If you had any doubt that the North Side of Chicago was the political center of gravity in Illinois, just look at the new legislative map drawn by Democrats in Springfield. Nearly a dozen Senate districts radiate from the state’s liberal heartland to share the wealth of Democratic voters among as many lucky politicians as possible.
The Cook County Democratic Party has exercised complete control over Illinois ever since Rod Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002, and this map will help them extend that run for another decade. The map is regionalism and partisanship taken to extremes, and it’s only good for Illinois if you think the party that led the state into insolvency deserves a lock on the General Assembly.
One-party rule is usually bad. We need Democrats to prevent Republicans from starting wars and eliminating income taxes on the wealthy. We need Republicans to prevent Democrats from buying votes with public entitlements and allowing labor unions to dictate the terms of public employee contracts. Both parties have bad habits that can only be curbed by a strong opposition. There is no opposition to the Democratic Party in Illinois, which is why we have a $13 billion deficit and the nation’s most underfunded pension system, at 51 percent.
The map also concentrates too much power in Cook County, using it as a hub for legislative districts that reach deep into the suburbs, but are designed to elect Chicago Democrats. There are 101 other counties in the state, but none of them are the home of House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Gov. Pat Quinn or state Sen. Kwame Raoul, who chairs the map-making committee. Just because Quinn won the governorship with the support of only two Downstate counties doesn’t mean he should sign off on a map that drains as many votes as possible into Lake Michigan.
The Republicans, of course, are also at fault for allow this unbalanced situation to persist. They nominated a candidate for governor who fantasized that he lived in a Red State that shared his hostility to abortion, homosexuality and income taxes, then woke up on the morning after the election to discover he actually lived in Illinois. This new map may actually give Bill Brady a chance to win in 2014. After another three-and-a-half years of Democratic rule, Illinois will be ready to elect any Republican to the governorship.
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