Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now, we look forward to 2014 election cycle (or is it ’16? Or maybe ’13 or '15?)

The campaigning is over. The votes are cast. We can all now exhale and relax. No more election talk.
These machines will be back soon enough

Ah, who’s kidding whom?

IT’S TIME FOR the election cycle to begin yet again. It’s like we don’t get a break from this talk. It just means that amount of negative advertising we’ll see on television and hostile fliers we'll see in our mailboxes will decline for a few months – before stirring up again.

Personally, it has caused me to watch less television in recent weeks. Which may be a good thing for my mental process. Less overall pollution clogging my brain.

But the fact remains that the political operatives will now shift into gear for the future election cycles – trying to do now whatever they can to give themselves a head-start for when the heavy-duty campaigning kicks itself into gear. Watching CBS News, they speculated about the next presidential candidates at about 11 p.m. -- only bout 45 minutes after it became apparent that Barack Obama won the Electoral College vote and a second term as president.

I know in my duties for one of the daily newspapers in the Chicago suburbs, I already have written some stories about candidates for municipal office who are already starting to campaign for the 2013 election cycle.

THE VARIOUS SUBURBAN mayors, trustees, school board and park district members and other local bigwigs whose names mean nothing outside of their home communities already are in the process of putting together their nominating petitions to get themselves on the ballot for either the Feb. 26 primary elections (for those few towns that have partisan elections) or the April 9 general elections.

In Chicago proper, the City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel put us through this process in 2011. So we’re spared until 2015 – although I’m sure aldermen already are gearing themselves up for re-election processes.

Particularly since that election cycle will be the first in which they run in the ward boundaries that were drawn (and approved) earlier this year. They have new constituents to meet to ensure that there are few surprises for them come ’15.

Don’t care about those local elections? Well, let’s not forget that Illinois state government has its offices up for grabs again in 2014! The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. this year was just as much about this as it was about anything related to Mitt Romney.

AARON SCHOCK, THE Peoria native who got himself elected to the Legislature in his 20s and to Congress now, has hopes of becoming the youngest governor ever elected in Illinois. He reportedly already is talking up people behind the scenes trying to build support for a campaign.

Which makes me wonder if he’s more interested in doing everything while young, rather than actually achieving something of substance (but that’s an issue for a future day’s commentary).

Yet he’s not going to be alone. It seems pretty obvious that state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, who once was Gov. Jim Edgar’s chief of staff, wants to run again. He thinks he came so close in 2010 that he has to give it another shot.

There also will be others who will come forward, including Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who likely figures that after serving for years in the Legislature and holding a state constitutional office, he’s ready for the top post.

THE BRAWL FOR the right to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn (assuming Quinn has any desire to keep serving) is already underway. Along with the speculation from Democratic Party officials who want to have themselves primed on the chance that Quinn decides that a full term of his own as governor is the perfect way to retire from political life.

My head aches already from the speculation.

Then, comes the fact that some people are going to want to think ahead to the many elections held in all the states in 2016 for U.S. president. Some already want to think ahead to the end of the term of the winner of Tuesday’s elections.

Personally, I’m wondering from among the names such as Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Ron Paul or any of the others who had a few moments of “fame” in 2012 means they have a serious chance of getting the nomination four years from now.

EVEN THOUGH THAT political party would be best off looking for someone “new,” just as the Democrats will have to find a new name to be the top of their ticket (Barack Obama can’t run a third time, and the Clintons are most definitely the past as well).

“New” ought to be the key word. For 2012 was an ideological headache that we’d be best to avoid in the future. Making ’16 a retread would show that we learned nothing from our mistakes.


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