Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Fight for change, but don’t succumb to cynicism in the meantime
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Fight for change, but don’t succumb to cynicism in the meantime

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is a common belief in Illinois

Last month, there were 39 Senate seats up for election, but only 18 had more than one candidate running. In the House, all 118 seats are up for election every two years, but only 64 were competitive.

One reason people don’t run is because they know the fix is in. The maps are rigged. The Illinois politicians are picking their voters.

I have long been on record as favoring independently drawn district maps. But if everyone listened to the pundits and just threw up their hands in disgust and walked away, a bunch of Republicans wouldn’t have won two years ago and lots of Democrats and a couple of Republicans wouldn’t have won this year.

Start with the Republicans this year. Rodney Davis’ 13th Congressional District and Mike Bost’s 12th CD were both drawn to favor Democrats. But they’re both still with us despite a national Democratic landslide.

Now, to some of the Democrats. Gov. Bruce Rauner won the 21st Senate District by 32 points four years ago. He won the 24th Senate District by 29 points. And he won the 29th by 13 points. Those three districts are all Republican suburban areas that the Democrats barely bothered with before now. This year Democratic candidates won all three districts.

Maps can be overcome with waves and with strong candidates running good campaigns, as happened with Downstate GOP candidates two years ago. This year, Democrat Mary Edly-Allen defeated GOP Rep. Helene Miller Walsh in the 51st House District by less than a point. But Rauner won it four years ago by 40 points and he won it this year by 12.

Strong waves can also obliterate maps. Democratic Rep.-elect Anne Stava-Murray reported raising just $3,000 in the third quarter, but she defeated GOP Rep. David Olsen by almost 2 points, just a point behind Pritzker’s margin. Rauner won that district by 23 points four years ago.

* So, again, while I truly do want to see an independent map-making process in this state, one never knows when lightning might strike and that’s why my hat is always off to the people who fully engage in the process rather than just glumly choose to sit on the sidelines because they “know” they can’t win.


  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 2:37 pm:

    No way that a 32-year-old Democratic black woman wins an outer-burbs/rural, nearly 90% white Congressional district that was “rigged” to be a safe GOP seat.

  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    The maps are pretty stale now, but yes, a wave and a strong plan for walking precincts can flip almost any district.

    And Word is right. Would not have believed Underwood could win, even knowing people who believed in her early, but look at her now!

  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 2:52 pm:

    – The maps are rigged.–

    Yes, that rigged map out in DuPage that resulted in Suzy Glowiak losing by nearly 21 percentage points four years ago, only to run again and win this time.

    Do the “reformers” want independent maps?
    Or do they prefer the attention that comes with fighting.

  4. - jim - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    The exception does not prove the rule.
    Waves don’t come around very often. What you call cynical is really and, unfortunately, being realistic.

  5. - A guy - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:18 pm:

    To be fair, there is something to be said for having to defend some seats with some of the cash that has been strictly spent on offense.

    Fair enough, those candidates won those seats, but in many cases the difference in money was as big a difference as anything else. The more competitive number of seats there are, the better government you’re going to get in my opinion.

  6. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    Well, this analysis of drawing maps certainly makes me feel somewhat better . . .

    But why do still I feel that a fairly drawn map would have made Ms. Underwood’s upset victory come out as a victory, and not as an upset victory.

  7. - Sideline Watcher - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    If as much energy was placed on getting people to 1) vote in every election and 2)understand how government works, we would have more competitive elections.

    Right now small numbers of people are making the decisions on representation for everyone. I would argue that the kind of government we have is more determined by the people who DON’T vote.

    All this cynicism is designed to one thing only…make people believe that it doesn’t matter anyway so why bother participating. Its not designed to inspire action…its designed to depress. The civic engagement in this country is shameful when compared to other democracies. The Democrats don’t seem to mind making it harder to get on the ballot to protect incumbents, and the Republicans want to make it harder for people they deem “other” to vote at all.

