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They knew the odds were stacked against them going in

Monday, Aug 29, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Chuck Sweeny

If anyone doubted House Speaker Michael Madigan’s total control of the state of Illinois, Thursday’s state Supreme Court decision throwing the Independent Map amendment off the Nov. 8 ballot should erase that doubt.

In a party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled court ruled 4-3 against the amendment, which would have removed control of the legislative district mapping process from politicians and given it to an 11-member independent commission that would draw a fair map that wouldn’t favor the Republicans or the Democrats.

This is exactly why the Independent Maps folks should’ve more closely followed the road map they were handed two years ago by Judge Mikva. The legal and political odds were already heavily against them. Why draw outside those very narrow lines when the Supremes will undoubtedly force you to stay within them?

I still don’t get it, but the Republicans now have a great issue for November and it’s the fault of Democrats for not putting their own redistricting idea on the ballot. Have fun, boys and girls.

* More

But the elite said no. And their kangaroo court said no. So where do we go from here?

Nowhere, that’s where. We’re stuck. We’ve been fixed by Doctor Mike.

The only thing we can do is elect different people, and the way the legislative map has been fixed by Madigan, that’s virtually impossible. The districts have been drawn to give Democrats a comfortable majority, and the Republicans who are left don’t complain much because the Democrats made sure the Republicans got nice, safe districts in which to languish for the rest of their natural lives. As long as they remain out of the way and don’t make noise, it’s just fine with Mike and his Minions.

The districts aren’t all completely safe for Democrats. As we’ve discussed before, the Republican Rauner won 15 of the 39 Senate districts currently represented by Democrats. And four years earlier, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady won almost as many.

* That’s why the governor’s current campaign spending is so important

Of the $5.59 million the House Republican Organization has received (and begun sending to candidates) since June 30, all but $38,500 has come from the Illinois Republican Party. And of the $15.2 million the party has received since March 31, $15 million came from Rauner’s campaign committee, of which one Bruce Rauner overwhelmingly is the largest donor. In other words, the governor is the House Republicans’ bank.

And keep in mind that some of those GOP campaigns started their bigtime spending a whole lot earlier than June 30th.

* More

The House Republican Organization, the campaign arm of the minority House GOP caucus, has dropped more than $420,000 in cable TV ads for a dozen candidates either running against Democratic targets or trying to keep office, reports show.

Top on the list is $157,590 for ads on behalf of Republican Rod Drobinski of Wauconda, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Sam Yingling of Grayslake.

Another $64,140 was spent on Republican Rep. Sheri Jesiel of Winthrop Harbor, who is being challenged by Democrat Nick Ciko of Lindenhurst.

The Republican State Senate Campaign Committee also is spending $172,875 on cable ads, including $71,430 on behalf of Republican Seth Lewis of Bartlett, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park.

* I came up with an idea to perhaps solve this remap problem over the weekend, but I think I’ll save that for a column.


  1. - Annonin' - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Perhaps the Capt Fax column could suggest the
    1%ers and “reformers” they gather around actually read Art 14/Section 3 of the state constitution that limits initiative amendments to Art. 4 …Not Art 8 or Art. 6.
    All the rantin’ from Sweeney, Dey et al unneeded with a little readin’

    Oh, BTW some of want to know what you IL looks like after these all important “competitive” elections send folks to SPI in January 2023. AND what do we do in the meantime.
    Should be a great, great column.

  2. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 9:49 am:

    “Why draw outside those very narrow lines when the Supremes will undoubtedly force you to stay within them? I still don’t get it, but the Republicans now have a great issue for November…”

    I think you get it, Rich.

    – MrJM

  3. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 9:50 am:

    As Rich noted, the drafters were given a road map the last time around … but they didn’t follow it.

    So are the drafters actually trying to pass reform, or do they just want to gin up a campaign bogeyman?

    We’ve seen the current court strictly conform to the letter of the Illinois Constitution on both pensions and voter initiatives. Maybe it’s time to revisit the issues of a balanced State budget and State provided school funding? And, yes, I know most the arguments, both pro and con, on the previous rulings on those subjects.

  4. - The Captain - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 9:58 am:

    A number of people, many of whom are capable of being smart and reasonable, have convinced themselves of the be-all, end-all power of the map. The map does indeed play a small part but somehow the narrative of the map has a Jupiter-like influence, it’s rather comical.

    The reason that Democrats have a supermajority in the House is not because of the map, in fact it’s probably in spite of it, but it’s because of the four districts held by Democrats that Rauner won by more than 30 points in 2014 the Republicans didn’t even have a candidate on the ballot in 3 of them.

