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Salon: Rauner “provides an unlikely road map for Republican resistance”

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Salon’s deputy politics editor who resides in DC likes what she sees in Gov. Rauner

One of just five blue-state Republican governors, and the first Republican governor of Illinois in more than a decade, Bruce Rauner finds himself in a precarious political situation. A billionaire with no previous political experience, Rauner might sound at first like a tailor-made perfect political ally for President Donald Trump. Instead, Rauner has managed to avoid even uttering Trump’s name for months — finally breaking his silence following the president’s disdainful response to racist violence in Charlottesville. Now Rauner is moving beyond pushing back on Trump’s rhetoric. He has signed several pieces of legislation that stand in direct contradiction to Trump’s agenda. In so doing, at least arguably, he provides a road map for fellow Republicans desperate to ditch a sinking ship.

At Mi Tierra restaurant in Chicago on Monday, Rauner signed into law a controversial bill that bans local law enforcement from stopping, arresting, searching or detaining anyone based solely on immigration status. Hours later, Trump was defending his controversial pre-sentencing pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, found guilty of contempt of court by a federal judge after he failed to end racial profiling of people suspecting of being undocumented immigrants. […]

Rauner signed another bill on Monday that is fundamentally at odds with the aims of the Trump administration. After recently vetoing a previous version, Rauner signed one of the farthest-reaching voter access laws in the country. […]

Hours before Trump delivered his directives to dismiss all transgender service members from the U.S. military on Friday, Rauner signed a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to change the sex designation on their birth certificates.

Rauner’s approach probably can’t be understood as a rebuke of Trump rooted in moral principle. More likely it reflects his efforts to walk the line between his conservative base in downstate Illinois and the more moderate Chicagoland constituencies he will need in order to win reelection in 2018. But Rauner still offers Republican lawmakers a pathway out of the mess in which Donald Trump has left their party.

Republicans in blue states are, of course, highly vulnerable to Trump backlash. If unenthused Republicans stay home and angry Democrats come out in larger than expected numbers in 2018, it could spell nationwide disaster for the GOP. While Trump continues to play to the hardcore base with his policies and rhetoric, Rauner’s turn toward moderation may provide Republicans with a workable alternative model — at least for now.

Your thoughts?


  1. - Hold up - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    Wait, I thought he had surrounded himself with a cadre of extremist right wing ideologues? Salon is stepping on our reporters’ toes!

  2. - SAP - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    Back in the village where I grew up, we would call that “Out of town stupid”. I’m sure it looks reasonable from 1,000 miles away, but if the author’s boots were on the ground here in Illinois, she would see that Governor Rauner’s policy team has no idea of how to turn a decent hand of cards into a winning play.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    If you ignore the 63% disapproval, a budget in place that Rauner vetoed, except now for school funding, Labor uniting against Rauner, and the purging…

    … Rauner is in that proverbial “cat bird” seat…


  4. - South of Sherman - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    “a workable alternative model…”

    Sure, as long as you’re good with endless fiscal chaos, brinksmanship, and decline, it seems like a foolproof plan.

  5. - JB13 - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    If Democrats want to try to portray Rauner as just another Trump toadie, I think Rauner would welcome such a comparison, given the condition of the state and his record of success to date.

    I don’t think Illinois’ Democrats are that stupid, though.

  6. - Try-4-Truth - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    Gov. Rauner does not have the luxury of running against Pat Quinn in 2018.

    That is one of the many reasons that his reelection prospects are very grim.

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==who resides in DC==

    I think that pretty much sums up her disconnect from reality in Illinois.

    It’s also Salon, so I doubt they watched the Fox interview.

  8. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    What a joke.
    This isn’t about Rauner. Salon doesn’t give a fig for Rauner. This is about the President. What a crock of horse dung.

  9. - H-W - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    The ends have nothing to do with the means, apparently. *smile*

  10. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    Have they done polling here to back up their story?

