Choosing your battles

Democrats fund opponents' campaigns

Two of the biggest contributors to hard-core, Trump-supported candidates are not who you might guess: Gov. JB Pritzker and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pritzker and his allies spent $30 million trying to help Sen. Darren Bailey, a Trump devotee, to be the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Pelosi worked hard to see that two Colorado "Make America Great Again" candidates won the Republican primary.

I'm not a fan of Pritzker, Pelosi or Trump.

As New York Times columnist David Brooks pointed out June 30, the Democratic Party is behaving recklessly and unpatriotically.

They think far-right Trumpist candidates will be easier to beat in the general election than more moderate opponents. So, they are intervening in the other party's primary to ensure that voters have the worst possible choices.

It's not even a remotely patriotic thing to do. Folks who love their country ought to want the very best candidates to advance – not the worst.

But here is the problem: These far-right yahoos whom Democrats are supporting could end up winning.

A retired state lawmaker took me aside recently and gave his objection to this relatively new phenomenon.

"You've heard because of redistricting that politicians are choosing their voters, rather than voters choosing their politicians. Well, this is even worse. The politicians are choosing their opponents."

And there is the rub. Democracy is based on a vigorous competition of ideas.

When the system is rigged to deter competition and limit voter choices, we no longer have a democracy.

Some Democrats believe that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade will motivate pro-choice voters to come out en masse to support their candidates.

Sigh. How often in a lifetime does the average voter contemplate whether to have an abortion? How often do they fill their car with gasoline or their shopping cart with groceries?

In a world of hyper-inflation, voters will be voting their pocketbooks. And that does not bode well for Democrats, the party in power. It's also worth noting that the party controlling the White House almost always loses seats during the mid-term elections.

The more the Democratic Party becomes a group of Prius-driving vegans intent on fighting cultural battles, the less they understand working-class voters. You know, those folks who bag our groceries, pick up our garbage and babysit our kids.

They are hurting. Escalating gas prices have made their drive to work expensive, and skyrocketing food prices have made feeding their families difficult. And no, they don't want a handout from the government. They just want to make ends meet.

An unbelievable 83% of Americans believe the economy is poor or not so good, according to a May Wall Street Journal-NORC poll. And an equally staggering 83% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, according to a Gallup Poll.

And what kind of nonsense are we seeing debated? Whether mothers should be called child-bearers, and whether menstruators should be called "people with vaginas" rather than "female." Academics love such debates. But working-class folks find it off-putting. They see "mother" as a term of endearment, a point of pride — not a word of exclusion.

When centerist candidate Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush, he did it with the campaign mantra: "It's about the economy, stupid."

Increasingly, party elites have lost touch with this message.

And before you think I'm defending Republicans, I'm not. Increasingly, the GOP has descended into cult-like devotion to a man who seeks to divide and, for at least one day, posed a threat to democracy itself.

But that doesn't mean his disciples won't do well at the polls. Voters are angry, and his politics of grievance will play well in November. If they win, Democrats like Pritzker and Pelosi, who donated to their campaigns, deserve the blame.

Scott Reeder, a staff writer for Illinois Times, can be reached at sreeder@illinoistimes.com.

About The Author

Scott Reeder

Scott Reeder is a staff writer at Illinois Times.

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