Sunday, October 12, 2014

With Candidates Like These

Illinois will vote for its next Governor this November in what pundits are describing as this season's most hotly contested gubernatorial election in the country. For someone who does not have a vote, the election provides an interesting view into the Chicago-rest divide in Illinois. Democratic incumbent Patt Quinn is seeking a second term and is flush with funds and support from his party, with even First Lady Michelle Obama lending her support to him (she's from Illinois, after all). He is challenged by billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner, who promises fiscal reform in the fiscally worst-managed state.

I'm actually glad I can't vote in this election because both candidates seem so bad to me. Quinn has essentially sunk the state fiscally and his pension reforms have done more harm than good. Moreover, he is dogged by corruption allegations that he has not fully answered. On the other hand, Rauner presents a very disturbing personal story, having used a variety of tax loopholes to get out of paying into social security (as the opposition alleges). Yet, he does talk about fixing the state's broken economy and getting the government out of people's backs, something that Illinois has become infamous for. The only fear is that he is going to simply cut taxes for the rich and raise it for the middle class, which President Bush showed simply does not work.

One simply cannot vote for Quinn, given all the allegations and his less than inspiring performance in his first term. Yet, for 'small people' to vote for Rauner would be quite difficult. Ultimately, this could come down to political factors such as the minority vote which, if national trends are to be extrapolated, are with the Democrats.

13th Congressional District
There is also a far more interesting election coming, that for the now redistricted 13th Congressional District of Illinois. Republican incumbent Rodney Davis is seeking another term but he won in 2012 by a margin of just 0.3% of votes, a margin so slender that this race has the full attention of the national Democratic Party and could put the breaks on Boehner's hopes of a Republican majority in the House. What makes a Democratic victory even more imminent here is the fact that redistricting has added Champaign-Urbana to the district along with Springfield, bringing in a strong support base of minority voters that could just tip the largely level scale.

103rd State Congressional District
There is also an election to the state General Assembly in November, and the 103rd district comprising Champaign-Urbana will vote a new representative with the incumbent bowing out of the primaries.

Referendums
There is also a referendum to amend the state Constitution to provide for victims' rights. This seems to have strong support and should pass easily.

As my first view of American elections, this November will be very exciting! 

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