By Patrick Hughes
In poll after poll after poll, Illinois voters have supported a process of drawing electoral maps that is impartial and transparent. As evidence, nearly 600,000 people signed petitions calling for a vote on an “Independent Map Amendment” to the State Constitution. The Amendment if passed would take the power of drawing the state’s House and Senate districts away from Speaker Madigan and put that power instead in the hands of an impartial authority. Not surprisingly, Madigan and his henchmen sued to make sure that vote wouldn’t happen. By a 4-3 margin, the State’s Democrat controlled Supreme Court sided with Madigan and against a good majority of Illinois voters.
Madigan’s successful opposition to the Independent Map Amendment helps to solidify, at least for now, his concentration of power through the centralization of government. In drawing the electoral map, he created mostly pathetically uncompetitive districts, ultimately yielding him super-majorities in the House and Senate. No wonder he doesn’t want the people to take that power away from him.
There are many who believe that both parties share a vision of Illinois as a free and prosperous state. That is a noble sentiment. And a misguided one. Countless conservative legislators and think-tanks and thought-leaders have made the case, both theoretical and empirical, for private enterprise. We have demonstrated the dangers and inadequacies of government run health-care. We have documented the success of school choice and right-to-work. And still Madigan and his cronies persist. Why? Because they are keenly aware that government is their means to wealth and power to which they would not otherwise have access.
They also understand that winning elections opens the door to that means. This is always their end-game. In that pursuit, eliminating competition – and therefore, risk – is critical. Why let voters choose their politicians, when politicians can choose their voters? So kill the Independent Map Amendment.
It is clear that the only way this state gets turned around is by taking Speaker Madigan out of power. Based on their resounding support for good government ideas like term limits and independent maps, more and more Illinoisans are waking up to that truth.
Madigan’s district has failed to vote him out for 40 years. Fine, he can represent them. But he should not rule us.
If we are to bring good governance to Illinois, then our work must be to take House Democrats out of the super-majority in the state legislature in 2016. We need to pick up one seat to accomplish that goal. But we shouldn’t stop there. We have identified races in which we see the opportunity to make major gains this cycle and next-and ultimately flip the State House by 2020. With your help, advocating in your community, we can change the trajectory of the State of Illinois.
For decades, Illinoisans have been exploited and robbed by Madigan and Illinois’ entrenched interests. We have put up with it, at least in part, because we have been awed by the sheer power of the “Madigan Machine.” But we do not appreciate our own power. It’s time to put that power to work.