Voters in Illinois will head to the polls this Tuesday. They should vote for Jeanne Ives in the Republican gubernatorial primary over the thoroughly disappointing incumbent governor Bruce Rauner, who has forfeited any claim on his party’s nod.
Rauner, a businessman with no prior experience in politics, vowed in 2014 to take on longtime House speaker Mike “Boss” Madigan and shepherd much-needed free-market reforms through the Democratic state legislature. With the exception of education reform, he has failed to deliver on his promises even after Republicans picked up enough seats in 2016 to sustain a veto. Rauner said he would cut the state income tax; after a long budget impasse, Republican and Democratic legislators overrode him to pass an income-tax hike. He said he would reform the pension system; he bailed it out under pressure, only to see the state’s credit rating downgraded anyway. He signed a bill into law that weakens immigration enforcement. Rauner inherited a bad situation, but since taking office he has mostly made it worse.
Rauner’s duplicity on the issue of abortion should be disqualifying to conservatives.
Failing to pass the fiscal reforms he promised wouldn’t alone justify his ouster in the primary. But Rauner’s duplicity on the issue of abortion should be disqualifying to conservatives. During the election, Rauner — who is pro-choice, had once donated to Planned Parenthood, and whose wife is an abortion-rights activist — insisted that he was merely running to fix the state’s coffers. He had, he said, “no social agenda.” When a bill to guarantee abortion as a right if the Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade and provide public money for abortions through all nine months of a woman’s pregnancy began circulating in the state legislature, Rauner said he would veto it. In September, he signed it into law. Pro-lifers who voted for Rauner put their trust in a man who is now forcing them to underwrite third-trimester abortions. His record is not just dreadful, but features a glaring lie.
Which is why Jeanne Ives, a state legislator, is a better alternative. Ives is an underdog and lacks Rauner’s resources, but she is both a superior candidate to the governor and a solid politician in her own right. One recent poll has her just 7 points behind Rauner. For his part, the governor is running far behind the likely Democratic nominee — J. B. Pritzker, a cat’s paw of Madigan — and has been unwilling to engage Ives in debate after an embarrassing showing in a joint appearance with her at the Chicago Tribune editorial office. Illinois Republicans should vote for Ives, the only conservative on the ballot.
Unless, that is, they live in the state’s third congressional district. There, Democrat Marie Newman is contesting the House seat currently held by Dan Lipinski. The congressman is one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats to hold national office; for this, many Democrats think he has to go. Newman has earned the support of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, progressive luminaries such as Bernie Sanders, and two of Lipinski’s fellow representatives. Enough is at stake for pro-life conservatives that those living in Illinois’s third district should consider voting in the Democratic primaries instead, and cast a vote for Lipinski.
This primary might well be a symbolic Waterloo for pro-life Democrats. As the party has radicalized on abortion, Democrats who aren’t comfortable with expansive abortion rights have either been cajoled into becoming so or outright replaced. It would be a tragedy if belief in the sanctity of life — and opposition to the practice of extinguishing it in the womb — were effectively outlawed within the Democratic party.