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Jim Edgar: “For the Party to be able to win in Illinois statewide, we need to divorce ourselves from the Trump thing”

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020

* After revealing that he planned to vote for Joe Biden, former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar talked to several reporters about his decision. Turns out, this won’t be the first time he’ll cast a ballot for a Democratic presidential candidate. Bernie smoked him out

Edgar, who was a state representative and secretary of state before serving as governor from 1991-1999, has broken with his party previously. In 2016, he said he wouldn’t vote for Trump, but didn’t reveal his vote at the time.

Edgar said Monday that he had always voted for Republicans for president until 2016. Asked if he marked Democrat Hillary Clinton on his ballot, he said, “I think you could guess that, yeah.”

* Tribune

“I had hoped when he got elected, he’d kind of grow into the job. I think it’s been a very unfortunate four years — there’s a lot more turmoil than there needed to be. He doesn’t act like a president — his character is lacking. The presidents of the past, none of them have been perfect, but this is unusual,” Edgar said in a phone interview.

So is it a vote against Trump? Or do you like Biden? “It would have been hard for me to vote for Trump no matter who the Democrats would have” nominated, Edgar tells The Spin. “He never was around government. Some people like that. I think you need to understand the relationship between the federal government and the states. You have to watch what you say. What the president says really matters, and the president, it’s not in his DNA” to edit himself. “Do I agree with all his policies? No,” Edgar said of Biden. “But I do think he’s a decent guy and he’ll steer a moderate course.”

* Back to Bernie

“I have been very disappointed,” Edgar said. “We’ve had chaos for four years we didn’t need to have. I mean, there’s always going to be some turmoil, but he stirs it up. He bullies. You can’t believe what he says because he’ll do the different thing the next day. … He’s bungled the virus, there’s no doubt about that. He continued to stir up division in the country, (when) a president should be trying to bring people together. I mean, the list goes on and on.” […]

A spokesman for the state GOP did not respond to Edgar’s statements.

* Dave McKinney

“I think he bungled the pandemic thing. He undercuts our allies. I don’t understand his relationship with [Russian President Vladmir] Putin. The list goes on and on.

“But I think the biggest thing is his character. He’s a bully. He doesn’t tell the truth. Just all kinds of things,” said the former two-term governor from downstate Charleston who served between 1991 and 1999. […]

Edgar, who had high approval ratings that once topped out at 73%, said he understands how Trump’s message resonates among downstaters. But it is a losing ideology for Illinois Republicans, he said.

“All the downstaters are going to vote for Trump, but it’s not going to matter because they’re going to get out-voted by the suburbanites and Chicagoans,” Edgar said. “For the Party to be able to win in Illinois statewide, we need to divorce ourselves from the Trump thing.”

* Amanda Vinicky

“He has been more of a disappointment than I thought he would be four years ago, and I was definitely bummed out when he won four years ago. But I’m just – I think this country has suffered a lot that going to take a while to take care of.”

While Trump is popular in much of downstate Illinois, Edgar said the President hurts Republican candidates who run statewide, in the city of Chicago and in the suburbs.

“If Trump would lose in November, then I think the Republican Party in Illinois statewide has a better chance of coming back,” Edgar said. “Republican candidates have to answer everything Trump says and does. … It hurts them in the suburbs and in the city.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - AndyJD - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    As if a Trump loss would mean he’d disappear. He’ll continue to beat the “I was cheated” drum on Fox & OAN to their base.


  2. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    The Thompson/Edgar era republicans could win because they had a coalition that included the suburbs (and not just the collar ‘burbs) and downstate.

    Slowly over time, the burbs had begun to slip away. By the time Blago won, the cook county burbs (except the northwestern ones) were conceded, pretty much not even contested. Some of that is demographic but not all. Now we see the same pattern starting to assert itself in DuPage.

    And yes, appealing to downstate grievance is going to repel the suburbs.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Gov. Edgar is right. The ILGOP are getting shellacked in Chicago and suburbs, and are now losing in collar counties.

    It’s the Trump Party now. Any semblance of the GOP of the past is deceased. The main message is fear, fear, fear, not the optimism of Reagan that I recall, certainly not the opposition to autocrats or the reverence for American security and intel institutions that are now enemies of America to the right.