    But what gets all the noise? The map. Which frankly lets the citizenry off the hook.

    “Strong waves can also obliterate maps.” Only if you show up. Politicians across the spectrum respond when you show up.

  8. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    As soon as OH, TX, FL, GA, NC, TN, AZ, IN, WI… change how they draw district lines, I prefer Illinois’ current approach. There needs to be national agreement to adopt fair apportionment methods for state legislatures and the Congress.

    Otherwise, it’s unilateral disarmament for Illinois Democrats. I can see why goo-goo groups that get lots of $ from the wealthy and corporate interests advocate for it. Get paid, sit on the moral high-horse, and other people live with the consequences. Sweet gig.

  9. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    You can’t win if you don’t try. Or in politicaleze you can’t beat someone with no one.

  10. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    Yes, an intense wave can obliterate gerrymandering (though it’s not JUST gerrymandering - there’s the party’s structural advantages in financing, running dummy candidates, etc) and upsets can and do happen. But most of those happen in the handful of districts that can’t be “locked down” by gerrymandering. It’s asking a lot of people to likely sacrifice their time and money (and if they do business with government entities, maybe more?) given the forces that have been amassed against them.

  11. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    An example I often give, though not directly to Rich’s point about candidates. Some of us donated time and money to get signatures for a redistricting referendum. Leave aside whether there were flaws in those proposals: two times the Illinois Supreme Court was asked to rule on one of Kasper’s challenges: whether ANY referendum could change the state constitution to stop gerrymandering. Two times the Democrat majority on the Court refused to rule on it, saving that bullet in case a third attempt was made and they couldn’t find a legal flaw in it. Yes, people can spend even more time and money on the hope that the Court’s majority isn’t as beholden to their political enablers. Or they can spend the time and money on their kids. Maybe we should, but it’s an unfair ask.

  12. - Roman - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 6:25 pm:

    How does the BGA explain the countless uncontested races for school boards, city council seats, and other local government posts?

  13. - Been There - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 6:42 pm:

    ===I have long been on record as favoring independently drawn district maps.===
    I personally would like to go back to having three candidates per district. And you would think the GOP would be for that also. At least you can have a chance in a district that leans against your views.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 7:43 pm:

    ===I personally would like to go back to having three candidates per district===

    I don’t believe that could withstand constitutional scrutiny these days.

  15. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 8:58 pm:

    –Fair enough, those candidates won those seats, but in many cases the difference in money was as big a difference as anything else. The more competitive number of seats there are, the better government you’re going to get in my opinion.–

    Same districts:

    Guy, 28 point swing from 2016 to 2018 for Casten.

    Louis, 22 point swing from 2016 to 2918 for Underwood.

    Lake Forest Louis, the 10th was a swing district, forever. Schneider won by 32 points in 2018.

    What don’t you ding-dongs get? Great Big Mystery?

    Reap what you sow.

  16. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 7:28 am:

    Great mystery? What was “sowed” was Donald Trump, though Rauner didn’t help them any. The GOP made no effort to win the 10th - couldn’t even tell you who they ran against Schneider.

    Look, if gerrymandering wasn’t important, Madigan wouldn’t fight so hard to keep it. The GOP wouldn’t fight so hard to keep it in other places, to the point that they’ll try to undue citizen-passed initiatives. See Illinois Supreme Court example above for the lengths they’ll go. I’m guessing those who pretend to disagree get a paycheck from a political party, public worker union, or government entity.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Man arrested for threatening Rep. Keicher (Updated)
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Caption contest!
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* US Reps. Sean Casten, Chuy Garcia call on President Biden to drop out of race (Updated)
* How the CrowdStrike outage is affecting Illinois (updated)
* Abbott says he will resume migrant busing to Chicago ahead of DNC
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Selected press releases (Live updates)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

July 2024
June 2024
May 2024
April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller