Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Cracks, not breaks as Madigan buys some time
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Cracks, not breaks as Madigan buys some time

Monday, Aug 3, 2020

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The calls were mostly brief and to the point, recipients said. House Speaker Michael Madigan just wanted to know where his members stood last week after two of his members demanded that he step aside as House speaker and Democratic Party of Illinois chairman.

Did they agree with their fellow Democratic state representatives Terra Costa Howard and Stephanie Kifowit, he asked, that he should resign?

Enough said they did not agree that Madigan issued a statement hours later saying the feedback he received was positive and that he had “no plans to resign.”

The House Black Caucus, for one, appears to be mostly sticking with Madigan. That’s really no surprise. He’s been loyal to African American members for years — killing or altering bills they opposed, protecting their districts even after Chicago lost almost 200,000 African-Americans in the last census, etc.

But it goes deeper than that. Black legislators, like most Black people, all know someone who’s been falsely accused of a crime, be it family, friends or constituents. Most are strong backers of social justice reforms. Several told me it would be counter to what they stood for to turn on Madigan now. The same goes for many Latinx legislators. If those two caucuses ever turn on him, though, the party is over. And Madigan surely knows that.

Most “regular” and Downstate Democrats also appear to still be with Madigan. He’s been good to them as well, and the next speaker might be far more liberal than they’d prefer.

And then there’s organized labor, which has long supported Madigan, but then welded themselves to him during the Bruce Rauner years when the Republican governor was trying to kill them off. Labor is the largest source of campaign cash and precinct workers in the state. Cross the unions and you have few other places to turn to for help. Few Democrats will risk this.

Many of the House Democrats I spoke with last week made a “stability” argument. They complained that the people demanding that Madigan resign haven’t presented an alternative to Madigan.

Who, for instance, would handle the fundraising and the precinct work and everything else involved with winning elections this fall if Madigan suddenly departed? Who would lay the groundwork for the fall veto session? Creating a sudden void with no alternative just didn’t make sense to them at this moment, although that may very well change if any of his close associates are indicted, some admitted.

Black Caucus members with whom I spoke almost uniformly pointed to their own internal confusion and stagnation since May when their caucus chair Kimberly Lightford abruptly resigned. They and other Democrats also talked about the brutal infighting within the Senate Democratic caucus after Senate President John Cullerton unexpectedly retired last year. A Madigan departure would be 10, 20 or 50 times worse than any of that, they said, and they’re probably right.

In my conversations with Black Caucus members, I was told that they hadn’t received a single constituent phone call about Madigan since the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement was revealed. Their constituents, I was told, are totally focused on things like crime, unemployment benefits and navigating through everything else wrought by the pandemic. In other words, they’re preoccupied with life during particularly hard times and just don’t care about MJM.

I’m not trying to defend or justify any of this, by the way. I despise treating politics like a one-dimensional cartoon. There’s more going on than may meet the eye with a cursory glance at the headlines.

On the other side of the spectrum, first-term suburban women have their own issues to deal with.

Many of their constituents are indeed making angry calls about Madigan. The speaker’s money and talent may not be enough to save some of them in the face of all this scandal with ComEd and maybe other companies which have more recently been subpoenaed. And as I’ve told you before, the system Madigan built works only as long as his members believe he can protect them from their opponents. Once that confidence is gone, he serves no purpose.

More importantly, this situation is most definitely not why they signed up for a political run. A lot of these folks were activated after Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss. So, being connected in any way to an alleged bribery scheme likely makes their skin crawl.

It appears that Madigan has bought himself some time, for now. But if more people are charged and the feds get even closer to him, that may not turn out to be enough.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Responsa - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 9:20 am:

    No one in politics is indispensable. Hanging on too long by his fingernails is not doing his party or the state any favors.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 9:20 am:

    === In my conversations with Black Caucus members, I was told that they hadn’t received a single constituent phone call about Madigan since the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement was revealed. Their constituents, I was told, are totally focused on things like crime, unemployment benefits and navigating through everything else wrought by the pandemic. In other words, they’re preoccupied with life during particularly hard times and just don’t care about MJM.===

    That’s the headwind Raunerites are facing… again… but this time it’s literally life and death, with income, health, and residency far more important.

