Illinois politicians fear democracy

Illinois politicians fear democracy

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
—-Winston Churchill

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois politicians like to extol the virtues of democracy but avoid practicing it as much as possible.

Look no further than the Illinois General Assembly, a fiefdom of political insiders determined to protect their political behinds. They do this by curbing political competition in any way possible.

President Barack Obama stood before his former colleagues last month and talked about politicians choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians.

He was talking about you, Mike Madigan.

House Speaker Madigan is the master of the dark art of drawing legislative districts.

public sector negociations

After each U.S. Census he carves up the Land of Lincoln like a Thanksgiving turkey.

It has resulted in Illinois having one of the lowest levels of competition for legislative seats in the nation.

At my request, Ballotpedia analyzed 2016 Illinois election filing data and found that in 67 percent of Illinois legislative districts the candidate, usually an incumbent, will run unopposed in November.

Yeah, you read that right. More than two-thirds of the time, voters have only one legislative candidate to “choose” from.

And that understates the extent of the problem. In the remaining one-third of districts, the opposition is usually nominal.

Why don’t candidates run?

Because they know that a person of their political party can’t win in the district where they live.

Political insiders like Madigan hav drawn almost every Illinois legislative district with this in mind.

A movement is afoot to amend the Illinois Constitution to have an independent commission, rather than political party bosses, draw legislative boundaries.

Not surprisingly, Party Boss Madigan is doing everything he can to thwart these efforts.

In 2014, Illinois ranked in the bottom 10 for political competitiveness, Tyler King, an analyst for Ballotpedia, said.

And much of that reason is that every decade legislative leaders stack the cards to favor their political party.

It’s a shameless display of contempt for voters.

In November, Illinois voters may have an opportunity to show their contempt for this political process that disenfranchises most Illinoisans from choosing their lawmakers. They are being asked to vote on creating an independent commission to draw legislative boundaries.

Even now, word has that Madigan or one of his allies may go to court to block voters from considering such a measure.

It would be just one more example of those in political power showing contempt for the voters.

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