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Baise warns Republicans: “Democrats start out with a natural advantage in this state”

Monday, Dec 3, 2018

* WCIA’s Mark Maxwell

“Rauner turning his back on the entire organized labor community hurt. There is no doubt about it,” said Greg Baise, the recently retired head of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association after 27 years at its helm.

“Illinois has a deep strain of trade unionism that goes back throughout the entire state, not just in the Chicagoland area. You need to understand that,” Baise opined, though at times, the political positions supported by members of his own group were directly opposed by organized labor.

“Many in the labor movement are Republican,” Baise said. “They have conservative values on social issues. They are pro-gun. So many of those folks naturally vote Republican. You cannot turn your back on them and you can’t say I’m going to attack the core values that you as somebody in organized labor wants to reflect.” […]

“As a politician in Illinois, to win, you have got to put these coalitions together to be able to get enough people to vote, because Democrats start out with a natural advantage in this state.

All true, but Rauner is a “right to work” guy at his very core. The most popular Statehouse parlor game for the past four years has been “What if Rauner had tried pitting the trade unions against the public employee unions?”

Well, there was an attempt to get him to do just that during the 2014 primary cycle and Rauner rebuffed it. He only wanted to talk about how gutting collective bargaining rights and prevailing wage laws would be so much better for all unions, and that sent the trades running to the publics to form a coalition against him.

This is, however, a lesson for the future. While union leaders may not always endorse Republican candidates, those candidates can still win union members’ votes with the right pitch. Rauner had the right pitch in the fall of 2014 by greatly downplaying his anti-union beliefs against an incumbent despised by many public employee union members. But he could no longer hide the ball by 2018. It was crystal clear who he was. And that goes for all factions of the Democratic Party, not just the unions.

The full interview is worth a watch.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments »
  1. - Casual Observer - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    Baise was working with Jim Thompson when he got the AFL/CIO endorsement. Baise did understand the coalition building that either party has to do to be effective.


  2. - The Captain - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    This part caught my attention:

    If Rauner was too firmly opposed to organized labor in Baise’s estimation, and McCann was too closely aligned with them, then what flavor of conservative might business groups favor in a 2022 race?

    “I have not talked to Todd Ricketts about his future and what he thinks of that,” Baise said, whose group has been linked to a surge in money reportedly from Ricketts or his family.

    He brings up Ricketts seemingly unprompted. If that is the massive tell it appears to be I guess it confirms a lot of recent suspicions.


  3. - Skeptic - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    Any politician is unlikely to get my vote when he calls me “corrupt.”


  4. - Radio Rod - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    “Bumpstock Jerry” Long (the teamster) was beat by a union rep and labor erected signs all over the district that said “Jerry Long sold us out”.


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    –Rauner had the right pitch in the fall of 2014 by greatly downplaying his anti-union beliefs against an incumbent despised by many public employee union members.–

    Downplay ain’t the word. Rauner flat-out lied. Bald-faced lying became the one constant of his tenure.

    – “Pushing any specific labor regulation is not my priority at all,” he told Illinois Radio Network less than a month before voters went to the polls. Four months later, he unveiled the Turnaround Agenda.–


  6. - Little Changes - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    Baise is not wrong that Rauner’s obsession with attacking labor was a large part of his downfall. That said, I don’t really recall witnessing the IMA’s bullhorn for Labor-Business unity throughout the past four years. They did Rauner’s bidding time and time again, and never quite seemed to temper the wild contempt for government that Rauner promoted.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    The Decatur PowerPoint is the anti-Baise message here.

    I guess Mr. Ricketts doesn’t know where Oswego is or something. It could be the mail system or my email isn’t working correctly, and how many “Willy” named people are in Kendall, so…


  8. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    I guess to be fair to Rauner, if you really believe unions are keeping employers down, only targeting the public sector unions won’t really accomplish the goal.

    ==While union leaders may not always endorse Republican candidates, those candidates can still win union members’ votes with the right pitch.==

    It’s basically a question of- it’s always been a question of- whether or not union members vote like union members or vote like gun owners, church goers, etc.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:28 am:

    Hopefullly trades learn the Wisconsin lesson. First Scott Walker and the GOP came after public sector unions. Then they came after the trades. The people who fund and support the Scott Walkers of America want RTWFL for both.


  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:34 am:

    –“Many in the labor movement are Republican,” Baise said. “They have conservative values on social issues. They are pro-gun. So many of those folks naturally vote Republican. You cannot turn your back on them and you can’t say I’m going to attack the core values that you as somebody in organized labor wants to reflect.” […]–

    I think Baise puts way too much emphasis on this particular facet, given the election results featured in the other thread.

    Rauner’s 2018 vote was down only 61K — 3.3% — from 2014, even with McCann on the ballot.

    Meanwhile, Pritzker’s vote was up nearly 800K — 48% — from Quinn’s in 2014. That’s a lot, 800K, 48%.

    I don’t think a whole lot of that 800K were socially conservative, pro-gun union members.

    The fact is, Pritzker got more votes — 2.4 million — than any candidate for governor since the switch to mid-terms in 1978. No other candidate during that time broke 2 million.


  11. - SaulGoodman - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    **He brings up Ricketts seemingly unprompted. If that is the massive tell it appears to be I guess it confirms a lot of recent suspicions.**

    Nah… watch the video. Maxwell asks him about the Ricketts.


  12. - DarkHorse - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    Ricketts. Makes sense because the GOP donor base atrophied under Rauner, they need another oligarch to step in. Seeing that Ricketts joined Harold for her election eve fly-around, wouldn’t surprise me to see a Ricketts/Harold ticket in 2022.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    ===…wouldn’t surprise me to see a Ricketts/Harold ticket in 2022.===

    Please. For her sake. Stop touting Harold for anything floating above, maybe Congress, more like Illinois Statehouse or county-wide.

    Four years from now, she, today, without any wins, will have less governmental experience than Ole Slip and Sue, and would likely face a Pritzker ticket after another possible 2020 Blue Wave engulfing Illinois, thanks to Trump.

    Let Harold win… anything … before we put her a heartbeat away from being the governor of the 6th largest state in America.

    Harold is making state Senators Oberweis and (Senator-Elect today) Plummer look more savvy.


  14. - Chicagonk - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:21 pm:

    Republicans in Illinois are going to be hard pressed to make further gains while Trump is president.


  15. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    Republicans could win if they accept the reality that they have lost the culture wars. Nominate pro-choice candidates.

    They can be fiscal conservatives if thoughtful. Just shouting “Lower taxes” Won’t work


  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:52 pm:

    At the rate we are going in four years we won’t be the 6th largest state in America OW


  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    ===At the rate we are going in four years we won’t be the 6th largest state in America===

    Raunerism only continued the exodus…

    So there’s that.

    The voters rejected Rauner at a humiliating rate of 15 points, not even breaking 40%.

    The voters were done with Rauner.

    The exodus during Rauner’s term is on him, if we’re gonna go all “fault”. Governors own. The voters agreed.


  18. - Citizens Divided - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a leader of a dark money group called out and pressed on it like that before. Nothing wrong with making donations, but disclosure is key. Kudos to the kid for pushing Baise on that angle. We need more of that.


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    -At the rate we are going in four years we won’t be the 6th largest state in America OW-
    We might still be the fifth largest state. The mini censuses aren’t very accurate, and the difference between fifth and sixth is small. We’ll find out in a couple of years.


  20. - justacitizen - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 9:30 pm:

    ===after another possible 2020 Blue Wave engulfing Illinois, thanks to Trump.===

    IL (Chg) is a Blue Wave in any year-period.


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