  4. - Cook County Thinker - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    Jim Edgar is going to vote for a Democrat for president two elections in a row. It’s hard to see how he can have much influence in the GOP. Political parties change demographics change the GOP is not the party it was 20 years ago.


  5. - Independent - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    I’m sure there are Republican officeholders throughout Illinois who agree with Edgar, at least privately. But if they verbalized their views they would get primaried out of office, especially Downstate. It’s a tricky situation for all but the Trumpiest Trumpers.


  6. - Boog Alou - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    I’m not sure what to think of Jim Edgar’s ability to move votes anymore. He hasn’t appeared on a ballot in over 25 years, and voters have astonishingly short memories. And yet, he still has this totem-like image in the media as the last successful Republican Governor. This isn’t good for Trump or ILGOP, of course, but they were already more or less doomed in IL this year anyway, so who can tell?


  7. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    ===As if a Trump loss would mean he’d disappear.===

    It’s times like these that I tend to dwell on the fact that the largest domestic terrorism attacks that have occurred in my life have been carried out by right wing groups and individuals inspired by those groups, and that was before we had a rebirth of literal Nazism under the auspices of the “alt-Right.”


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    === Jim Edgar is going to vote for a Democrat for president two elections in a row. It’s hard to see how he can have much influence in the GOP.===

    It’s the party of Trump.

    The platform for this party is a multi-paragraphed single sheet of paper stating…

    “Whatever Trump does, that’s what we stand for”

    That’s not a party, that’s a cult if personality where 57% of identified Trumpkins see 171,000 deaths from Covid-19 as acceptable.


  9. - don the legend - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    ==the GOP is not the party it was 20 years ago.==

    You got that right. It’s a super minority party with no state wide offices and only five congressmen. Shrinking would be a kind way to describe the Illinois GOP.


  10. - Wylie Coyote - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    Jim who?


  11. - cler dcn - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    To those who think Trump is responsible, or because of him he has caused the death of over 170,000. My question is what could he possibly have done to stop the number or even come close. He was ridiculed for travel ban to China and then breaks of infection in places generally out of his control. Jim Edgar is the armchair quarterback now and can sit back and make judgements. That said I agreed with him on Rauner so have to be careful. Although not the same situation.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    === My question is what could he possibly have done to stop the number or even come close.===

    When told 1,000 Americans a day were dying by Covid-19, President Trump said…

    “It is what it is”

    If you agree with that, and you think 171,000 deaths are acceptable, you are probably in the 57% Trumpkin and excuse Trump who also said…

    “I take no responsibility at all”

    Which is it?

    Trump takes no responsibility at all… or it is what it is?

    It can’t be both.


  13. - DuPage - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:25 am:

    The Republican party that had a large tent that included moderates has disappeared. Edgar stated what a lot of suburban people are thinking.


  14. - Joe Bidenopolous - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    ===As if a Trump loss would mean he’d disappear.===

    This. He’s not going away. He’s going to raise Cain for as long as he can. Then we’ll get Donnie Jr. running for President in 2024. It’s going to be a solid generation before they can excise Trumpism from the party, if they can ever do it, which right now is highly questionable.


  15. - Lt Guv - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    == My question is what could he possibly have done to stop the number or even come close. ==

    1) Wear a mask;
    2) Require all to wear a mask;
    3) National coordination of response, supply and logistics;
    4) Messaged that this is serious - not a hoax;
    5) Not lie about false cures;
    6) Not lie about false progress;
    7) Don’t deny this exists.

    You want more? I can keep going.


  16. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    - what could he possibly have done -

    Trump could have had his base wearing a mask 100% of the time and shaming those that don’t. He chose to ridicule them instead and now we have folks like Skillicorn and Bailey saying they’re harmful.


  17. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    The party I grew up with and worked for is dead. Perhaps parties themselves are a thing of past. Just rich self funded candidates for major offices and cult like factions fighting for crumbs. Edgar was no prize but sure thinks himself one. Who have the Republican run state wide? JBT last honest to god Republican politician. Allen Keyes the beginning of end. And as someone who likes politics I can not even tell you who the Republican running against Durbin is. Pathetic


  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    ===what could he possibly have done===

    You appear to think that no other country is doing a good job at this. Look around. Most other countries won’t let us in because we are one of the worst at handling this virus.

