Today is the day where I pull my hair out trying to make sense of the myriad contradictions in the patterns of what I assume are generally smartish people. I know I shouldn’t do this. It’s bad for my health. But I can’t help myself. Here we go.
There were a lot of ballot measures to vote for and they are quite telling of the dichotomy of how voters think and how voters feel. This election, I think, shows that Illinoisans’ thinking is pretty Democratic given the results of the ballot measures. But then they let their feelings get in the way and vote for Republicans who will invariably vote against any bill that comes up in support of the same ballot measures that voters overwhelmingly support. Why? This makes no sense.
Let’s take the Voter’s Rights Amendment as an example. It amends the Illinois Constitution to basically say that you can’t discriminate when signing up people to vote or against people actually voting. What it really boils down to, and was sold as, is an anti-voter ID law amendment. It passed overwhelmingly garnering 72% of the vote. This is a very solid Democratic amendment and hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise voted Republican voted in favor of it.
The list goes on. There was a measure to call for the increase of the minimum wage in Illinois to $10/hour. It passed with 67% of the vote. The measure calling for health insurance plans to cover birth control? It passed with 66% of the vote. The measure calling for incomes of over $1M to be taxed an extra 3% to cover school funding? Passed with 64% of the vote.
All of these measures are distinctly Democratic in nature. If I were to give you just the above information to go on, what would you think the results of the races would be? Did you say Democrats pretty much sweeping ultra-blue Illinois? Yeah, not so much.
Bruce Rauner, our new Republican Governor, won every county except Cook, which is still counting the votes and the only reason why Quinn hasn’t conceded yet. The U.S. House was fairly evenly split with a 10-8 Democratic/Republican split. Career Politician and Democrat Dick Durbin pretty handily beat Career Also-Ran Jim Oberweis. And, in State politics, Democrats still retain supermajorities in both the House and the Senate thanks to some legendary gerrymandering shenanigans.
It will be interesting to see what Rauner does when bills supporting the ballot initiatives cross his desk. He has claimed to be for raising the minimum wage, but with the huge caveat that it must be packaged with a plethora of “business friendly” attachments. I haven’t been able to find much information on how he stands with the others.
So yeah, Illinois is pretty weird politically. We seem to be a very blue state where state politics is concerned but we veer frighteningly rightward in our national politics. What ever could be the cause of such a dichotomy?