Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Making sure ‘fans’ won’t defect

We’re a couple of weeks away from Labor Day, which is the symbolic beginning point of the hard-core campaign activity for candidates in the upcoming Nov. 4 election cycle.

That is when many people will start giving serious thought as to whom they will actually cast ballots for. Those many undecideds will wind up deciding whether they will actually bother to vote, and for whom.

WHICH IS WHY the two major candidates for Illinois governor are using the time right about now to make sure there aren’t any surprises amongst the people they’re counting on to be already locked up amongst their supporters.

It is why Gov. Pat Quinn was at the South Side’s Quinn Chapel AME Church in a meeting with many African-American public officials and activist types. Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has thrown some money around to certain black pastor types in hopes of depressing the share of the African-American electorate that will back Democrat Quinn.

Quinn wants to make sure he has the Democratic Party leaders in the African-American community on his side so they will go out and encourage the voter base to actually get off their duffs and cast ballots on Election Day.

In short, Quinn wants to ensure that what Rauner will be remembered for is all the money (much of it from his own personal wealth) he is spending in a losing political effort.

ALTHOUGH CONSIDERING HOW the Rauner personal donations are into the several millions of dollars already, his campaign likely will go in the books for the most money spent per vote. We’re going to learn come November if it is possible to buy a political office in Illinois.

Quinn is reaching out these days to shore up his support amongst people who should be regarded as on his side.

Then again, so is Rauner.

Ever since his Illinois State Fair appearance, Rauner has been on board his self-named “Shake Up Express.” That’s a bus he’s riding around all over central and Southern Illinois so he can cram in up to a dozen appearances per day in small burgs all across the rural parts of the state.

I’D BE WILLING to bet that the “T & T Pizzeria” in Sullivan, Ill., isn’t usually a stop for political campaigns. But Rauner included it, and many places like it, in his 38-county tour that is meant to get him face-to-face with the many rural residents who view this election cycle as a chance to dump a Chicago-oriented governor and replace him with someone they think will focus attention on them instead.

Just how much a venture capitalist from Winnetka (with a high-rise residence in Chicago proper) really identifies with rural Illinois is questionable. But if Rauner picks up a tip or two during his rural Illinois tour, then perhaps the event is worth it.

At the very least, he’s getting to see a string of restaurants in the off-beat communities of Illinois, which means he’s not going hungry these days.

While also ensuring that a batch of people who aren’t inclined to vote for Quinn under any circumstances will bother to turn out to vote for Rauner for governor – and perhaps a string of other GOP officials for other offices to appear on the ballot.

WHICH MEANS THAT come Sept.1 (a.k.a., Labor Day, or the end-of-summer for those who resent the idea of organized labor being the subject material for a holiday), the candidates can go back to trying to sway the sympathies of those people who truly are undecided.

My guess is that many will decide to just not vote. But it also is likely that those who do make up their minds at the last minute will be the ones who decide whether we get four more years of Pat Quinn – or a Republican governor with a hostile, Democrat-led Legislature.

Then again, with the way the current Legislature often responds to Quinn’s initiatives, there may not be much of a difference.


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