Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, talking about the wipe out of Republicans in Illinois (on Facebook). Substitute “San Diego” for Illinois and it presents a pretty good strategy for what has to happen for Republicans to be relevant again in San Diego:
On November 6, 2018, Illinois Republicans lost everything. We lost the Governor’s race, we lost every statewide office, we lost two Republican Congressmen, and we lost a number of state legislative seats. Democrats now have the largest majority in Springfield they’ve had in years. Democrats took control of County Boards in Will & Lake Counties, and made sizable gains in every other collar county.
Darn near every Republican candidate at every level north of I-80 lost.
So what happened? Why the wipe out?
Those are the easy questions to answer. You see, in Illinois, there really was a blue wave. In Illinois, it was a perfect storm of the following:
1. Trump: The truth is that the President is extremely unpopular in Illinois, especially in Chicago and the collar counties. Democrat turnout was sky high because of Trump, every Democrat, no matter what office they were running for, ran against Trump, and Independents and many Republicans voted Democrat because of Trump.
2. Republicans in Illinois were divided.
After a contentious primary, the Party failed to unify for the general election.
3. JB Pritzker’s money: Democrats spent unheard of amounts of money, in every race, at every level.
4. Democrat turnout: Democrats came out & voted at near Presidential election year levels. Democrat turnout was off the charts. Republican vote, on the other hand, was up just a little bit over average midterm levels.
70% of the suburban vote in Illinois and around the country went Democrat. Illinois has become a deep blue state. Democrats now own the city and the suburbs.
So what can and should Republicans in Illinois do now?
That’s the tougher question to answer. But here goes:
1. Unify: If Illinois Republicans don’t unify, the Illinois Republican Party will die. I’m a Tea party Conservative, but there aren’t enough of me in Illinois. There aren’t enough MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporters in Illinois. There aren’t enough establishment Republicans in Illinois. On our own, each facet of the Party is irrelevant.
Conservative & establishment Republicans need to put down their swords, put aside their differences, and come together. Even unified, we’re still outnumbered by Democrats. But unified, we have a fighting chance.
2. Once unified, all Illinois Republicans must put aside their differences on Trump, guns, abortion…everything, and focus on Illinois. Only Illinois. How to save Illinois. How to stop the exodus from Illinois. How to be the voice for Illinois taxpayers.
Our job will be to educate and inspire. Though Democrats will do what Democrats always do – overreach and overtax – we should be prepared to be on the outs for awhile and understand that this is a long term fight.
Illinois is a deep blue state. It may well already be lost. Like California, it will be lost once it is a permanent Democrat-run state.
The ONLY hope for Illinois Republicans is to unify, put all other differences & issues aside, and FOCUS ONLY ON SAVING ILLINOIS.
That’s our only hope.
The alternative is to keep right on fighting with each other, keep right on calling each other RINO’s and right-wing haters, keep right on whining & complaining, and keep right on posting hopeless memes on Facebook. But understand, if we keep doing all of that, the Republican Party in this state will die and the state will be toast.
What will we choose?