* Press release with all emphasis in the original…
To: Interested Parties
FR: Democratic Party of Illinois
RE: Illinois Voters Roundly Reject Republican Attacks on Speaker Madigan
Last night’s election results definitively proved that the Rauner Republican playbook of attempting to make the entire 2018 election a referendum on Speaker Madigan, to distract from Republicans’ record, is a failure. Rauner and the Republican Party spent several years and hundreds of millions of dollars focused on tearing down one man, and last night that strategy definitively failed for Republicans up and down the ballot who joined in the effort.
Of the dozens of Illinois Republicans that ran on a platform tying their opponent to Speaker Madigan, nearly every one lost. Some attempts were hateful, others laughable, including suggestions that the Speaker is committing acts of violence against others, but after the votes have been counted, the tactic was a clear failure. It failed because Speaker Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois are champions of smart economic and social policies that better the lives of Illinoisans and create a state that works for all of us.
GOP Tactic Using Speaker Madigan as a Foil for Dem Candidates Fails
For most of his term, Governor Rauner has consistently attacked Speaker Madigan as a strategy to distract voters and the media from his own failures and poor decision-making in office. This election cycle, Republican candidates throughout Illinois mirrored Rauner’s actions and took part in the strategy in a desperate attempt to defeat their Democratic opponents by attaching them to Speaker Mike Madigan.
What did these GOP candidates get from these attacks? A clear rejection by Illinois voters. Nearly every one of the Republican candidates in Illinois who used this cheap tactic lost their elections. In fact, in a definitive statewide swing towards the Democratic party, Illinois Democrats added at least two U.S. congressional seats and six state house seats that gave Illinois Democrats a supermajority in the state’s House of Representatives.
• Bruce Rauner (R) v J.B. Pritzker (D)
• Erika Harold (R) v Kwame Raoul Raoul (D)
• Tim Schneider (R) v Kevin Morrison (D)
• Seth McMillan (R) v Andy Manar (D)
• Tonia Khouri (R) v Karina Villa (D)
• Eddie Corrigan (R) v Mark Walker (D)
• Peter Breen (R) v Terra Costa Howard (D)
• Christine Winger (R) v Diane Pappas (D)
• Jerry Long (R) v Lance Yednock (D)
• Sheri Jesiel (R) v Joyce Mason (D)
• Peter Roskam (R) v Sean Casten (D)
• Randy Hultgren (R) v Lauren Underwood (D)
It’s time for Illinois Republicans to recognize that their failed record for Illinois families is the problem. As Des Plaines Democratic State Representative Marty Moylan said:
“Mike Madigan is not the problem that we have in the state of Illinois. We have a leader. The governor is supposed to be the leader. Let him start leading and stop blaming Madigan for all of his problems.”
Voters Care About Action, Not Talk
Attempts to distract voters from the issues with campaign ads portraying opponents as “puppets” of Speaker Madigan not only tried to smear each opponent’s character, but also encouraged hateful rhetoric. One ad sounded a disturbing dog-whistle for discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Most notably, voters listed Speaker Madigan dead last among important issues for the next Governor in an October tracking poll.
While the GOP wasted time on cheap attacks, they ignored long-standing advice from political scientists, strategists and candidates from both sides of the political aisle: voters care about “pocketbook issues.”
“It’s focusing on local issues, not distancing or anything strategic like that but more so focusing on issues people care about.” … “Voters have a unique ability to cut through the clutter and focus on issues that actually have an impact on their daily lives,” - Jesse Hunt, spokesperson for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.
“But the bottom line is people are worried about getting their kids through college, making ends meet, and keeping their family running. Those are the things that they focus on.” - Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina (D)
Madigan’s Record of Results for Illinois
The GOP’s attempt to attach their opponents to Speaker Madigan backfired for multiple reasons. Most importantly because Speaker Madigan is a champion of smart economic and social policies that protect Illinois residents, workers and families.
