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Politics ain’t beanbag

Photo: PV Bella

”Tonight, J.B. Pritzker won the Republican primary for governor here in Illinois. He spent a historic amount of money to pick his own Republican opponent in the general election,” Irvin said. (Richard Irwin/Chicago Tribune)

Aw, poor baby. Finley Peter Dunne coined the phrase, “Politics ain’t beanbag.” By the way, Ken Griffin spent a “historic” amount of money funding Richard Irvin’s losing campaign. Irvin never realized his campaign was a loser from day one.

The word campaign came from from warfare. Political campaigns are warfare. Politicians and political parties have been interfering in their opposition’s campaigns for decades. They conduct intelligence operations, use spies, and a host of other warlike activities. There is no fair in war. There is only winning. Sometimes “winning ugly,” like the long-ago Chicago White Sox slogan.

Governor J.B. Pritzker chose his opponent. Bailey owes him a debt of gratitude. Bailey was not gracious in his acceptance speech. He did not thank Pritzker for his win. He will not be grateful for his loss.

Politics is a dirty business. However, governing should not be. Once the campaigns are over, governing should take priority. Unfortunately, most winners immediately campaign for the next election, governing be damned. The perpetual campaigning hurt Illinois and Chicago for decades.

Richard Irwin and Darren Bailey are not students of political history. The Pritzker family has been involved in Chicago and Illinois politics going back over a century. They know how to play the game. Darren Bailey is a neophyte politician. Darren Bailey does not know enough about his new opponent, J.B. Pritzker, or his political acumen. In warfare, it is wise to know as much about the enemy as possible.

All is fair in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois politics. If Pritzker prodded voters away from Irvin to Bailey, so what? Politics, like warfare, is a dirty game. It always has been. If campaigns follow the law, there is nothing improper. There is no ethics in political campaigns. The strong survive and the weak go home to lick their wounds.

Bailey is going to be bulldozed then steamrolled by Pritzker. Bailey does not know about Illinois, except for the small area he represents. He courted and was endorsed by Donald Trump. That may play well where he lives, but not where it counts, north of I-80. Bailey does not know the geopolitical map which determines political math. The math is against him.

There are too many moderate Republicans in the suburbs and collar counties, especially women, who are occasional swing voters. Add all the Democrats in Chicago and Cook County and his campaign goes down in flames.

Most of the big money people in Illinois politics- for both parties- are a savvy and sophisticated bunch. They contribute based on their business interests. Some contribute, like corporations, equally to both parties. Few wade into the raw sewage of the culture/religious wars where Bailey plays.

Illinois politics is about business because politics in Illinois is business. It is a big business. The political class- the career politicians, donors, and the predatory consultants from both parties are attuned to that. The Democrats and Republicans may disagree on many issues, but they have a cozy working relationship when it benefits both.

Darren Bailey can pat himself on the back all he wants. He is heading into the woodchipper in his run for the governor’s mansion. He will be recycled as mulch.

See my pal, Tony Fitzpatrick’s eloquent take on this.

Published inUncategorized