  11. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    National writers have never understood state and local issues. They never will understand state and local issues. I surely wish they would at least try to understand state and local issues. Like… maybe… picking up the phone and actually talking to someone that lives in Illinois would be a good start. But, no, when a bad writer begins writing with a narrative in mind, facts can only get in the way. The loony left at Salon is handing out grandiose kudos to Bruce Rauner. I’m not sure who should be more embarrassed.

  12. - confused - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    Gosh, with Salon on your side, how can Rauner lose?

  13. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    Obviously, the writer is looking at Rauner from the distance of several states away through rose colored glasses.

  14. - Logan's Run - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    Seems like an object lesson for reading reports of electoral happenings from other states. Their description of these events isn’t wrong, but winds up painting a picture that doesn’t look much like the lived reality here.

  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    Running to the middle in hopes of keeping Dem turnout down certainly is Rauner’s best chance. That’s what made the hookups with IPI and Proft so weird. He should have just gave them money. They love that money.

    How he handles the Trump problem is way big trouble. Much (not all) of his off-year base likes Trump, but he’s anathema to the Independents that any candidate, Republican or Democrat, needs to win.

    And the Dems are going to pound him with Trump all day long.

  16. - Bored Chairman - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    Salon may not get this (or Illinois liberals for that matter), but Rauner is and always has been a social progressive. He didn’t sign these bills to distance himself from Trump. He did so because he believes in these things.

  17. - iggy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Sap my friend let me explain something to you. This view is not just one held by the person 1000 miles away with no ties to the state. it is the view of the average person who doesn’t spend their life away on political blogs following the Springfield action. Sometimes it needs reminding Springfield is a bubble and so is all the people that work and follow it closely.

  18. - The Snowman - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    If the GDP keeps growing, stock market stays strong, hundreds of thousands of new jobs added every month, and the labor participation rates going up, lower taxes…I don’t think Trump will be as toxic in the Fall of 2018 as he is portrayed now. Therefore, I think the Governor is making many mis-calculations that 1) will not attract Democrats to vote for him in 2018 and 2) will cause Republicans to be less enthusiastic for him. This TRUST act, Voter Access bill, gender identity bill…his signing of these will hurt him politically more than it will help him.
    On the other hand, depending on who the Dem candidate would be, Rauner can still win if there is a good campaign against the Dem. “You may not like me…but look at the other guy!”

  19. - Tommydanger - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    If he were a first time candidate stating his support for those bills he has signed into law as governor, then the writer may have a point.

    Unfortunately, even by signing such bills into law, people won’t forget his inability to govern, lead, and work cooperatively with others.

    People won’t forget the hollowing out of our social service agencies and the impacts on our most vulnerable citizens.

    People won’t forget the generational adverse impacts his budget-less years will have on our higher education institutions.

    People won’t forget his uneasy relationship with the truth, his inability to understand or lack of familiarity with the contents of bills or the voting requirements set forth in the Constitution.

    People won’t forget that although he is the top elected official of our state, he and his surrogates in state agencies bad mouth Illinois as as a location for a new or expanding business all in the name of advancing his minority favored legislative agenda in a majority controlled legislature.

    And people sure won’t forget his willingness to use money to reward or punish those that agree or disagree with him.

    His ‘aw shucks, I’m just like you, the workin’ man’, has never squared coming from someone who can sleep in a different house he owns each night of the week.

  20. - Johnny Tractor - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    “While Trump continues to play to the hardcore base with his policies and rhetoric, Rauner’s virtually limitless financial resources and willingness to sacrifice anyone - staff, fellow Republicans, the defenseless poor and sick -may provide Republicans with a workable alternative model — at least for now.”

    There - fixed it.

  21. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    “Your thoughts?”

    Salon hasn’t been the same since they lost Tom the Dancing Bug.

    – MrJM

  22. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    Salon’s Sophia Tesfaye must be a modern day Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  23. - whetstone - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    “Rauner’s turn toward moderation may provide Republicans with a workable alternative model — at least for now.”