    The reason the Democrats are guaranteed to have a majority in the Senate after November no matter who wins each race is because of the 29 seats held by Democrats that are up for election this November the Republicans only filed opponents in 9 of those races and they would need to pick up 10 seats to win the majority.

    Even with all that cash the Republicans can’t find names to put on the ballot. That’s not the map’s fault.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 9:59 am:

    The politics of Rauner’s $16 million spent… so far… dictated months and months and months ago that a nearly 7-figure effort be designed, from Jump Street to fail.

    My biggest “beef” ( the glaring truth to me) is you spend all this money to tout this, but nary a penny to find logical avenues to get the language right?

    You make this “error” only by choosing to do so.

  6. - JS Mill - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    The GOP can hoot and holler all they want, but this is purely a political issue and not substance based.

    If it were real more of the GOP races would actually be competitive. In our area there were no competitive races. None. Maps won’t change that one bit.

  7. - Winnin' - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    In your column, perhaps you could address how the state can stop guaranteeing 10 year terms to downstate republicans who really have done nothing other than exist to point fingers at the “Chicago machine”. ..
    …and of course now do what Rauner tells them to do.

  8. - illini97 - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    You can dislike the ruling if you want, but calling the Illinois Supreme Court a “kangaroo court” is a bit much, isn’t it?

  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    As someone who actually wants an adequate system of map-making not controlled by the legislature, this infuriates me. Not just because it got kicked off the ballot, but because it looks to purposely designed to get kicked off the ballot. And all the newspapers only want to rail on Mike Madigan? Give me a break. This was a failure of Bruce Rauner. Correction, this was a successful failure of Bruce Rauner. /rant

  10. - Nick Name - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    You can draw the maps any way you want, but if the GOP won’t field candidates in districts held by Dems, it has nothing to do with the map.

  11. - Dee Lay - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    “And their kangaroo court said no”

    Really Chuck?

    I get it, over the last eight years, respect for positions of power within the state and national government has evaporated rapidly within the mainstream.

    But please, use your column to Trump your attempt at delegitimizing the Illinois Supreme Court. You solve nothing. You agitate because you can’t consider that Rauner would fund this political action, but can’t follow simple language provided by Judge Mikva two years ago.

    I’m guessing there are 15 million reasons why this Rauner-funded initiative was set up to fail, but you can’t seem to figure that one out. Makes you think, right columnist?

  12. - illini - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    The more I think about this the more I think this was nothing more than a political ploy to create yet another election issue for the BVRGOP.

    They had to know that the petition did not meet the requirements to be approved for submission to the voters.

    Yet, Because….Madigan!

  13. - Bobby Catalpa - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    This is all Rauner, all day.

    He conned a bunch of people into signing onto to this, telling them that this was some “people’s” initiative. It wasn’t.

    It was Rauner’s engineering yet another issue to take hostage. How many hostages are folks gonna let him set up?

  14. - Delimma - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    Am I the only one offended by the partisan bashing of the Supreme Court of Illinois? It’s one thing to disagree with an opinion based on precedent, but this is ridiculous. Does anyone on either side actually think either side can control the Court? I’m actually bothered by this.

  15. - ILPundit - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    I remember 1994, when Term Limits got thrown off the ballot for the first time — back when Term Limits was a bona-fide national movement. The way that the general public rose up in an anger against a tyrannical State Supreme Court, and rewarded the politician who championed the issue was one of the most inspiring memories I have of Illinois politics.

    Oh, wait. That didn’t happen at all.

    I’m sure Team Rauner thinks that they’ve got a real winner here. I have no doubt they will spend lots of money trying to get voters to make the connection. History tells us that is highly unlikely to work. It’s even more unlikely to work when you have a Dukakis-like anvil around your neck at the top of the ticket.

    But hey, it wouldn’t be election season if we didn’t have people spinning fantastical theories of how they plan to beat the odds.

  16. - Quiet Sage - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 10:52 am:

    If Madigan has such total control of the Supreme Court why did the pension decision go the way it did?

  17. - walker - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    “Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night”

    Real Bruce

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    There’s been a shocking lack of competency and follow-through among the Illinois political class in recent years:

    –Redistricting people studiously ignored a judicial road map to ballot access and got tossed, again (keeping the issue alive).

    – Democrats passed an obviously unconstitutional “pension reform” law (for their part, GOP lawmakers and Rauner said “it didn’t go far enough” in its obvious unconstitutionality). It gets tossed, unanimously, but gets the issue off the table before the 2014 election.

