Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Will new year be happy politically?

A part of me is dreading the upcoming election cycle for governor and other Illinois government posts, and wishes I could just keep telling myself that a year from now, it will be over.

RAUNER: Could he beat Rahm?
Except that come the beginning of 2015, we’ll be entering the heart of the election cycle that many Chicagoans think is the only one that really matters – come Feb. 24, 2015 (and a runoff on April 7, if needed) for mayor and alderman.

WE’RE IN FOR a lengthy spell of politicizing as millionaire Bruce Rauner attempts to gain himself a political post so he can work with his friend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in imposing their own vision of what government should be.

That is a vision that I’m sure will repel many people – although whether that will be enough for them to succeed is questionable.

I’ll have to confess – in recent weeks I have begun to think more of Rauner’s chances of winning the March 18 Republican primary. His strategy has always been to use his ample finances to buy name recognition so that he can dwarf the three GOP challengers he now faces.

Considering that none of those people has done anything to distinguish themselves in this cycle, I can easily envision Dan Rutherford, William Brady and Kirk Dillard fighting to the death in the next three months for the right to split up 70 percent of the primary vote.

THAT LEAVES 30 percent for Rauner – which in a primary with as many candidates as this one has could well be enough to “win” on Election Day.

I still believe that a Rauner victory ultimately will turn off the share of Illinois voters outside of the Chicago area – who want to beat Pat Quinn for being “too Chicago” but can’t make up their minds on who they want to challenge him in the Nov. 4 general election.

EMANUEL: Will he hurt, or help, Rauner?
Why do I envision Quinn enjoying this particular holiday season, knowing that thus far circumstances are all falling into place in ways to ensure his ultimate victory? Not bad for a guy who supposedly only has a 26 percent approval rating – which is higher than that of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan!

A Rauner victory also picks up all the people who these days are scheming about ways in which to dump Emanuel from City Hall come the 2015 election cycle. Could the governor’s race become their practice run for a “Dump Rahm” campaign next year?

QUINN: The only happy man these days?
I’M SURE THERE are some activist and organized labor types who would like to think this way?

Although I think I’d take them a bit more seriously if they could come up with some sort of serious candidate who’d be willing to take on Emanuel – who I suspect will be just as vindictive as the Daleys ever were to the idea of someone with the gall to think they could be a better public official.

I suspect that next year’s mayoral cycle will put a token challenger against Emanuel – one whose lack of campaign funding will prevent him (or her) from running a legitimate campaign against Rahm.

The dwarfs now running against Rauner (or should we think of them as the Three Stooges?) will look completely legitimate compared to the mayoral hopeful.

IT’S ALMOST A shame that Rauner couldn’t somehow decide to run for mayor (he does have addresses within the city – even though living in a downtown high-rise might be too off-putting to the bungalow set).

Emanuel vs. Rauner – a brawl to the political death, to see which one can use significant financial advantage to wipe out the other.

Or, maybe we’d get lucky enough and they’d annihilate each other. Why do I suspect that a significant share of the Chicago electorate wouldn’t be the least bit upset?


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