The GOP attacks against Democrats with ties to Speaker Madigan underestimated Illinois voters who understand that Speaker Madigan’s Democratic leadership has provided real, tangible economic benefits to the people and families of this state.
Illinois Democrats Will Tackle the Real Issues
Voting is a directly personal matter. A typical voter isn’t swayed by smear tactics or petty attempts to mischaracterize candidates. Instead, they want to know that the candidate who earns their vote will work to push forward the policies that directly and positively impact their lives.
Now that the elections are over, Speaker Michael Madigan, as the leader of the Democratic Party of Illinois, will continue to work with his colleagues to tackle the real issues.
Democrats in Illinois are united and ready to work together to advance policies that better the daily lives of all Illinoisans. Speaker Madigan has pledged to continue his work prioritizing policies that protect women’s rights, create a safer work environment for all, strengthen the economy, and create a fairer tax system that can work for all Illinois families.
The GOP attacks were a desperate, out of touch attempts to fracture the party and underestimate voters. They failed. Speaker Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois are ready to move forward and continue to make Illinois a better place to live.
Like I said earlier, I think where the Madigan attacks failed was also where the races were so thoroughly nationalized against DC that they fell by the wayside.
@TominChicago, Madigan’s more or less taken all the vitriol thrown at him for 4 years with (virtually) NO push back, likely because engaging in the debate doesn’t help him or the party win elections (IMO). Let him have a minute to defend himself and enjoy the fact the guy who smeared him for 4 years is gone. Bruce made this fairly personal.
Really TominChicago? Rauner spends $50 million over last 5 years trashing the Speaker and hes not entitled to a little gloating? Nice try.
The ILGOP message since about 2006 has been “Fire Madigan” Every single Democrat candidate in Illinois was labeled a Madigan puppet; and most still won. The ILGOP must come up with a new message right after they find a new billionaire patron and fight a nasty civil war between Proft/Ives and whatever is left of the establishment. This should all work itself out just fine.
Speaker Madigan is right. People have real issues they want addressed and the ILGOP is focused on Madigan. The dems run on a platform that will help all while the ILGOP runs on a platform to divide and only help the rich or certain groups of people they like. Rauner was out of touch to the everyday lives of the avg voter.
People have real issues and Rauner and the ILGOP could only talk of Madigan, term limits, property tax freeze, and RTW. The average person has a lot more things they want to change than term limits. Property tax freeze isn’t fixing anything. You’re just freezing the problem without correcting anything. JB ran on a platform to fix the property tax issue and not just freezing it. The problem is Rauner and the ILGOP don’t want to pay there fair share in income tax and made up lame excuses of why they shouldn’t.
The Guv has done some really terrible things to this state and it’s citizens. And it is not only what he did, but how he did it. He beat a steady drumbeat if hyperbolic personal attacks for 4 straight years.
Many of us on this blog have very strong negative feelings towards the Guv. And none of us were personally attacked by the man.
So imagine how MJM must feel right now? This isn’t some gaudy touchdown dance. It’s merely pointing to the game film and the scoreboard.
And last night during her speech Suzanna definitely revelled in hitting the Guv hard.
He’s certainly earned it.
- Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 3:16 pm:
I don’t mind the spiking the football.
But I hope Madigan doesn’t really believe that the reason republicans lost is because they chose the strategy of blaming him, and that voters actually like what he does.
Lot’s of pent up anger there. I can’t say that I blame Madigan. He remained largely silent for the last few years and after the results of last night its hard to fault the approach he took. I do however think that this is an opportunity for the Democrats to reflect on the future of the party. There’s a lot of tough work ahead and having somebody else take the lead on what needs to be done over the next decade or so would not be a bad thing.
“Speaker Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois are champions of smart economic and social policies that better the lives of Illinoisans and create a state that works for all of us.”
