Friday, March 9, 2012

EXTRA: How ‘Democrat’ is Cook?

Cook County, Ill., accounts for roughly 45 percent of the state’s population, and is going to provide such an overwhelming number of votes for the Democratic Party’s preferences that it becomes next to impossible for the rest of the state to overcome.

Would it take an Elvgren cartoon to get out the vote?

That has just become a “fact” of the political scene here – and is the reason why in the 21st Century Illinois is no longer the ‘bellwether’ state in presidential elections that it was in the 20th Century (when 1912 and 1976 were the only election cycles where Illinois backed the loser – in the year of the Bicentennial, we preferred Gerald Ford).

THAT FACT JUST gets reinforced when one takes a look at the figures released this week by the Cook County clerk’s office with regards to the number of people who are using the early voting centers in the suburban areas.

We’re not talking about Chicago proper (which is under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners). But in those suburbs, the “statistic” being tossed out is that Republican voting is up 77 percent, while Democratic voting is down 30 percent.

BUT that still means more Democrats than Republicans, just because the county as a whole has become so aligned with Chicago interests, while the modern-day Republican Party has become the “voice” of “rural America.”

That 77 percent increase means there were nearly 6,300 people asking for GOP ballots at the early voting centers, whereas just over 10,000 people asked for a Democratic Party ballot to cast in these weeks prior to the March 20 primary.

EVEN IN YEARS when the only real election of interest to many people is that Republican presidential primary (be honest, no one is getting excited about picking a new county court clerk) more people here want to vote on the Democratic side.

Just envision how pathetic it was in the 2008 primary election cycle, when the Democrats got nearly 14,500 ballots filled out prior to Election Day, compared to only 3,550 ballots for the GOP.

It makes me wonder how sad things would be for the GOP if Mitt Romney had actually succeeded in wrapping up the nomination (for all practical purposes) by now. Although I fully expect Romney’s more thorough campaign structure to prevail in getting him the delegates he will need from Illinois to bolster his presidential dreams.

Illinois will still be a “blue” state in so many ways (remember that Chicago Tribune poll showing Barack Obama taking 53 percent approval across the state – despite 56 percent of people outside of Chicago disapproving of him?) come the Nov. 6 general elections.


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