Nothing is that simple
Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016
* This is a common notion, and it’s not incorrect…
* As is this…
* But if you click here, you’ll see Scott Kennedy’s 2014 gubernatorial election results by Illinois House district. Those districts were drawn, of course, by Speaker Madigan.
So, the Republican candidate for governor won 22 more House seats than the Republicans currently hold.
That’s why Gov. Rauner thinks he has a real shot at picking up some House seats this year. His operation is focusing like a laser on the districts he won.
* Now, it’s not as simple as this, of course. Once somebody is elected, it’s difficult to pry them loose. The House Democrats picked up seats after the 2011 remap, but besides drawing a map that certainly favored their candidates, the wins were also due to 2012 being a hugely favorable (to them) presidential election year.
By the time the national GOP wave swept through two years later, it ran smack dab into Democratic incumbents who’d been working their new districts hard for two years. And not all of those newbies had credible (or any) challengers.
But it didn’t work out that way for Congressional Democrats, who lost some seats here in 2014.
This year, the trend will likely be the Democrats’ friend yet again. If Rauner doesn’t net some gains, he’ll likely blame the map, but that won’t be totally true.
* If you go back to 1991, the last time the Republicans drew the map, Madigan’s Democrats held on to control in 1992, when Bill Clinton and Carol Moseley Braun swept the state. The Democrats lost the majority two years later in a big national GOP landslide, but gained it back in 1996, when Clinton ran again, and managed to hold onto their majority until they drew the map in 2001.
Yet, during that same time period, the Senate Republicans held the majority throughout, even with the heavy African-American migration into the south suburbs which helped upend the House GOP’s hold. Senators, however, don’t run every two years, so some lucked out and missed unfavorable wave elections.
Lots of things play into why stuff happens in politics, which is why I love it so much. It’s not a black and white, either-or game, except on election day itself, when it’s winner take all.
* And, again, let me say I think that a non-partisan map would be a good thing here. But so would California’s open primary system, where the top two vote-getters battle it out in November even if they’re from the same party. I’d love to see that brought to Illinois.
There are lots of things we can do to reform the process. But a single reform probably won’t solve all our problems. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, because they’re living in an overly simplistic cartoon world. I prefer the real world.