LIBERTYVILLE - A precinct committeeman from the northern suburbs has concerns about the future of the state of Illinois and the Illinois Republican Party, and has tried to get the message to the governor's office. He hopes a public letter will draw the governor's attention to crucial issues at hand:
From: Grant D. Noble, Republican Precinct Committeeman, Libertyville 201
To: Governor's Chief of Staff Rich Goldberg
Dear Chief of Staff Goldberg,
Last year I wrote Governor Rauner but it was returned unanswered as “too political”. So I'm hoping you will consider the following as you advise the Governor. Last year I worked in battleground State Rep districts in several counties. I'm delighted the Governor can now sustain his vetoes without a single Democrat vote. But that was the only bright spot in a bad year for Illinois Republicans.
Illinois Republicans gained 3.38% in the state legislature but that compares to Republican gains of 12% in the Iowa Senate, 18% in the Kentucky House and 9% in the Minnesota Senate. In the Illinois Comptroller race, where the contrast couldn't be more favorable for Republicans, Leslie Munger lost by 5% to Susan Mendoza---the opposite result of the 2014 Governor's race. After tens of millions spent to help Republicans, raised in large part due to Governor Rauner's generosity, this has to be disappointing.
To some extent, this was the result of the new same day registration law that enabled Democrats to overwhelm election day officials with “voters“ who are often illegal. It is also due to people leaving our state, most of which would be inclined to vote Republican. The Census Bureau says that in just one year from July 2015 to July 2016, 114,144 left Illinois. It is safe to say that most of Governor Rauner's margin of victory of 142,284 will have moved by the time we get to November 2018.
So even if opinion polls showing the Governor running below 40% approval are exaggerated and, unlike 2016, a big spending blitz can bring back everyone who voted for the Governor in 2014, he'd still end up losing because the Republican base has shrunk while the Democrat base has increased.
Bruce Rauner has nothing to lose by changing tactics that have not worked well the last two years.
The first thing Governor Rauner must recognize is that he, along with many other Illinois Republicans, made a major mistake in not supporting Donald Trump. Many Republicans, like myself, had severe problems with President Trump, but decided to support him because the alternative was unthinkable and Trump had shown, by repeated promises and by selecting Vice-President Pence, that he might nominate a Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the biggest issue in last year's election.
Those that backed Trump, like Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, did surprisingly well. Those who did not, like Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte and Joe Heck, underperformed badly. Governor Bevin went from 33% (Rauner is at 34% in Morning Consult polling) to 45% approval with a 18% Republican increase in the Kentucky House---largely due to Trump being strongly backed by every major Kentucky Republican..
The 2016 Detroit recount showed 37% of precincts with too many votes---Pence's voting commission is badly needed. Illegal aliens, felons, the dead, double voting, the mentality incompetent in nursing homes---the usual Democrat vote fraud will be enhanced with same day registration. Ending Chicago's and other Illinois municipalities' “Sanctuary City” policy would do more to reelect Bruce Rauner than all the ads he could buy. Trump's plans for inner city schools, jobs and crime should also be embraced.
Governor Rauner must also understand he can not “compromise” with legislative leaders that want the same tax and spend policies that defeated his 2014 opponent. He should instead be inspired by Governor Walker who, like Trump, never backed down despite ferocious opposition. Both proved media bias and union money can be beat using the Internet and grass roots organizing.
The Illinois Policy Institute has a great plan on how this state can meet all its obligations and balance the budget without raising taxes. https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/budget-solutions-2018-balancing-the-state-budget-without-tax-hikes/ I would also add more asset sales (like the Tollway) to the Governor's proposal to sell the Thompson Center. These sales should fund final lump sum payments for pension obligations, saving the state billions and getting more votes from relieved state workers.
Like the Governor, I support term limits and saving 200 million reforming Workers' Compensation. But these are minor issues that don't shift many votes. If Rauner takes on the special interests as the Illinois Policy Institute proposes, they will howl. But by using the communication tactics of Walker and Trump, the average voter will understand most of the pain will hit only a privileged few. I hate to say it, but Trump's post convention speeches were far more specific and inspiring than anything I've heard in 4 years of speech making by the Governor. Others have noticed this, too, such as an Illinois Review article entitled: “RAUNER DELIVERS ANOTHER "RINSE AND REPEAT" BUDGET ADDRESS”
Finally, the governor must understand he has an enormous problem with religious conservatives. As State Representative Terri Bryant explained at the 2016 Peoria Convention (where 90% of the delegates opposed adding gay marriage to our party's platform), it's the Republican platform on religious freedom that causes many to vote Republican instead of Democrat to appease union bosses and neighbors. Trump won by defending religious freedom, but on this issue, Bruce Rauner has a tin ear.
SB1564 requires every doctor, pharmacist and pro-life pregnancy center in the state to help a woman obtain an abortion whenever asked. The Governor signed this bill despite its passage without a single Republican vote and after thousands called and begged him to veto it. Now Rauner faces the probable passage of HB40, which mandates unlimited taxpayer funding for abortion on demand. The last thing Illinois needs is to spend tens of millions it doesn't have on more abortions. If the Governor signs this bill and alienates both social and fiscal conservatives, his reelection chances become virtually nil.
Jim Walder owns Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton. He was fined more than $80,000 by Illinois Human Rights Commission appointees of Governor Rauner for politely refusing to host a reception for a gay civil union ceremony. Conservative churches feel their “businesses” like schools and organizations are next on the IHRC hit list. No wonder all three Republican state representatives who voted for Gay Marriage in 2013 are out of politics after near defeats in the primary.
Our party depends on a coalition of fiscal and religious conservative plus what use to be called Reagan Democrats who are now Trump Democrats. If Governor Rauner gives in to the Illinois Senate leaders' big tax increases, he'll have alienated all three parts of our winning coalition. The Governor must rethink how to sell fiscal conservatism and take steps to bring back the other two parts of our party. If a very flawed Donald Trump could do that, there's certainly time for Bruce Rauner to do the same.
Grant D. Noble, Republican Precinct Committeeman, Libertyville 201