Election 2012 is in the books and even this political junkie is happy. Of course the end of an election means a return to silly furniture store commercials on TV and flipping the radio station to avoid another Katy Perry song not a Super PAC ad notifying you that candidate X is the devil incarnate. However, it also means post-election analysis! And here is some well stewed analysis.
Thanks to Michael Madigan and his ability to get anything done (which makes you wonder why Illinois still has so many problems!) gerrymandered redistricting saw the loss of one of Illinois’ best Congresswomen in Judy Biggert. Yes, she is a Republican, but she was a centrist Republican, a rare breed! With her defeat, perhaps we should put them on the endangered list. This is not a knock on Rep. Foster, who should be an excellent Congressman, as he did rank higher on the AAUW women’s voting guide [PDF] than Biggert. I especially love that there is an actual scientist in the Congress too. But we do need to critique a system that has polarized politics through gerrymandering, which is supposed to help increase representation of racial minorities not protect parties.
Another gerrymandered win went to Tammy Duckworth, who was helped by the big foot that Joe Walsh likes to keep in his mouth. You would think with all the screaming he does, he would learn to keep his foot on the ground. Nevertheless, you have to admire him sticking to his absolute belief against abortion so much that he believes that women never die in childbirth. Perhaps with his free time he can read up on the rising maternal mortality rate in the USA which is 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to a low of 6.6 per 100,000 in 1987.
Illinois state races
A lot was made of “Team Rape,” aka Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and others like them losing big time on the national scale. Here in Illinois, Personal PAC won every Senate race they were engaged with. This includes Melinda Bush who beat out Joe Neal in the Grayslake area. The race was so close that Neal won the votes that were cast on election day, but early voting and provisional ballots pushed Bush into victory lane! Neal tried to play to the anti-abortion forces in the primary and suddenly became pro-choice for the general election. So remember this race when someone says early voting or provisional ballots aren’t a big deal.
One of the biggest winners of the election was the Latino community. After decades of the GOP painting us as cockroaches who sneak into the country to suck the USA dry through free healthcare and benefits, we turned out in force (again) at the ballot box (76% of Latinas voted for President Obama). Because of this, we see a shift in how political forces see us. Here in Illinois the proposal to allow undocumented residents to obtain drivers’ licenses was NOT greeted with GOP screeds, rather it has already passed a Senate subcommitte with only two opposing votes. Now that’s what I call a huge return on investment. The GOP is still trying to figure out their lady problem though. John McCain says they need to stop talking about abortion, yet Ohio tried to revive an anti-abortion bill, but one of their state leaders knew it was futile for many reasons. Speaker Boehner is allowing for an all-white men to be chairs of House committees. Which is puzzling. The GOP appears to value Latino voters…or think that they can win us over, yet do not seem to be budging when it comes to women voters. Which of course means that the GOP has zero concept of the fact that Latinas are both Latino voters and lady voters.
As we put to bed Election 2012 and sort out the changes it brought, we find ourselves staring at the fiscal cliff, the beginning of a Congressional election and of course peeking ahead to Election 2014, which should bring us a new Governor. Yes, I’m going to predict that Gov. Quinn will not run again or if he does, will be challenged by a heavy weight Dem. The only thing that is for sure with Illinois politics is that it is never boring.