* “David Faris is an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt”…
The popular belief that Rauner won because he’s rich, and the reality that he has already tossed over $50 million of his own money into his re-election race in the same way that normal people drop pennies into fountains, has led many state Democrats to think that you have to fight billions with billions. Rauner has unlimited cheddar, so goes this line of thinking, and therefore we need someone with unlimited cheddar to beat him. There is no other possible explanation for why political neophyte J.B. Pritzker is (supposedly) leading the Democratic race for the nomination, other than fear of Rauner’s riches and the fact that the Pritzker family name adorns roughly every third building in Chicago.
Here’s the reality: While the state faces some unique structural economic challenges that will be a drag on any Democrat, the party does not need a billionaire to win this year’s gubernatorial election. In fact, they probably just need someone with a pulse who isn’t a criminal or a serial sexual harasser.
* Faris goes on to push Daniel Biss…
Beyond Pritzker and the person regarded as his chief opponent, Chris Kennedy (and yes, he is that kind of Kennedy), there is a candidate who is getting overlooked but who might ultimately be the best choice: state Sen. Daniel Biss. A former University of Chicago math professor, Biss is now the default progressive darling in this race after Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar dropped out.
While he is somewhat unpolished on the stump, Biss boasts the most progressive platform of the remaining contenders, promising to do things that will put him on a collision course with the hated Democratic legislative machine, like enacting limits on how long one person can serve as the leader of the Illinois House or Senate. He wants to amend the state constitution to allow progressive taxation, eliminate tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy and publicly finance state elections. Biss also supports free community college and expanded investment in the state’s declining public universities, and opposes the kind of corporate tax giveaways embodied in Chicago’s plan to allow Amazon to keep its workers’ state income taxes should the company locate its second headquarters here.