Monday, October 13, 2014

22 days and counting down

With just over three weeks prior to Election Day, I’m wondering how much the early voting centers are going to give us a clue as to how the campaign for governor will turn out.

As has been written here before, I’m convinced that a strong Chicago and inner-suburban voter turnout means we get “Four more years” of Gov. Pat Quinn.

IF THE URBAN portion of Illinois turns out to be apathetic, then we’ll get venture capitalist Bruce Rauner achieving a new hobby – being governor. I say it would be a hobby for him because he’s gone about saying he won’t take a salary or any retirement benefits for his government service.

I suspect that this is merely something he’d like to do in his fantasies, in the same way there are those of us who dreamed of being an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs.

I found the Chicago Sun-Times report on Sunday to be particularly interesting – the one about the We Ask America poll that contends Chicago-area people are more accepting of people with political backgrounds running for office, while those who live in the rest of Illinois actually like the idea of someone with a business background being in charge of state government.

I’m not sure people are really giving one’s business orientation all that much thought. It’s probably more the fact that Quinn is the Chicago-area candidate, while Rauner is the person whom people vote for if they hate the idea of someone with a Chicago orientation being in charge of state government.

WHICH IS PARTICULARLY ironic, because Rauner himself is of the Chicago suburbs but actually chooses to keep a residence in the city proper, and even famously tried to send his kid to school in Chicago.

A concept that I’m sure many non-Chicago-oriented Illinoisans find completely inconceivable.

Let’s not forget that a majority of those who voted in the Republican primary back in March picked someone other than Rauner. What this election truly is about is a “yes” or “no” for Pat Quinn. I don’t think many people truly care about Bruce.

So all these polls of recent weeks that show the campaign getting closer and closer probably are merely telling us that Chicago voters (along with those of the inner suburbs) are taking this election cycle more seriously than Rauner wanted them to.

IT IS THE reason why Quinn himself made countless campaign appearances on Saturday throughout south suburban Cook and Will counties, being seen with many area state legislators and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who want to create the image of being capable of bringing projects and grants back to their home communities.

Those are the suburbs that have become Democratic Party strongholds and could add to the potential of 80 percent of Chicago proper voters turning out for Quinn over Rauner. They would certainly ensure that the Republican patches of western and north suburban Cook County would be overcome come Nov. 4.

It’s all going to be about turnout. There probably won’t be any major gaffes that occur in the debates – at least if they’re anything like the first debate held last week in Peoria.

Just like I don’t expect the endorsement portion of the campaign cycle from newspapers is going to change anybody’s minds.

THE REALITY IS that newspapers are business interests. The idea of a “liberal media” is a myth – it’s more trivial than anything else at times.

Rauner is going to virtually sweep the cycle of every news media endorsement – particularly since the only newspaper that historically might have been inclined to back Quinn has made a big production out of saying it won’t back anybody. That goes for the many suburban news properties owned by the Chicago Sun-Times.

So Rauner being backed by the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, and the joint endorsement published by the Joliet Herald News, the Kane County Chronicle and the Northwest Herald of Woodstock?

It’s nothing more than the source material for a future campaign ad by the Rauner people that brags about its significance, while the masses are more likely to follow the lead of their respective community in deciding whom they want to back.


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