Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Illinois GOP Getting Boost from Rauner

Republican Governors are making the grade in the United States.

The conservative resurgence is taking back this country, and it's beginning in our local offices, in our county seats, and among the several states.

We have witnessed Republicans taking back statehouses in the bluest of states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

Larry Hogan of Maryland is doing an incredible job. He does not face the massive wall of a legislative liberal supermajority before him.

Illinois is another story. Democratic machine politicians have run that state for thirty years, with Speaker Michael Madigan at the top of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Unlike other Republican governors, Rauner is ready for a fight.

He has pushed the Democratic supermajority, which is at its bare minimum, into forced stand-offs on budget cuts, pension reforms, term limits, and redistricting.

Those last two terms are particularly anathema to Madigan and the Democratic political machine dominating the state. The last thing the rogue union puppets want is a populace which chooses their representatives, as opposed to the other way around.

THe last article from Reuters shows the extent of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner to long-standing reforms to save Illinois:

With backing of wealthy governor, Illinois GOP spending big
Illinois Republicans are vastly outspending Democrats in fall legislative races for the first time in recent history with the help of their wealthy governor

Sept. 12, 2016, at 1:42 a.m.
With backing of wealthy governor, Illinois GOP spending big
By IVAN MORENO, Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — For the first time in recent history, Illinois Republicans are vastly outspending Democrats in fall legislative races with the help of a wealthy governor determined to curtail a traditionally blue political landscape that has thwarted his agenda for two years.

Wow! This is good news indeed.

Republicans getting more money, and spending more money.

Is there a similar model for victory here in California? In 2010, $187 million flooded California airwaves, radiowaves, TV, newspapers, everything. Campaigning has to be more intentional, targeted.
Republicans did not win any seats, nor did we win the Governor's race or a U.S. Senate seat.

Very disappointing. Will Rauner's efforts creative a different result for Illinois?

The more than $13 million the GOP's main campaign committee has disbursed to House and Senate candidates so far — nearly all of it coming from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner — dwarfs what either party has been able to spend sometimes in entire election cycles. And the Illinois Republican Party Committee still has $3 million from Rauner in the bank.

$13 million is a huge amount for Illinois? Would that California lawmakers and candidates were so lucky ...

"This is a new ballgame and we're taking it very seriously," said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democrats' House leader.

Infusions of cash from the former venture capitalist demonstrates how much — and how easily — he's willing to invest in pursuit of his goal to give his party greater influence in the state Legislature.

"How easily" ... as if he should not have the right to spend his money as he sees fit?

In California, we have Charles Munger, and his investments have begun to pay off, but the grassroots efforts from bottom up will make all the difference.

The November results could determine the fate of Rauner's proposals to weaken unions, pass business-friendly laws, impose term limits, and change the way legislative districts are drawn for years to come. They also will decide who has control of crafting a full state budget, which Illinois hasn't had for over a year because Rauner wants Democrats to give him what he wants in exchange for raising taxes to help with a deficit that exceeds $5 billion.

I hope that Rauner will not cave for any reasons to raise taxes. Democrats have gotten more than their fill of taxes, too much, and still the state is falling into bankruptcy.

Rauner was elected in 2014 as a political newcomer promising to shake up the Democrats' regime, but they've had supermajorities to block all his major proposals.

So far.

His entry into politics and the spending power he brought with him has allowed Republicans to compete in more races — and a lot earlier than past years when Democrats' financial resources were superior.

Do more faster, better, stronger. It looks like Rauner wants to Make Illinois Great Again.

Democrats have controlled both chambers of the Legislature since 2003 and have the nation's longest-tenured state House speaker, Michael Madigan, who has held that post for all but two years since 1983. When Rauner was elected, he became the first Republican in 12 years in Illinois, a Democratic stronghold that hasn't backed a Republican for president since 1988.

These are strange times, and the staggering, devastating consequences for a state under full-blown Democratic control could not be sadder.

Before Rauner, the Illinois Republican Party Committee spent $3.4 million on races in 2012. The Democratic Party of Illinois, meanwhile, spent $6.7 million. Both parties distribute money to candidates through several other committees so those totals don't tell the entire story, but they're indicative of each party's past spending prowess, according to campaign disclosures The Associated Press analyzed dating back to 2006 from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

It's true. Rauner is the big spender, looking for Republicans who will join his reform agenda.

"There's never been a time in recent history where House Republicans have outspent House Democrats. It's been a considerable disadvantage," said Rep. Jim Durkin, the GOP's House leader.

Breaking the Democrats' supermajorities in either chamber won't be easy because the party enjoys advantages of 71-47 in the House and 39-20 in the Senate. But Durkin said Rauner's money "for the first time in many years gives us a fighting chance."

