Monday, March 3, 2014

Who you gonna vote for? Do you or I really have much of a candidate choice?

It’s that time of year again. People can start casting their ballots Monday through Early Voting Centers for the March 18 primary elections.

I can't envision lines like this one from decades ago gathering at polling places this year across the state.
The public will get their say as to who should run the state government (and represent us at the federal level) come that date. And it’s likely that I will cast my own ballot sometime this week (allowing me to spend Election Day proper being a reporter-type person).

IN ACCORDANCE WITH my past policies, the Chicago Argus will make its endorsements (which are really nothing more than who I will vote for). I’ll take a Democratic Party ballot, which means I’ll be voting for Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., to have a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

There also will be ballots cast for the pairing of Gov. Pat Quinn and Paul Vallas to be his lieutenant governor running mate, along with state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, state Treasurer nominee Michael Freirichs and state Comptroller nominee Sheila Simon.

Which is about as unsurprising as things can get.

Because aside of the fact that Quinn is being challenged on paper by Tio Hardiman of suburban Hillside, none of these people have a challenger.
QUINN: Won't coast to win!
TAKING A DEMOCRATIC primary ballot this time around doesn’t really amount to having much of a choice. It largely is a sign of showing that we have less faith in the Republican ranters to do anything positive about state government than we do with the Democratic establishment that got us in our current state of affairs.

Although if we’re honest about things, the people who decide to pull a Republican Party ballot in the primary don’t have much more of a choice. Their Attorney General nominee (Paul Schimpf), Secretary of State pick (Michael Webster) and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka are unopposed.

One-time Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (who wants to be state treasurer) has a challenge from Bob Grogan, while would-be U.S. Sen. James Oberweis must get past Douglast Truax. Neither Grogan nor Truax appear capable of putting up much of a challenge.
RAUNER: Probably thinks he will!
And when it comes to governor, it really is a pick between two past losers (in William Brady and Kirk Dillard), a no-name candidate with no money (which is why the only thing we know about Dan Rutherford is that he’s facing a sexual harassment allegation) and a no-name candidate (Bruce Rauner) with so much money that he can buy an image. The Illinois Federation of Teachers' backing of Dillard is more a matter of him being the lesser of evils -- from their perspective.

WHETHER THAT IMAGE will stand through the Nov. 4 general election so as to get Rauner elected as governor, or whether the experienced politicos on the Democratic Party side can shatter it to pieces is really about the only real question to be decided in this year’s election cycle.

That, and whether Hardiman or Truax will suffer the bigger defeat from the March 18 primary.

My point is that the results of the upcoming primary seem to be fairly straight-forward. We might as well be focusing now on the general election cycle – and I’m sure there are certain individuals who wish we could just get the whole thing over and done with on March 18 – rather than having to endure nearly eight full months of more campaigning between the two parties.

We’ve got enough headaches just from the electioneering that has taken place between the GOP governor types to last us this campaign cycle. Rauner, in particular, seems to be about nothing more than voting against the incumbent – rather than anything he would try to achieve as governor.

WHICH IS TO say that anybody who thinks they’re going to mock me for picking a Democratic Party ballot this time around ought to be looking at the lackluster choices the other party offers up.

I usually am quick to criticize people who don’t bother to vote. I argue that casting a ballot is the price one must pay for the right to complain about their government.

Although with this particularly uninspiring field of candidates, this time I may have to admonish myself a time or two before I set foot in the voting booth.


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