Thursday, August 13, 2015

Would Rauner gain politically from a strong Walker presence in Illinois?

Back in 2008, Barack Obama’s presidential aspirations gained an early boost from his caucus victory in Iowa, and part of the reason he won there was the fact that politically-aware Iowa voters knew of Obama because he was a senator from neighboring Illinois.

WALKER: Looking to Land of Lincoln?
Which makes me wonder if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has hopes that his own presidential dreams in next year’s election cycle will gain some support from Republicans in neighboring Illinois.

WALKER IS IN the Chicago area on Thursday, making appearances at a pair of fundraisers. One of which will be at the Peninsula Hotel – giving it the potential to attract the extremely-wealthy amongst us who can afford to pay several thousands of dollars for tickets.

Those who can’t quite afford that (but will still pay a bit more than pocket change) can support Walker at Carlucci’s Restaurant in suburban Downers Grove – where the state Republican Party can still cough up GOP votes in significance.

But how much of a difference will it make?

Despite the partisan split that currently exists, the Democratic Party structures in Illinois are stronger than those of the one-time Party of Lincoln.

GOV. BRUCE RAUNER may be using his personal wealth to prop up the Republican Party because he wants stronger caucuses to vote in his favor on his pet issues (particularly all those anti-labor union measures he desires). Whether he’s willing to prop up a Walker campaign financially is a different matter.

Although you have to admit that Walker is probably the governor that Rauner wishes he could be! He could use a political ally, someone with some muscle to fight back against the “might” of Michael Madigan.

RAUNER: Needs a partisan ally
Walker gained his national reputation when he took on organized labor in his own state and managed to undermine the unions. Just like Rauner wishes he could be.

Now this isn’t support for Walker. I know plenty of Wisconsinites who are appalled at their inability to undermine his partisan fight. If I lived in the land north of Rockford, I’d probably be one of his opponents.

I’M SURE THEIR Illinois counterparts are among the ones quietly cheering on the Illinois House speaker as he thwarts the efforts of Rauner to impose his partisan agenda to benefit the financial bottom lines of his corporate-type allies.

DURKIN: Allied to Rauner and Walker
Which could make a Walker win in Illinois some sort of political blow to the people who are preventing him from being able to easily achieve his desires in our home state

How strong is the Walker campaign in Illinois? Probably about as much as any other campaign amongst the nearly dozen-and-a-half Republican presidential fantasizers! Except maybe former Texas Gov. Rick Perry – who already has stopped paying his campaign staff because he can’t afford to.

All those people who claim real estate developer Donald Trump is kicking butt are downplaying the fact that three-quarters of Republican partisans who have been polled want somebody (anybody) else to be their party’s presidential nominee.

THIS IS A political free-for-all. Who’s to say who will be at the head of the Republican pack come the March primary in Illinois?

Wis. vs. Ill. usually competitors, not allies
Walker, however, does have a state chairman in the form of James Durkin – the Illinois House minority leader and the theoretical GOP counterpart to Madigan. Walker may be the closest Illinois Republicans have to a “favorite son” in this election cycle.

Although whether that is enough to win is questionable. Walker’s anti-union stances have enough support amongst the hard-core GOP partisans that those voters may actually give the Wisconsin governor a few minutes of consideration.

Whether he could get the backing of the people who want an ideological stance on the social issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) is less certain. For the same reasons that Rauner isn’t “cleaning house” with ease in Illinois – sensible people see through the partisan rhetoric, just like they may with Walker as well.


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