    If his “turn toward moderation” is “the events of the past week or so”… sure, why not. I’ll even spot her Rauner’s platform on criminal-justice reform. “Other” is a big ‘ol category though.

  24. - SinkingShip - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    Unless I am mistaken, not one of those bills was his idea. So while he gets to take credit for signing them into law, he can hardly taken credit for the initiatives behind those bills. His actual agenda has been a lot more conservative than those bills would suggest. From a moderate’s standpoint, his lack of opposition to those bills is laudable, but only tell part of the story. The article thus gives the wrong impression about our governor, whose only tangible achievements have been signing off on other people’s thought-leadership.

  25. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===it is the view of the average person===

    Anyone who thinks that a DC columnist reflects the views of an average Illinoisan - on just about anything - needs a nap more than I do.

  26. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    Exactly what are the Trump Rauner comparisons in terms of policy. I have not heard a singe one that sticks.

    Trump is a life long Democrat only recently identifying as a Republican, Governor Rauner is a Republican

    Trump wears Expensive Tailored Suits, Rauner prefers Carhartt

    Trump is extremely arrogant, Rauner is not

    Trump has no record of contribution to education reform, Rauner’s have been working behind the scenes for decades

    Trump is a sexist, mysoginist, no one has ever accused the Governor of anything like that

    Trump shoots from the hip, the Governor is much more measured.

    JB Pritzker and other democrats can try to associate the two some how but the connection is very weak

  27. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    Not to worry. Diana Rauner will assure moderates and left-leaning women that Bruce doesn’t have a social agenda.

    Hey, it worked last time, didn’t it?

  28. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    Why should we vote for him again? What does he truly stand for? Is it just that he is against Madigan? If so that won’t be enough. The Dems know what they want and JB will deliver. I suspect that even if Rauner can begin to articulate a clear message on his positions when people look at his record they won’t trust him to follow through. Prediction, the Dems take back the governor and the Dems continue to destroy this state.

  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    BC, tell us more about “social progressives” and 2.5 years of deliberately bleeding higher ed and contracted social service providers in service of union busting.

    I think that’s actually called “reactionary.”

  30. - Try-4-Truth - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===- Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:30 pm:===

    Ok, a couple of things:

    1.) === Trump is extremely arrogant, Rauner is not===


    2.) === JB Pritzker and other democrats can try to associate the two some how but the connection is very weak ===

    Well, a couple of “billionaires” who claim to want to run the government “like a business” and then fail spectacularly, and who happen to both be part of the same political party? I think I can make a connection or 50.

    3.) The political reality is, Trump is an albatross around the neck of every Republican in the country. Period. The one’s who live in “safe” areas may weather the storm. Very skilled politician may weather the storm. Gov. Rauner does not have either benefit.

  31. - SAP - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    Thanks for that explanation iggy. Really helps. I suppose that poll showing 63% disapproval consisted entirely of CapitoFax readers.

  32. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    Wow. Cherry pick 3 recent bills, juxtapose those positions against trump, and thats a template for republican electoral success. Totally ignore 2.5 yrs of destruction, and starving the beast. Newswriting and political analysis: F-

  33. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    This is just embarrassing… LOL

    ===Trump is a life long Democrat only recently identifying as a Republican, Governor Rauner is a Republican===

    lol, Rauner himself donated to Rahm, Daley, and was an admitted supporter of Firtest Claypool abs clouted his denied Winnetka-living daughter into Chicago’s Payton Prep thru, you guessed it, Democrats.

    Bruce and Diana Rauner are Raunerites, if anything…

    ===Trump wears Expensive Tailored Suits, Rauner prefers Carhartt===

    “Trump wears Expensive Tailored Suits, Rauner prefers a Carhartt costume, among other phony costumes.