    – Rauner pushed an obviously flawed term-limits referendum before the 2014 election, gathering voter data along the way. It gets tossed, but Rauner ignores the judicial road map provided for another try, keeping the issue alive.

    – Democrats put a statewide minimum-wage-increase on the 2014 ballot that passed overwhelmingly, but made no effort to actually increase the minimum wage, (keeping the issue alive).

    It’s almost as if these guys are raising these issues again and again to fool the gullible for strictly partisan electoral purposes.

  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    ===It’s almost as if===


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    The mistake being made in looking at this as only a failure of repeated attempts at reforms is the absolute truth that continued failures assist in keeping these type of popular political points “fresh” with stale attempts at making them passable.

  21. - Winnin' - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:55 am:

    Come to think of it, this whole redistricting issue would be of little interest were it not directed at Madigan.
    No Madigan, no redistricting passion.
    So why should the Dems cut a deal?

  22. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:22 pm:

    The fact that the 4 Democratic Justices refused to opine on the other arguments is pretty strong evidence that they were going to kill it on some ground - this way they’ve kept their options open for the next petition. Again, was there a single unbiased legal analyst who agreed with this Article IV argument, or was it as loopy as the Tribune labeled it? One of the delegates to the convention, now a lawyer at Kirkland and Ellis, wrote an Op-Ed criticizing the lower court opinion. All following the “road map” would have done is forced the majority to discuss one of the other arguments - an incremental victory at best.

  23. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    Winnin’ - people have been working against gerrymandering across the nation for decades, including President Obama. You just don’t like reform because this state bucks the trend and gerrymandering helps the Democrats. Why should the Dems cut a deal? Because gerrymandering is a crime against democracy, that’s why.

  24. - Rock Island Rocky - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    If the Dems were smart the would pass a remap bill of there own or they may find themselves in a position like the Wisconsin Dems out of power for a decade. Rauner money is a real game changer. I know a lot of my Dem friends are bullish with Trump on the ticket they will actually win additional seats but they are going to lose seats for sure getting out spent this way. Iowa has a fairly basic process. Thousand of people apply to the redistricting board and it is narrowed down to 5 Dems, 5 Repubs and 4 independents with input from the legislators. The Dems are playing with fire if they do not pass some sort of redistricting reform.

  25. - JackD - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:28 pm:

    Interesting that only the Democratic majority on the court gets called political and not the Republican minority that seems to vote as a bloc as well.

  26. - Dee Lay - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:36 pm:

    LCD - Obama is pushing it at a National level which cuts against the GOP just as hard as the Dems.

    Oddly enough, the GOP is pushing statewide map reform in bright red states…funny how it works.

  27. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:36 pm:

    More smoke and mirrors from our legislature. House and Senate pass bills but they don’t reconcile them so the issue is unresolved. Legislators can say they support redistricting reform and voted accordingly. Voters don’t realize how self serving their legislators are and the lack of confidence in our state government continues

  28. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    When you are given a map with directions, fail to follow them and then get lost, you really shouldn’t complain. It’s your own fault you got lost.

    If this were a real attempt to do something then they would have followed the directions.

  29. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 5:05 pm:

    Rauner promised Repulicans majorities in both chambers by 2022.

    To have some hope of doing that, Durkin needs to pick up 6-8 House seats this fall.

    If he doesn’t, you can bet that Democrats will hold the majority for the foreseeable future, barring some cataclysm like the formation of a legit national third party.

    Yes, Rauner is going to spend a ton of money. But he spent a ton of money in the spring, to what end?

    And what they will be spending is a pittance compared to federal political spending, earned media, and social media.

    They also have a polarity problem. Trump and the GOP brand are tanking in the suburbs, where Rauner has his base of support.

    But Trump is running strong in downstate Illinois, where Rauner is deeply unpopular.

    I think we see Rauner’s awareness of his unpopularity by insisting he is somehow uninvolved in legislative races. Good luck with that.

  30. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 5:36 pm:

    The more I read about this effort, the more I feel I have been flimflammed.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 8:38 pm:

    - YDD -

    The king game is to bankrupt both the ILDems and Labor, and if/when Rauner wins re-elect, he gets to sigh that new map, because this initiative has gone beyond foolish to think Rauner 1st and foremost wants it passed before Dems and Labor face the reality of the monetary drain.

    I think you’re in wishful thinking territory, not in unbiased analysis.

    With respect.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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