Editorials

Hoping change will make America great again. Illinois? Not so much.

The Republican wave that swept Donald Trump into offfice also carried some local candidates. In Springfield, it appears to be largely business as usual.
The Republican wave that swept Donald Trump into offfice also carried some local candidates. In Springfield, it appears to be largely business as usual. The Associated Press

A whole lot of Americans came together Tuesday to offer a collective obscene gesture to the elitists who think they know what’s best for them.

Republicans took the White House and held both houses of Congress. The status quo was rejected, but now there is the real challenge of leading. Whatever the newcomers destroy, whether Obamacare or trade deals, they need wise plans for rebuilding.

Locally, Republicans took Madison County’s chairmanship and the majority on the County Board. They threw a serious scare into St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern running against a Republican with few credentials and no money. One Republican was added to the St. Clair County Board.

Especially interesting was that Republicans became the majority on the Fifth District Appellate Court, despite a multi-million dollar campaign financed by trial lawyers against the two GOP candidates. Voters had to be paying attention if they rejected all the attack ads.

Chief Circuit Judge John Baricevic also got a message. His ploy to run for election rather than the state’s constitutionally-prescribed path of retention cost him his seat and his $174,303 salary. Circuit Judge Robert LeChien who pulled the same trick came close to losing, even with the block of Democratic votes from East St. Louis and its separate ballot-counting system.

So what’s missing from this wave of federal and local red? That troubled, bankrupt state of blue: Illinois.

Local Democrats were all safe in Mike Madigan’s House, despite Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner dumping $32.5 million into Republican state contests. The lone local Republican, incumbent state Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon, lost after multiple terms in the 112th District to Madigan-financed Democrat Katie Stuart. The Republican money did end Madigan’s veto-proof majority in the House, although Illinois Senate President John Cullerton held onto his supermajority.

State lawmakers are about to return to Springfield for the veto session, during which the two years of purloined budgets may pass along with what could be a whopper of a tax increase. Maybe Rauner now has the narrow margin he needs to fight back if Madigan again tries to push a $7 billion deficit. Maybe Rauner can limit the state tax hike.

The message is clear: Americans are tired of politics as usual, but they are willing to make an exception in that alternate reality we call Springfield.

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