Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When it comes to Election Day, can’t we just get it over with already?

Labor Day has come and gone. Officially, the time period for active campaigning for public office on Election Day is now upon us.
Just 63 more 'shopping days' for a candidate

We’re supposed to see a batch of activity that steps up the level of rhetoric that gets spewed about why the opponent is a repulsive idiot and the only sensible vote is one for my candidate.

YET THE REALITY of the 21st Century is that Tuesday isn’t any more important to the candidates seeking election this year than on any other date. Any campaign that waited until now to get serious is one that is seriously dead in the water.

I’m not saying the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump spat for president can’t get uglier than it already has. Or that Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, have been doing through various legislative campaigns.

After all, Rauner would love to have real political power – which he would get if only he could have a General Assembly composed of people who don’t feel their allegiance is to the people in organized labor whom the governor views as the root of state government’s “problem.”

While Madigan and labor view the new governor as the problem that must be kept in check, People in Illinois, or at least in certain legislative districts, will have a choice to make when it comes to picking that schleppy, anonymous representative they usually pay little attention to.

OF COURSE, THE presidential campaign is offering up a similar choice for voters.
MADIGAN: Continued gov opposition?

It’s less about Hillary vs. The Donald and more about whose influence do you want over government. Particularly with the Supreme Court of the United States.

That vacancy caused by the death earlier this year of Justice Antonin Scalia is still open, and the partisan desire to control who picks the replacement is still just as intense.

Heck, for many of the Republican Party operatives who are appalled by the presence of Trump at the top of their party’s ticket, they’re voting for Trump because they want to ensure it isn’t Clinton or Democratic interests that get to shift the balance of the nation’s high court.
RAUNER: Giving governor his way

THEY DIDN’T OBJECT when Ronald Reagan used his presidential powers to shift the leaning of the federal courts to Republicans back in the 1980s, but they seem to resent the idea that partisan leanings are not permanent.

History could wind up seeing a “President Clinton” (the second) as one who reversed the political tinge of the courts’ partisanship.

Which is why some people who personally don’t think much of Hillary will wind up voting for her – the notion of a federal court that isn’t hostile to our ever-changing society and doesn’t seem determined to hold us back in the 18th Century is something that does appeal to some.

Which also is intriguing in the way Illinois’ legislative races may wind up being influenced by presidential politics. Will people have to choose between federal and state governments, or which way they want the whole mess to lean?

BECAUSE RAUNER HIMSELF is one who has tried to tamper down his own leanings in the presidential campaign. Because the last thing he wants is people becoming so disgusted with Trump that they don’t bother to vote for the Republican in their home district who’d represent them in the Legislature.
TRUMP: Impacting more than his election

Or maybe the first thing he wants is some of those people who pick Hillary for president deciding they don’t want Madigan to influence their local legislator, so they choose to vote Republican instead, on that part of the ballot.

The one safe prediction we can make about what will happen 63 days from Tuesday is that none of the usual rules will apply. The whole thing could become a free-for-all – one that will make the next two months one of those time periods we recall for years to come.

And some of us certainly will wind up having to learn to live down the shame of explaining in the future why they actually cast a ballot for whichever knucklehead they wind up voting for come Nov. 8.


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