|Biss on Hitting Left|
It's election day in Illinois and in the governor's race, the choices are woeful. Like many on the left, I had hoped that Bernie Sanders' stunning performance here in his statewide 2016 race against Hillary Clinton, would have led to movement-backed, candidates (preferably not just rich, male and white). But the divisions in the progressive left and in the labor movement, the powerful hold of old Democratic machine politics, and fear of Republican Bruce Rauner's billions in this, the most expensive gov's race in history, left us where we are now on election day. We've got three traditional Democrats to choose from.
Let me say upfront that I early voted for State Sen. Daniel Biss in the Democratic primary. I say that unapologetically, even though I've been among the sharpest Biss critics ever since he and state Democrats engineered passage of an unconstitutional bill that would have slashed the pensions of public school teachers. But given the choices and the fact that Biss came on our radio show and was openly and sincerely self-critical about his vote and his "succumbing to the culture of Springfield", I gave him my vote.
A pol who feels our heat, responds to criticism and changes their position and their votes, is the best we can hope for. Much better, in my opinion, than campaign promises by born-again "progressives".
If you know me, you know I couldn't have voted for billionaire J.B. Pritzker (my god, he's got millions invested in the oil pipeline company we fought in Standing Rock) or for former U of I chief Trustee Chris Kennedy (reasons here. I even tried my best to defend him here, but...). Many liberals are still enamored with the Kennedy family name. Not me. And as an educator, I was repulsed by his attempt to destroy the careers of U of I faculty with whom he disagreed politically.
I also voted for or supported other progressives like: Chuy Garcia and Marie Newman for congress, Fritz Kaegi for county assessor in his run at machine boss Joe Berrios, Brandon Johnson for county board, Aaron Goldstein for AG, Delia Ramirez, and others in local races.
Yesterday on FB, my friend and announced 2019 mayoral candidate Troy LaRaviere, proclaimed his support for Kennedy for a reason that bewilders me.
I found myself going back and forth between two of the three frontrunners, unable to make a choice about whom to endorse. Then one morning, my partner, Margaret, said to me “Forget about endorsements for a minute…. If the election were today, which one would you vote for?”Now as we head into the final day of voting, with the Democratic governor's race tightening (only single digits separate Pritzker, Kennedy and Biss in the latest polls) and with no longer any guarantee that Democrats can come back together and defeat Rauner, I'm left with this thought.
Without a moment of hesitation, I said that name. Kennedy
Then she asked an even more important question: “Why?”
“Because I trust him.”
Politics is not about "trust". It's not a spectator sport where we vote and then hope to god that the Democrats we elect will do the right thing. They rarely do. And when they do, it's because we are there, as always, in the streets or on the picket line, ready to take them on when they don't.
Harold Washington told us that, the day after he was elected as the city's first black mayor.