    Also, maybe get off Facebook before coming back here.


  19. - Father Ted - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    I have traditionally voted Republican (though not straight line by any means as I lean right fiscally and left socially) and Edgar’s comments directly mirror my own feelings about Trump.

    The state GOP has been a mess for a long time and the rise of Trumpism, in my opinion, has only made it worse.


  20. - Friendly Bob Adams - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    Never cared for Edgar. He made us non-union state workers buy tickets to his fundraiser a month before he announced he wasn’t running in 1998. Kept the money, of course.

    I don’t think he has any influence now, having been gone for 21 years. But I see that the goal is to get a lot of current and former GOP officeholders to endorse Biden, so his contribution to that effort is welcome.


  21. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    ===we need to divorce ourselves from the Trump thing===

    And hope we all get amnesia.

    Also, would this then count as Trump’s 4th divorce, and who gets custody of Rodney Davis?


  22. - Payback - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    “…he still has this totem-like image in the media as the last successful Republican Governor.” Agree 100% here. Edgar doesn’t live in Illinois half the time, but the local and national media fawns over Edgar as the all-wise Philosopher King, and go-to guy for opinions on Illinois politics.

    I helped get him elected when I was young and foolish, and I can’t see him as anything but a placeholder Republicrat from the good old (boy) days of the Republican party, when they let the suburban Repubs keep the senate, and handshake deals were made on golf courses. It’s over, so who cares what Edgar thinks about anything?


  23. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    === when they let the suburban Repubs keep the senate===

    .. ‘cept for that whole Republican map thingy, your (checks notes) “Republicrat” thought really hits all the John Kass thinking.

    Those “Republicrats” were Beaubien and Murphy, and Pedersen and Mulligan too… in the House.

    Purity of party is how the ILGOP devolved to Raunerites and Trumpkins


  24. - Pelonski - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Edgar isn’t relevant because he will sway current GOP voters. He is relevant because he represents what the GOP has given up over the past 20 years. Americans, in general, are pretty moderate. When you give up that faction of your party, it is hard to stay in the majority.


  25. - levivotedforjudy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    If he could have, I think Big Jim would have had sentiments and probably phrased it a lot like Edgar. But, could you imagine what Judy Baar Tompina would have to say (RIP). She didn’t hold back. And if you lump those 3 together, that was when the IL GOP was strong in the state. Can those days of those types of Republicans return?


  26. - Not a Billionaire - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    I disagree a little because I don’t think Trump will do well in some of the big downstate counties either


  27. - Bob - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    Anyone that cares about what Jim Edgar has to say is braindead. Do Nothing Edgar worked well with the Dems when he was in office, but not with his GOP running mates. All this RINO did now was water down the base and help kill off any down ballot races where the GOP was close or ahead. Jim Edgar blows!


  28. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    ===water down the base and help kill off any down ballot races where the GOP was close or ahead===

    1994. Look it up. Also, the Senate stayed in GOP hands for 10 years. The House had a problem.


  29. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    ===All this RINO did===

    Considering how badly you got thumped by Eddie Sullivan in the 2014 GOP primary, I’m thinking you got no legs to stand on here.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    === All this R _ _ _ did now was water down the base and help kill off any down ballot races where the GOP was close or ahead===

    LOL

    Edgar was so popular that members of both parties, in both chambers would, in off year for governor, would use him in their mail programs.

    The purity and religious like zealot thinking is what brought down the ILGOP, not Edgar.

    The foolish who think The Right were the better compasses for the party, it was in 1994… both chambers, all the statewides… Republican

    You can’t help those who are ignorant to institutional knowledge and the politics within it.


  31. - Proud Papa Bear - Tuesday, Aug 25, 20 @ 6:16 pm:

    In 2016, the only collar county Trump won was McHenry. In 2018, the GOP lost both of its Congressional reps (to Casten and Underwood).
    I just received a flyer on my doorstep for a GOP candidate who is running to replace McSweeney. His party affiliation was mentioned nowhere on the flyer. I doubt that was an accident.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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