Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What is the partisan political norm?

I stumbled across some commentaries recently; one of which predicted that the electoral gains to be made come November by Democrats with regards to control of Congress would be balanced out by an overwhelming victory come 2020 for Donald Trump’s re-election as president.

Would a "J.B." win restore the 'norm'
While I also have heard countless people talk of the Illinois political situation by saying this year’s election cycle (where many are convinced Gov. Bruce Rauner is doomed to defeat by Democratic Party challenger J.B. Pritzker) will be an “outlier”.

AS IN A victory by Democrats will be a freak exception. One that should not be taken in any way as evidence of what our state is all about politically.

All of which strikes me as a whole lot of Republican partisan types determined to ignore the realities around them. Either that, or they really do believe that everybody who doesn’t agree with them ideologically is someone who ought to be disregarded.

Probably even flogged publicly, then incarcerated, if the most outrageous of those individuals could have their wildest of fantasies come true.

Then again, listening to the conservative ideologues amongst us, the things they say publicly all too often are wild-enough fantasies.

Is Bruce Rauner the Illinois norm?
BEFORE I GO further, I should state that I think the partisan fluctuations of our political establishment IS the norm. I also think that not only is the way things are, it is the way it should be.

A part of me thinks that Illinois suffered from having the governor’s post in the hands of Republicans for 26 years (even if those GOPers included a city-based attorney like Jim Thompson, or a political professional moderate like Jim Edgar).

And before you try throwing it into my face about the string of Democrats serving as Chicago mayor (dating back to 1931 – the longest electoral winning streak by any political organization in any legitimate Democracy), I’ll concede that our city would be better off if the one-time Party of Lincoln could come up with credible candidates for City Hall posts.

Have we devolved to a national Trump norm?
But when you consider the GOP’s most serious mayoral challenger in decades was that 1983 election cycle when they came up with Bernard Epton to challenge Harold Washington – and that election became so overly-tainted by race for the one-time state legislator from Hyde Park to be taken seriously, it’s no wonder the Republicans are irrelevant locally.

WHAT SHOULD WE think of the politics likely to occur in coming months?

Personally, I’m inclined to think the 2014 election that gave us Bruce Rauner in Springfield and 2016 that produced Donald Trump in D.C. even though his Democratic opponent got some 3 million more of the popular vote were the election cycles that threw our system out of whack. Perhaps this is the year the voters try to balance things back to the norm.

By replacing the governor whose ideas of “reform” are about undermining organized labor and trying to perceive people who represent constituents who rely upon unions as somehow being corrupt because they look out for the union label.

Or by installing a Democrat-influenced Congress (at least in the House of Representatives) that could serve as a counter-acting measure for the remaining two years of the Donald Trump presidential term.

WITH THE 2020 election cycle being the one in which our society’s majority gets to Dump Trump. Or will it be that incredibly-outspoken minority of Trump backers manage to pull off a second electoral miracle?

EPTON: Last serious GOP mayoral hopeful
Perhaps it’s because I remember the 1994 election cycle – the one in which hard-core Republican ideologues managed to gain control in Congress and also experienced a surge in Illinois where the GOP gained control of all the state constitutional offices AND the General Assembly’s entirety.

It was the two-year time period during which Michael Madigan was reduced to the role of “minority leader” and Lee Daniels got to serve as Illinois House Speaker.

Those were supposed to be long-lasting partisan movements that would forever change the way things got done. Yet by ’96, Madigan was back, and Bill Clinton managed to get re-elected with as president. Everything has a habit of balancing out when it comes to partisan politics.


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