My mother, who still lives in Rockford, Illinois, sent me a link today that was pretty surprising. It says that the Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, has an actual shot at winning, and it appears that he isn’t insane. I am going to do a mini-fisking of the article and ask some questions along the way that I hope that some of our Chicago/Illinois based readers can answer.
Why are the stakes so huge? Because Illinois is arguably the worst-run state in America.
I don’t think there is really any question that Illinois is THE worst-run state in America, hands down.
Illinois could become a laboratory experiment about whether conservative ideas can work in a state that has been ruled by teachers’ unions and a self-serving political machine in Springfield and Chicago.
How could this experiment possibly happen with a solid majority in the Illinois House and Senate? I guess Rauner could slag them unmercifully in the press when they don’t change anything, but I am not sure how that will work.
I caught up with Mr. Rauner in Chicago last week. He’s ruffling liberal feathers by going into black inner-city schools and Hispanic neighborhoods and talking about school choice, economic opportunity, family stability, and jobs. “I’m getting standing ovations when I go to black churches and talk about school choice,” he says. “Parents understand it is their kids that are victimized by lousy public schools in Chicago.”
This seems like very good politics to me. The Chicago Public School System is a disgrace.
He’s running as a non-politician who has the business experience to turn around the state’s finances. He won his five-person primary by telling voters, “I’m the only one up here who isn’t a professional politician. These are the people who created the problems in Springfield.” In this era of rage against the political class, the message (and the millions of dollars he poured into his campaign) carried the day.
Sounds like he has money and is sincere. This may be an appealing choice to the people of Illinois.
He’s promised to take a jackhammer to the bloated state budget. The Left is already rolling off the shelf the anti–Mitt Romney campaign — i.e., rich people like Rauner don’t care about people like you.
“The Left” won’t vote for him anyways. But again, I don’t see how effective the “jackhammer” will be without help from the House and Senate.
Some skeptics say that even if Mr. Rauner wins, he won’t be able to overturn the corrupt machine in Springfield. Don’t be sure about that. If Rauner makes it to the governor’s mansion, he will have a gigantic mandate from voters to turn Springfield upside down and get the finances in order. The big losers will be the teachers’ unions, whose clout will be greatly diminished — it couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.
I hope he wins, and I hope this last paragraph is right. Maybe, perhaps, finally, the people of Illinois have had enough of the nonsense. At least this might be a start.