The Democrats haven’t revealed their Congressional map yet, but from what we’ve heard, it’s going to be good for them, and bad for Illinois.
As usual, Illinois is losing a Congressman, and the map-makers in Springfield want to make sure a Republican ends up without a place to sit. They really want to eliminate one of state’s promising young Republicans, Aaron Schock or Adam Kinzinger. Schock is 29, and Kinzinger is 33. As junior members of the majority party in the House of Representatives, they both have an excellent chance of maturing into committee chairmen. If they’re more ambitious than that, they have a chance of maturing into senators or governors.
Either outcome, of course, would be a catastrophe for the people of Illinois. According to the Sun-Times, Democrats may extend the 2nd District, which is represented by Jesse Jackson Jr., into Kankakee County, thus forcing Kinzinger to run in a majority African-American district. Or, they may “try to draw Peoria-based Aaron Schock, Kankakee-based Kinzinger, and/or Quad Cities-based Bob Schilling into one district.”
There are now 11 Republicans and 8 Democrats in the state’s Congressional delegation. Democrats will attempt to use clever cartography to eliminate all five Republican freshmen: Bob Dold, Joe Walsh, Randy Hultgren, Kinzinger and Schilling. This will guarantee that Illinois has less influence in Congress, since Republicans are likely to hold onto a majority in the House at least until the end of President Obama’s second term. Thanks to the Republican Party’s big gains in 2010, most state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. They’ll be trying to eliminate Democrats in their states. Ohio Republicans are already trying to draw Rep. Dennis Kucinich out of existence.
While possibly eliminating promising young Republicans, the new map will protect the careers of Democratic political legacies Jackson and Dan Lipinski. Neither of those heirs has a future as anything but a second-string congressman.
Never again will one party dominates the House for generations, as the Democrats did for the 40 years from 1954 to 1994. Control of Congress will switch back and forth between parties, just as control of the White House does. When the Republicans controlled the House in the 1990s, Illinois was able to provide a speaker. We should be ready to provide one again, no matter which party is in power.