Far-right downstate Republicans refuse to blame themselves for the massive blue wave that continues to wash over Illinois elections. Instead, they blame the moderate Republican "left flank" based in Chicago, Cook and the collar counties of DuPage, Lake, Will and Kane.
Four downstate representatives, Chris Miller of Oakland, Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City, Dan Caulkins of Decatur and Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville, who speak for the far-right "Eastern Block" of downstaters, tout their huge Republican majorities there which turned downstate "ruby red." They claimed, preposterously, if only that left flank had followed our lead, Dan Bailey and the entire Republican slate would have cruised to victory Nov. 8.
While Republican gains downstate were notable, it represents a mere 30% of the Illinois electorate. Their vision of no funding of social programs, banning books and sex education in schools, fulminating about transgender rights and support, total control of women's bodies, denying climate change, may play well in Peoria, but very little northward where nearly three quarters of the voters seek progress, not regression.
DuPage, second only to Chicago's Cook in population, had less blue than the sun when I moved there in 1975. By 2007, Democrats leaders with vision, energy and optimism, starting with Democratic Chair Bob Peickert and others, saw opportunity to turn DuPage blue. So they formed (drum roll) Turn DuPage Blue.
During the ensuing 15 years, DuPage became nearly as blue as the deep blue sea, dominating the county board, state legislators, forest preserve, U.S. congresspersons and giving big majorities to governor and president.
Their prescription for success was simple: real solutions to real problems with nary a hint of fear, loathing or divisiveness.
And if those aforementioned Eastern Block folks ever lose their Illinois House seat, they should avoid running for coroner. For Illinois Republicans, death investigations, such as their bizarre analysis of the corpse of a once healthy state party, is a disqualifier.