So, we vote and dine today for the primaries. In an off-year. Which means that not a lot of people are going to vote. And, compared to the amount of newbies that came out last year (my family being among them), there’s just not that much excitement in Illinois for this mid-winter fest of golf claps. Yet…
The Senate race should be exciting. It just isn’t. The forerunner for the Democrats is a pretty golden boy who played ball professionally in Europe and played with Obama during his campaign (and put considerable financial backing into the campaign as well). And he’s money. And connected. And his family bank is going down in a blaze of Untouchables-meet-Goldmann Sachs glory.
Considering all the other scandals Illinois has had to put up with (or, rather, allowed itself to be thrust in the middle of. It’s like an abusive relationship), we should know better than to allow this charmer, Alexi Gionnoulias, such a prestigious seat. Trouble with his two opposing front-runners (neither of which seems to be close) is that neither seems to be close.
First there’s the reformer, David Hoffman. Chicago’s independent General Inspector, he blew the whistle on the privatization of our parking meters when Daley and his minions were running around town saying what a great deal the city got and praize hizzoner and all that other bullspittle. Hoffman managed to get out (much to da Mayor’s ire) that the city lost billions of dollars, not the other way around.
Good news is that in a state full of crooks, Hoffman is Elliot Ness. Or so I’ve heard. Which would be the bestest ever… if he were running for governor. That office could use some cleaning up. But the senate seat? We don’t need Mr. Deeds to go to Washington this year. We need someone to fight for working class and middle class families. We don’t need to fight off graff (well, maybe a little. Thanks for the extra help, SCOTUS). We need someone to knock some sense into those whose stonewalling tactics are based against the common man/woman/child and for @$$es like these guys.
Cheryle Jackson has done PR for Chicago Public Radio (home of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and “This American Life” among other fine shows) and was most recently the head of the Chicago Urban League. Which means that she knows poor and working class realities and struggles (and has fought for them), but also has an “in” with upper-middle class audiences and sensibilities. Being a woman and a minority also means that she can speak for groups that are not being nearly adequately represented, certainly not if she’s not elected (Obama’s old seat is the only one in the Senate since the Reconstruction that has been filled with an African-American, starting with Carol Moseley Braun). However, she also did PR for ElvisGovernor. Which, for most people – combined with her being out of the pocket and not well-known outside of Chicago (if indeed inside Chicago) means that nobody’s backing her horse.
Which, to me, is thoroughly unfortunate and rather stupid. Why worry about one of Blago’s mouthpieces (who left before Blago’s second term, btw), but instead put in what could well be Blago 2.0? It’s not the name, but the patterns we should be worrying about.
Today, I’ll be voting for Cheryle. If Hoffman gets the win instead and if the vote is close, I may end up voting for him in the general election. If Jackson gets the nod, I will vote for her barring a complete moral failure on her part. Hell, I’ll campaign for her. However, if Alexi gets the approval of Democrats in this more-or-less fine state, that’s it, I’m voting Green. We don’t deserve to win this seat. Might as well give it to the Republicans than allow the same machines to run their dirty mechanisms.
Also, if you need a little help, Evoter is a useful tool.