Finally! Best of luck.

Rauner has repeatedly declined to comment on the legislative races or his involvement in them.

He should say nothing. The press is a little too close to the Democratic Party anyway, and they oftentimes remain dependent on them for stories. If they start bucking the Democratic machine, they get no stories, and they have no livelihood.

On the Democrats' side, their party committees have been less active than the Republicans' this year. The Democratic Party of Illinois and the Democratic Majority — two of the party's biggest committees — have contributed a combined $1.6 million to candidates so far. But the Democrats' candidates have individually amassed robust campaign funds. Democratic Rep. John Bradley, for instance, has $647,160 at his disposal for his closely watched race against Dave Severin in southern Illinois.

That's what makes Rauner's money so significant in a state where Democrats tend to be more successful fundraisers. The majority of Severin's $300,000 in campaign cash has come from the House Republican Organization committee, which is receiving large deposits from the Illinois Republican Party to funnel to candidates.

Sometimes, a one-man fundraiser makes all the difference. Will Rauner's efforts round up to better majorities in the state legislature? Will Trump's gradual ascendance in the polls help the Illinois down-ticket?

Republican Rep. Michael McAuliffe, who Democrats are targeting in the Chicago suburbs, has also benefited from Rauner's funding. The House Republican Organization has contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign. Television ads supporting McAuliffe have been airing since August, earlier than when either party usually hits the air waves. McAuliffe's ads have even played outside his district.

Will this tactic help other state representatives?

In the past, Republicans would've been reluctant to spend money in August when voters are less engaged. They just couldn't afford it. In 2012, for example, the Republicans' two major party committees spent just over $2 million combined from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Individual candidates also need to work on better grassroots efforts. No one partisan should rely entirely on big money outside of the district. That strategy will not build the state apparatus to take on tougher challenges and win more seats for better reforms.

"Some of this spending has nothing to do with the election. It has to do with Rauner flexing his muscle," said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. That display of financial force can influence who Democrats choose as their gubernatorial candidate next time because they'll want someone who can self-fund or raise massive amounts of cash, Yepsen said.

Now that's a really strong point. Rauner was forced to run for office the moment that he won election in 2014. Democrats do not like losing their legislative trifectas!

If Rauner's influence can intimidate Democrats now and put them out of commission after this Election, Rauner will face better prospects of disciplining the Democratic legislature and diminish their hopes of regaining the Governor's mansion in 2018.

"Democrats, if they survive, they're going to know they've been in a fight," he said.

Final Reflection

There is one thing that really bothers me about Rauner, a huge error that he committed. He signed off on a law which would require professionals of conscience to engage in abortions.

Let's hope that such errors never happen again. That was a huge mistake, because Rauner needs every Republican and conservative vote he can get in 2018, and also in 2016!

Let's look over his governance agenda, though:

1. Weaken unions

Rauner issued an executive order instituting paycheck protection for all non-unionized public employees, Within minutes, if not days, Big Labor pushed back hard, filed lawsuits to stop this protection of the First Amendment.

Walker-like reforms are a necessity, however, to stop the too powerful choke-hold of the labor unions, particularly SEIU, over the state legislature. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk once quipped that the SEIU was more powerful than the entire state of Illinois! Such special interest bullying must cease!

I would also add that Rauner should focus on the public sector unions, which drain everyone's coffers, and which even the most liberal of Democrats, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, vocally opposed.

2.  Pass business-friendly laws

Wow! There's an idea! How about the corrupt Democratic legislature should stop punishing the job creators in their perverse quest for more power! It still makes so little sense o me. Why would any lawmaker keep punishing working class communities and their small business owners with such crushing regulations? Do they think that government revenue grows on trees? Where does all that tax money come from, Madigan? Do you want to start footing the bills for the disgraceful and deplorable governance in the state?

3. Impose term limits

I am not as big a fan of term limits. The best term limit is an election. Instead of arbitrarily forcing lawmakers out of office after two or three terms, states should make it easier for citizens with limited resources to get involved in the legislative process.

4. Change the way legislative districts are drawn

This reform is absolutely critical.

Some of the most horrendous gerrymanders are located in Illinois, specifically Congressional seats, like Luis Guiterrez'. The district stretches around Chicago like a thin wire. Does he represent any one city?

Rauner is focusing on clear reforms which have the support of the vast majority of the Illinois voting public. He needs to win Democratic voters. There is no avoiding that right now. When Republicans start winning more seats, and start shifting the culture in the right direction, they can start registering new voters!

His legislative victories could enliven victories in other deep blue states, too!

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