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COMMENTARY: The establishment choices in Illinois are horrible. Vote different.

An unmitigated disaster that is the two-party system with one-party rule in Illinois and America contributed to such a dismal showing in Tuesday’s primary election. That disaster comes in the form of two establishment representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties.

(From left to right): Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic opponent J.B. Pritzker. (Courtesy photos)

The first half of this disaster is current Republican governor Bruce Rauner, who has been experiencing quite a backlash from staunch conservatives since he signed bills into law allowing for taxpayer funding of abortion procedures and the establishment of sanctuary cities. He’s not that popular, thanks to attack ads that his PAC, Citizens for Rauner Inc., issued against primary opponent and current state representative Jeanne Ives, the most despicable one calling her “Mike Madigan’s favorite Republican.” To make matters worse, Rauner won the primary by roughly 20,000 votes due to such a dismal voter turnout. It also doesn’t help that he has billions of dollars at his disposal.

The second half of this disaster is Democratic opponent J.B. Pritzker, brother of former Obama staffer Penny Pritzker and heir to the Hyatt fortune. He’s made shots at two of his primary opponents — state senator Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy, son of former U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and former chairman of the University of Illinois board of directors. Pritzker has also been ripped on at town hall and debate events that he never attended by his primary opponents, which also included anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, Madison County superintendent of schools Bob Daiber and Dr. Robert Marshall.

The anti-establishment and Tea Party voters tried their best to get the message across about Ives and they truly have every right to be upset about losing by such a small margin. The anti-Pritzker and anti-establishment voters tried to do the same — but in reality, Biss, Kennedy and Hardiman were the anti-Pritzker base in the primary, while Daiber and Marshall were the anti-establishment base. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t know much about Daiber. With that said, I know that Dr. Marshall has ran for Congress as a Democrat, a Republican AND a Libertarian.

So, of course, Ives refuses to endorse Rauner, which makes sense because of the attack ads. Biss and Kennedy have sold their souls to “Boss Hogg” Pritzker. So what emerges in the upcoming months leading to the November 6 general election?

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kash Jackson runs along the parade route during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Peoria Saturday. (Ron Johnson/Peoria Journal-Star)

While Rauner and Pritzker will slam each other with attack ads wrapped in fat wads of cash, Kash Jackson, a 20-year Navy veteran and civil rights activist who earned the Libertarian nomination earlier this month, will be collecting upwards of 60,000 petition signatures to get the Libertarian slate on the ballot with the help of party members, paid petitioners and volunteers who haven’t petitioned this cycle. The same will be true for whoever the Illinois Green Party nominates this weekend at their convention in Chicago and Constitution Party nominee William J. Kelly.

But let’s face the truth here: You don’t have to vote for the “shiniest of two turds” anymore. That analogy doesn’t work in this election. The “lesser of two evils” analogy doesn’t work either. You’re looking at another example of South Park’s electoral comparison to “Huge Douche” and “Turd Sandwich”, with what will likely be TWO — not THREE — choices of sanity as the alternative. Why do I say only two? The Constitution Party of Illinois hasn’t put forth a serious attempt to get on the ballot, submitting less than the required minimum of 25,000 signatures and expecting to get on the ballot unchallenged. That has failed for the past three election cycles and it will fail again in 2018.

Illinois Green Party founder and two-time gubernatorial nominee Rich Whitney. (Photo credit Chicago Reader)

I look forward to see who the Green Party nominates this weekend. Why? If they make a decent choice for their party candidate, like they did in the past with founder Rich Whitney in the 2006 and 2010 elections, which established their major party status before losing it in 2014. The Libertarian Party has an excellent candidate in Kash Jackson and I honestly believe he can get far in this party — even one day as state and/or national chairman.

If things are going to be business as usual with the status quo, then 2018 needs to be the year the Libertarian Party of Illinois earns their major party status and the Illinois Green Party gets their status back, which could be the miraculous beginning of the end for the political duopoly.

Just keep in mind this disastrous statistic: More than half of the state’s registered voters didn’t vote in the 2014 cycle when it was Bruce Rauner vs. Pat Quinn. Had more voters showed up to vote, your Libertarian and Green party options would have had significantly reduced petitioning requirements and you would also have had primaries for these parties on Tuesday.

The Green Party’s only primary Tuesday was the 12th Congressional District race, in which Randall (Randy) Auxier was running unopposed. There was also a Green Party primary for one seat on the Jackson County Board.

On the Libertarian end, while 26 counties in Illinois were primary-eligible from the 2016 general election, McLean County was the lone county with a party primary. A county where retiring state chairman Lex Green is running for county treasurer and seven members of the McLean County Libertarian Party running for seven seats on the county board. According to unofficial results, Green received 69 votes, with county board candidates Paul Michael Enerson (McLean D-2), Christopher Howick (McLean D-3) and Alexandra Engle (McLean D-4) received ten, six and nineteen votes respectively. While not posted on the county cumulative totals, the following was discovered through the Bloomington Election Commission: Bennett Morris (McLean D-7) 20, Steve Suess (McLean D-8) 9, Richard Bennett (McLean D-9) 21 and Kevin Woodard (McLean D-10) 9.

About the Author

- Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

COMMENTARY: The establishment choices in Illinois are horrible. Vote different.