    Great read, Rich. This I particularly liked;

    ===I despise treating politics like a one-dimensional cartoon. There’s more going on than may meet the eye with a cursory glance at the headlines===

    There’s so much other things going on… than “because Madigan”


  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    “but this time it’s literally life and death”

    If Madigan gets indicted then let’s clamor deafeningly for his resignation or removal. But until then we have extraordinarily serious and unusual problems with which we must occupy our time and energy.


  4. - Arock - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    With the massive amount of money that he raked in in campaign contributions it is obvious that it definitely gets someone a return on their investment, the usual term is bribery. Those that have received the most favorable treatment by this corrupt speaker definitely do not want it to end.


  5. - Regular democrat - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    That was a well written article that really sums it up. Madigan went to the Daley school of buffers so maybe he doesn’t get indicted. Time will tell


  6. - Levois J - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    I respect the Speaker, it would be a free-for-all when someone with his institutional memory and experience departs. We’ll have to see where the fed’s investigations will go!


  7. - Nitemayor - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    If the Fed’s get McClain to flip, party’s over, turn out the lights. Game over. Downstate democrats become extinct.


  8. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    McClain won’t flip. The only leverage that House Dems. have is in electing the Speaker and as Rich pointed out in a column last week Madigan night not have the votes to get re elected and threats of revenge won’t work this time.


  9. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    If the Speaker stepped down right now - wouldn’t one of his closest supporters likely be chosen to follow him? Wouldn’t MJM make that choice in today’s environment? Wait for it to advance… there is likely more to come and it may impact who’s next.


  10. - Back to the Future - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    Agree with Regular Democrat that this was a well written article.
    I thought the other article in Crain’s was also well written. I like reading newspaper articles that help me think through this Madigan situation.


  11. - low level - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    Targets will keep hearing about it and people like Brad Stephens are very happy about the Speaker’s decision to stay.


  12. - Southwest Sider - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    Latinx

    I don’t like to be called that term.


  13. - Fighter of Foo - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    This is a great article. I really don’t think he resigns unless there is an indictment. Does anyone think Lisa stepping aside has anything to do with the investigations that were taking place?


  14. - Frank talks - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:23 pm:

    While Madigan may not have the votes- who does?
    Who has the institutional knowledge to move things forward?
    Who can get to 60?
    Looking at the roster I see no one cobbling those votes. Maybe Durkin will put his 20-30 on to someone? Foolish move but who knows.


  15. - low level - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:58 pm:

    “Who else would raise the money and run the campaigns”.

    Give me a break. There are no other Democrats in the IL House that know how to do this?


  16. - SandyC - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 11:37 pm:

    Everyone is replaceable, even Madigan. There are a number of representatives qualified and close enough to Madigan to take over. He’s highly intelligent, yes he is, but it’s time to breath fresh air, don’t you think? 🤷‍♀️


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Chairman Welch sends letters to potential witnesses, sets hearing date for September 29
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Update to today's edition
* Today's must-read
* Rate the new Dani Brzozowski TV ad
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Governor's office flatly denies CBS 2 rumor about high school sports
* Illinois has 8th worst unemployment recovery year over year, 6th worst recovery since January, 9th highest unemployment rate
* 2,120 new cases, 20 additional deaths, 1,481 people hospitalizations, 3.6 percent positivity rate, 24 counties reach warning level, Will/Kankakee off mitigation
* Open thread
* House investigative committee coverage roundup
* Question of the day
* Hang in there, Maggie!
* Pritzker to sit down with stakeholders after uproar over cannabis lottery process
* Rep. Mason claims she received a "rather threatening note" on her car
* Federal judge rules against Cook County GOP lawsuit to block new vote by mail program
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition and some campaign updates
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
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

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




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