Written By: Scott Reeder, INN News
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois politicians like to extol
the virtues of democracy but avoid practicing it as much as possible.
Look no further than the Illinois General Assembly, a fiefdom of political
insiders determined to protect their political behinds. They do this by curbing
political competition in any way possible.
President Barack Obama stood before his former colleagues last month and talked
about politicians choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their
He was talking about you, Mike Madigan.
House Speaker Madigan is the master of the dark art of drawing legislative
After each U.S. Census he carves up the Land of Lincoln like a Thanksgiving
It has resulted in Illinois having one of the lowest levels of competition for
legislative seats in the nation.
At my request, Ballotpedia analyzed 2016 Illinois election filing data and found
that in 67 percent of Illinois legislative districts the candidate, usually an
incumbent, will run unopposed in November.
Yeah, you read that right. More than two-thirds of the time, voters have only
one legislative candidate to “choose” from.
And that understates the extent of the problem. In the remaining one-third of
districts, the opposition is usually nominal.
Why don’t candidates run?
Because they know that a person of their political party can’t win in the
district where they live.
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Political insiders like Madigan hav drawn almost every Illinois
legislative district with this in mind.
A movement is afoot to amend the Illinois Constitution to have an
independent commission, rather than political party bosses, draw
Not surprisingly, Party Boss Madigan is doing everything he can to
thwart these efforts.
In 2014, Illinois ranked in the bottom 10 for political
competitiveness, Tyler King, an analyst for Ballotpedia, said.
And much of that reason is that every decade legislative leaders
stack the cards to favor their political party.
It’s a shameless display of contempt for voters.
In November, Illinois voters may have an opportunity to show their
contempt for this political process that disenfranchises most
Illinoisans from choosing their lawmakers. They are being asked to
vote on creating an independent commission to draw legislative
Even now, word has that Madigan or one of his allies may go to court
to block voters from considering such a measure.
It would be just one more example of those in political power
showing contempt for the voters.
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