Gee, I almost forgot amid all the self-congratulations by Madigan that state government Illinois is a bankrupt dumpster fire that is failing the people of Illinois. He must really be smarting from the criticism to put out a statement like that under the name of the state party, which really is him.
I believe the majority of Dem voters in this state are content with Mike Madigan. He is successful at pushing the Democrats’ agenda. This memo is spot on, the IL GOP ran a terrible campaign against Mike Madigan. It just doesn’t work when most people are fine with him in office.
too long form to be a good spike of the ball. that said, I detested that marriage ad with Pritzker and Madigan so I’m happy to see that it gets tossed back in the face of the makers. the homophobia dog whistle shows how the Republicans are actually taking in the worst sensibilities of the Trump leadership of their party.
Not quite the right tone for the moment, but understandable. Needs to be followed up with reaching across the aisle. As said by others earlier, the GOP needs to be involved in government and cannot be allowed to retreat to the “party of no”. Not only for the good of Illinois, but for self interest by Dems, who do not want to own the entirety of the decisions needed now.
“I would caution to read these election results as a vindication of th Speaker, or his ways.”
I would read these election results as a COMPARISON of his ways to Rauner’s ways.
- Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 4:01 pm:
Correlation does not equal causation. The Speaker still has a 19% approval rating statewide. As Rich pointed out, I think the victories had a lot more to do with national tailwinds and the toxic Republican brand in the metropolitan/ changing suburbs than anything else. (Not to mention the ungodly amounts of money. $1 million for a state rep race? Really?)
That being said… this really should be the end of the “Because Madigan” GOP one-note strategy. If they want to get back to winning elections they’re going to have offer some substance and actual alternative policy ideas.
Not helpful, and actually harmful. From a concerned Dem, I believe Madigan should spend his time working on a succession plan to bring up new leadership, not this self serving stuff. The party needs to evolve, and fast.
- Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 4:14 pm:
===I believe Madigan should spend his time working on a succession plan to bring up new leadership===
The bench is deep. There are several young, competent leaders in the House…and in the Senate too. The next generation of Dem leadership is going to be great. I won’t name names because I’ll inadvertently leave someone deserving off the list, but again, there won’t be an issue there.
>He remained largely silent for the last few years and after the results of last night its hard to fault the approach he took.
I fault it. I fault the lack of counter-messaging against Rauner while higher education and social services were being decimated until Mendoza finally took up the baton. I acknowledge he overcame and achieved a lot last night.
==I just wonder if him, the voters, his caucus, or his party truly believe what he is stating here.==
Not this dem. Madigan is a phony, and his new-found supermajority owes more to an overwhelming majority of D voters in the state than it does to his supposed electoral wizardry. He’ll do what he’s always done - block any idea that doesn’t explicitly help him keep the house majority. He’s shown in the past that he’s more than willing to let all of the other dems in Illinois fail, as long as it suits his purposes. Starting today, Pritzker should be actively working with the more liberal members of the House (like Cassidy) to push this bum into retirement. Otherwise, it’s gonna be 40 more years of “well, it’s a popular with voters but the Speaker stuck the bill in rules committee so it’s dead now”
- WaitingForTheTruck - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 4:29 pm:
=== The Speaker still has a 19% approval rating statewide. ===
And only something like 17 percent of Americans believe in aliens.
I would not recommend you spend the election ranting against alien conspiracy theories.
When you spend 3 years ranting about Madigan tova voter whose #1 concern is health care, they don’t just ignore you like they would 5-7 mail pieces in an election.
They become convinced that you are out-of-touch. Because you are out-of-touch.
Imagine going to the pharmacist counter at Walgreens to askca question about your prescription, and instead of answering your question the pharmacist lectures you for ten minutes about yesterday’s Bears game and what is wrong with their offense.
Also, you could read this as an endzone dance.
Or, you could read “Interested Parties” to mean “Mssrs. Durkin, Brady, Ricketts, Uhlein, Tillman and Dold.” In other words, a polite yet firm suggestion they drop these particular antics/tactics.