    ===Trump is extremely arrogant, Rauner is not===

    The Rauner “Royal We” is well-documented here. It’s not up for discussion.

    ===Trump has no record of contribution to education reform, Rauner’s have been working behind the scenes for decades===

    … and Rauner, who has a Charter school bearing his and Diana’s name, decided to clout his denied, Winnetka-lining daughter into Chicago’s Payton Prep, then donated $250K after the clouting. That’s reform? lol

    ===Trump is a sexist, mysoginist, no one has ever accused the Governor of anything like that===

    “I will bury her”… ‘Nember that?

    “I will bury her”

    ===…can try to associate the two some how but the connection is very weak===

    You keep saying that, but… LOL

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    LP, cry yourself a river.

    Linking an unpopular president to an incumbent of the same party in an off-year election is the oldest and easiest play in the book.

    But if you want to say nasty things about Trump on Rauner’s behalf, you might want to check with him first. He’s walking the razor’s edge on that problem.

  35. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    Hers the deal: Rauners learning curve is very steep…does he the brains and personality to co opt fiscally conservative and socially moderate Dems?

    I wonder how big his uptake was this week…time will tell…

  36. - DougChicago - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    It’s an interesting theory but it assumes, incorrectly I think, that this is additive to the pro-Rauner coalition. For such a position to hold you have to assume that the governor’s moderating actions will add more Rauner voters (or at least reduce the loss of Rauner voters) from the set of more moderate voters than he will lose from the conservative camp.

    Nothing that I have seen nationally suggests that this will happen. The Trumpsters will primary you for lack of orthodoxy even if the president supports the candidate they are targeting. I’m sure many downstaters will now blame their continuing decline on Rauner’s signature on these bills.

    And the suburban gals already see him as a meany — he took home care away from someone he’s got to go and my darling husband will just have to work a little harder to pay the ever escalating taxes — and won’t be persuaded by signatures on a couple bills.

  37. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    That Salon column will be cited early and often at the next North Shore cocktail party, but the bottom line remains:

    Rauner is a failed governor, whose incompetence has led to billions in new debt and multiple credit downgrades. Illinois taxes went up and none of his reforms saw the light of day. He was stymied at every turn by a diminutive septuagenarian. He replaced experienced staff with inexperienced ideologues and still got rolled. He campaigned against a Chicago bailout only to cave and give Chicago a bigger bailout.

    And he’s going to run on that record in what should be a landslide Democratic year in a state that Hillary Clinton won by 17%?

    Bartender, you better make that a double. Ouch.

  38. - Sic semper tyrannis - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Surprised that Salon didn’t also rave about Rauner dropping his Gs in some speeches!

    Vanilla Man said it, this article is all about Trump not Rauner.

  39. - Lamont - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Wishful thinking. Too little too late in my opinion. The public is going to have a real hard time forgetting the last 3 years.

  40. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    As an avowed independent, retired steelworker, i would vote for Trump in a Washington DC minute. Not Rauner. Problem though, of the remaining two candidates in the field, i wont be voting.

  41. - dasjao;si - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    Other than being the stupidest thing I have read in a long time, it also suggests that republican politicians are in a world of hurt if our Guv is a shining example of how to govern.

  42. - Cosgrove - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:07 pm:

    Except now we know that Diana just lied through her teeth to get Bruce elected. Selling his refusing to sign a bill (HB 40) that would allow a rape victim to get an abortion is not going to be easy— or possible. Suburban women are not going to swallow “Bruce doesn’t have a social agenda” the 2nd time around, especially when the lie is in writing.

  43. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:10 pm:

    == it is the view of the average person who doesn’t spend their life away on political blogs following the Springfield action.==

    And you, of course, as a guy commenting on this blog, are their tribune.

    To the post:

    Won’t we need to wait until 2018 to see if Rauner is an effective alternative model to Trump? And even then, he’ll be succeeding in a state that’s way to the left of the national average. It’s not clear that Rauner’s model could be replicated everywhere.

