By: Sean Hemmersmeier
Illinois will elect a governor in November and as usual it will be a Republican or a Democrat and this election will bring about the usual amount of political discourse. But the interesting part of this gubernatorial election is that both sides can be seen as the establishment.
Bruce Rauner the Republican has been in charge since 2015 so all the faults and shortcomings of this state can be blamed on him because he was in charge for the budget crisis that hurt public schools. While the Democrat J.B. Pritzker has tie-ins with all the old Democrats of this state and is associated with the bad parts of democratic party like the corruption that was rampant during the years of Rob Blagojevich.
Each campaign uses one buzz-word to describe the other candidate. Rauner’s campaign uses ‘corrupt’ to define Pritzker. While Pritzker’s campaign defines Rauner as a ‘failure’. These two definitions are meant to show how each candidate is a part of the establishment.
The label of corrupt has been easy to place on Pritzker because of his dealings with disgraced former Governor Blagojevich. Since the two were recording on an FBI wiretap discussing Pritzker’s potential political future in Illinois. Another corruption dig on Pritzker comes from a recent video posted by Bruce Rauner on Youtube advertising the fictional JBahmamas bank which will “take your money and hide it offshores…just like JB Pritzker did”. Pritzker’s ties with old-school democrats suggest that he is part of the establishment that Rauner is trying to fix.
The label of a failure is also very easy to place on Rauner because he was in charge of a state that did not have a budget for over 2 years. And the agencies that were meant to help the people got hurt the most from this budget impasse. The shortcomings of Rauner ’s term are being dragged out in this campaign cycle, just like any incumbent’s shortcomings would.
According to a recent commercial of Rauner’s wife endorsing him, Rauner considers himself a reformer in Illinois, and he is trying to fix the problems that were created by people like Blagojevich. “But 40 years of mismanagement can’t be fixed in 4 years” Rauner’s main message is to trust the current course and end corruption.
Pritzker also considers himself a reformer and one of his commercials centers around the phrase it is time for a change. Pritzker is focusing on changing the governor in order to help Illinois but does not focus on how to keep corruption out of politics.
This election does not provide a new path to the voters since a vote for Rauner is continuing the direction Illinois has been on since 2015. A vote for Pritzker is allowing Illinois to go back to direct control of Mike Madigan since he and Pritzker have similar views on most of the issues. The choice of this election is whether to continue to down the current path of Rauner or go to the old path of Madigan led democracy.