Monday, December 19, 2016
One of these things is not like the others
For those of us in Illinois, the election of Donald Trump is very confusing. Two minutes after the polls closed, our state was called for Hillary Clinton. It wasn't even close. It never was.
Yet all our neighbors went red this time. What's up with that?
I had assumed it was because the Dems always have a good and dependable ground game. We all know when/where we can vote. We all know how to get a ride to the polls if we can't get there on our own. Also, Chicagoans of color are accustomed to making themselves heard at the ballot box -- especially this year, when police shootings have made Laquan McDonald and Paul O'Neal household names.
But my friend Kathleen has an interesting theory: We voted Clinton because we know Bruce Rauner. A billionaire businessman,* Rauner ran in 2014 with the slogan: Bring Back Illinois. He claimed that with all the corruption and "business as usual" in Springfield, we needed to shake things up with an outsider. Does any of this sound familiar, America?
Gov. Rauner is completing his second year in office, and so far, it's been a disaster. He simply cannot work with the State Legislature. Currently Illinois has no budget, in large part because Rauner has tied just about every line item to term limits. So because of his political fetish, our lottery winners aren't being paid, pensions aren't being funded and now homeless shelters will be closing.
Rauner's approval rating hovers at 30%-35%.
Bruce Rauner refused to speak Donald Trump's name during the run-up to the election, and I don't mean to link him to Trump's more incendiary and insensitive rhetoric. That wouldn't be fair.
But Kathleen could be right: Perhaps our up-close and personal view of a successful businessman with no legislative experience could have made us less likely to take a chance on Trump.
*Although Rauner actually is a billionaire. He was very open about his personal finances. I suspect Trump is worth considerably less than he wants us to believe.