    As to what we know right now, I agree with “out of town stupid”. Rauner famously can’t even bring himself to say Trump’s name and was silent on Trumpcare until the voters were counted…but he signed two bills that Trump didn’t take a position on, so he’s a model of Trump resistance? I don’t know that that tracks.

  44. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    ==It’s an interesting theory but it assumes, incorrectly I think, that this is additive to the pro-Rauner coalition.==

    Of course, Rauner doesn’t need to add to his 2014 numbers, he just needs to hold them. But I think you’re right that’s far from certain. The TRUST Act seems to really rankle downstate Republicans, and the pending veto of HB40 could similarly bother suburban women.

  45. - Steve - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:13 pm:

    Looking for guidance from a Salon columnist on Illinois is misguided. The coming election will probably be about the state income tax and the fear or lack of fear of even higher taxes. Illinois used to be a low income tax state… now it’s in the top 20. Who’s to say in a few years if might not crack the top 10???

  46. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:28 pm:

    They might be expensive suits but Trump still doesn’t know how to dress. A guy with his shape needs to stop pretending he can wear lightweight wool. Also shorten the tie and get rid of the tape on the back of it.

  47. - JoeMaddon - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:37 pm:

    **He didn’t sign these bills to distance himself from Trump. He did so because he believes in these things.**

    LOL. No, not quite. He signed those bills because he made a political calculation that it was good for his re-election.

    He has promised he will veto HB40. You can’t call him a social progressive until and unless he’d be willing to sign a bill like HB40.

  48. - Dozer - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    fair national perspective. Those of us on the ground also realize that he’s been weakened by the just concluded two year budget fiasco and the weird firing, hiring and firing again of his top staff ala Trump. In other words he wasn’t in a position to stand firm on immigration and AVR even if he wanted to.

  49. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 4:52 pm:

    Joe. I thought he was a conservative?

  50. - pundemonium - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 7:06 pm:

    Lets be honest, if the national media sees Rauner as an anti trump republican and wants to push that narrative then they will. People will buy into it, and it will help him in the city and the burbs. As much as many commenters on here want to push back against that, I think the facts speak for themselves and this story is pretty accurate.

  51. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 7:11 pm:

    ===People will buy into it, and it will help him in the city and the burbs. As much as many commenters on here want to push back against that, I think the facts speak for themselves===


    Rauner is polling below 40% in approval.
    Rauner is polling above 60% in disapproval.

    As much as you’re a victim to commenters, the polling is pushing back on your ignorance, lol

  52. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 7:16 pm:

    Pun, the national media is influential in Illinois gubernatorial elections?

    For example?

  53. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 7:48 pm:

    “I thought he was a conservative?”

    Asks the Trump fan who purports to be a Democrat.

    – MrJM

  54. - Mike Cirrincione - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 7:52 am:

    What Bruce’s election proves is that former self-proclaimed businessmen arent very good at government.

    The same can be said of the former apartment leasing manager in Washington.

  55. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 8:01 am:

    Mrjm. One issue voter. Steel. Mostly union made.

  56. - Brian P - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 8:46 am:

    ==If you ignore the 63% disapproval..==

    Funny thing about statistics. If your opponent has an equally dismal approval rating, then the election might end up closer than you expect.

    No, Madigan is not running for Governor. But Pritzker may have the Hillary syndrome. People just don’t like them.

  57. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 8:53 am:

    Oh - Brian P -

    Rauner is losing, double digits, to a general Dem opponent.

    So, there’s that too.

    You keep hopin’ on that “Madigan” thingy, while Rauner is still below 40% in approval, above 60% in disapproval, and “Pat Quinn failed” showed how that movie ends.

    As Bret Baier asked Governor Rauner, after, what seemed like 38 minutes of listing failure after miserable failure that is Rauner’s tenure…

    “What would be different in a second term?”

    And “you know what” Rauner did.

    Rauner laughed.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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