznik, for filling in and giving me a week off. I hope this becomes a regular thing! Nominations are now open for officers to serve on the board of directors of the Southwest Side Senior Service Organization,…

John T. Shaw

No civics, weak democracy

By John T. Shaw Editor’s Note: This op-ed was distributed by Capitol News Illinois on behalf of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. I’m preparing to teach a class at Southern Illinois University next spring on restoring American statesmanship and am struck by the critical…

Ray Hanania

Crime will flourish under Pritzker

By Ray Hanania Illinois has never had a more dishonest governor than JB Pritzker. Why is he so dishonest? Because he can afford to be. He inherited billions from his daddy; and when money is no object, neither is truth. Pritzker is using Illinois tax dollars to bolster his re-election bid, claiming that taxpayers will…

Rich Miller

Dem Supreme Court hopefuls have huge money edge

By Rich Miller The labor union and trial lawyer-backed All for Justice independent expenditure committee has so far reported raising $3.5 million, with, I’m told, at least another $5 million in pledges. The committee’s sole purpose is to back the two Democratic candidates running for the Illinois Supreme Court: Appellate Justice Mary K. O’Brien and…

Neighbors

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

Illinois takes Equal Rights Amendment to appeals court

Illinois takes Equal Rights Amendment to appeals court

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Attorneys for the state of Illinois joined their colleagues in Nevada and Virginia Wednesday in asking a federal appellate court to declare that the Equal Rights Amendment has been legally ratified as the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “I have a daughter who intends to…

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces further unemployment debt repayment

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday, Sept. 27, to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed individuals. The employer’s insurance premiums…

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

State to reduce $1.8 billion federal unemployment debt by $450 million

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a plan Tuesday to reduce a $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit by $450 million through an infusion of unemployment-related revenues. The trust fund is the pool of money paid into by employers to provide a social safety net for unemployed…

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

Capitol News Illinois to expand operations with $2 million McCormick Foundation grant

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois will significantly expand its operations as it enters the fifth year of operations in 2023 because of a significant grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The McCormick Foundation has announced a three-year, $2 million investment in Capitol News Illinois, a nonprofit news organization that provides…

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty in bribery case

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday to three felony counts stemming from an alleged bribery scheme involving a red light camera company. Jones, 44, is a Chicago Democrat who has served in the Senate since 2009. He is also the…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

Pritzker urges two lawmakers to resign

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on two Democratic state senators Thursday to resign their seats amid allegations of misconduct. Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was charged in federal court earlier this week with soliciting a $5,000 bribe from a red light camera company. And Sen. Michael Hastings,…

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office. Former Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and former Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, argued…

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

CAPITOL RECAP: Another Democratic senator charged in bribery scheme

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Emil Jones III has been charged in federal court with three criminal counts tied to his dealings with a red light camera company. Jones, a Chicago Democrat, is the son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. The younger Jones has served in the Senate since 2009…

CRR NH Airport Heating Cooling
CRR NH Father Sons Home Improvement House Ad