Any chance that Madigan is starting to think about leaving? If he were to set upon his departure plan now he could go out a winner with no one able to (credibly) say that they forced Madigan out.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 5:39 pm:
No one seems to think Madigan would leave until he adopts a new map. I don’t know about that.
I do believe that Madigan is sincere when he said that he wanted to make Springfield and Illinois politics more welcoming to women. And I do believe Madigan when he said that he feels some responsibility for the state’s fiscal problems.
And I don’t believe that Madigan will leave until he feels he has addressed those issues.
Also, there is the whole legacy issue. He isn’t just gonna throw his keys on the desk and head home one last time. He will want a succession plan in place, for the House and the Party and the 13th Ward.
Has anybody got a list of the blow hard Dan Proft winners?
- Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Nov 7, 18 @ 6:01 pm:
The problem with the GOP focus on Madigan is that his name does not appear on the ballot for about 92% of the voters. Millions wasted to get voters to take out someone who was not on the ballot. Time for a new tactic.
I can understand the endzone dance. He’s taken continuous abuse for 4 years and has not responded in kind. It took lots of deep breaths to maintain that steady temperament. He stuck with that game plan and it won the game.
== I missed the part of constitutionally reforming the public pension system. ==
I believe MJM did pass the constitutional Tier 2. And the unconstitutional SB-1.
And there is nothing to stop MJM from passing the previously proposed Tier 3 / 401K. But here’s the nasty truth about that proposed change:
1) Tier 2 is, literally, free to the state / State taxpayers (with the exception of at about 50% of school districts that pay the employee contribution due to contract negotiations)
2) Tier 3 will cost the State money, a lot of money. The State can’t skimp on the employer match. And the State will likely (under the proposed bills I’ve seen) have to start paying into SS for all the teachers … and the Feds don’t let you skip.those payments either. Now the State could play games and force teacher SS payments on the local school districts, but they will use either State money or local property tax money to pay it … so the taxpayers pays one way or the other.
3) This is the big one; it won’t erase the existing ~$150B pension debt that is owed.
So sure, if you want to pay even more to the pensions, just go ahead and “reform” them.
“He’s taken continuous abuse for 4 years and has not responded in kind.”
I agree. I can see where I would want to do the same if my name and reputation had continually been attacked (bright side the whole state knows what the Speaker looks like now - can someone test that theory, please?). I won’t disagree with all of the criticism. Maybe the statement could have been a little more forward thinking. However as James said and everyone knows, the Speaker plays it cool. If I knew the guy that hated me most was kind of a hothead, and you knew he would likely read this, yeah, it would be tempting. Who knew the Speaker could slam dunk?
I like the part where the guy says it was pocketbook issues. The pain is coming for Illinois pocket books. And it will still be about pocket books next time.
- Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 8:04 am:
The Republicans tried to nationalize Madigan in US House races. Republicans tried to scapegoat Madigan for every problem, and it backfired bigly.
We are so much more complex than just blaming Madigan. We said on Tuesday that we want a progressive income tax, marijuana legalization, a check on Trump, adequate funding for schools and social services, better climate protection, expanded health insurance, criminal justice reform, etc.
Blaming Madigan as a strategy is just a smokescreen to cover up policies that many in this state reject.
To quote Spiderman’s Uncle Ben: With great power comes great responsibility. So let’s see what JB, MJM and the Dems do with the power. I’m hoping for great things. Really.
- NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:53 am:
“Democrats in Illinois are united and ready to work together to advance policies that better the daily lives of all Illinoisans” So where have they been the last two decades as this state has crashed and burned. I know many of the readers here don’t want to admit this but it is a fact. And the one common factor in leadership all that time, yes that’s right Mr. Madigan. But kudos to the Democratics for being able to slither away from their culpability in this mess. I certainly do hope they are sincere about fixing things. They are best suited to do this since they created most of this mess.