By: Mark Glennon*
The speeches last night said most of what you need to know about the election.
In her concession speech, Jeanne Ives said, “Illinois does not have a Democratic or Republican problem, it has a math problem.” It was a core part of her campaign message — that simple math shows the fiscal catastrophe Illinois faces. That’s also been our core theme at Wirepoints since our inception. It trumps all other issues.
In his victory speech, Governor Rauner said, “To those of you around the state who wanted to send me a message, let me be clear: I have heard you.”
In his victory speech, JB Pritzker said, “Let’s fund our schools properly so that every child gets a quality education. Let’s institute a progressive income tax, so that we can lower the tax burden on the middle class and those striving to get there. Let’s work toward universal health care by passing my plan for a public option.”
There you have it. The stage is set.
For Rauner, the issue is which message he heard. The message I most hope he heard is that denial isn’t working. Among the reasons why his base turned on him is failure to emphasize the full scope of our crisis — the simple math. Rauner has largely gone silent on that, in words and deeds, in contrast to the more realistic message he delivered in his first campaign. As governor, he supported a massive increase in educational spending with no way to pay for it. His budgets are unbalanced. His “comprehensive pension reform” proposals are little more then gimmicks.
Pritzker isn’t stupid enough to believe what he says — I know him personally well enough to say that — so he knows his entire campaign is a fraud. Tax the rich and spend more — he didn’t hesitate to emphasize that in his victory speech and throughout his campaign. But he knows full well that a progressive income tax wouldn’t fix much and would backfire in the long run by driving more big taxpayers out. He knows full well that we won’t have more money for schools or universal healthcare. He knows full well that The Machine, of which he is part, is looting the state. And he knows those things nevertheless win elections in Illinois.
Maybe the message Rauner claims he got is the right one. We’ll see.
As for Pritzker, there’s no hope.
And as for Ives, she ran on her principles, one being math.
She lost. It lost.
*Mark Glennon is founder and Exec. Editor of Wirepoints.