Trump factor in Illinois being over-played

Trump factor in Illinois being over-played

Trump factor in Illinois being over-played

Just like in the 2016 presidential election campaigns, the mainstream news media is getting it wrong.  Every newspaper predicted that Hillary Clinton would easily defeat Donald Trump in the November 8, 2016 presidential election. Every poll, every pundit and every journalist made the prediction as if it were a certainty. And they are repeating that same mistake in the Illinois elections, giving anti-Trump’s factors more influence that major issues

By RayHanania

Ever since Donald Trump was elected President, the biased mainstream news media has cast every event and issue in an anti-Trump spin.

That is despite the fact that the mainstream news media, and the national Democrats, just couldn’t see the forrest for the trees in the 2016 presidential election, and still can’t.

Every mainstream newspaper and national media predicted Hillary Clinton would easily defeat  Trump in the November 8, 2016 presidential election. Every poll, every pundit and every journalist made the prediction as if it were a certainty. And, they are repeating that same mistake in analyzing the outcome of today’s elections, including in Illinois, a strong Blue State with heavy Democratic voter strength.

The media pundits are spinning anti-Trump’s factors as being the key influences that will decide key election contests in Illinois, but missing the bigger picture of issues that will actually carry more weight. In the media’s wake, nearly every Democratic and liberal candidate is also playing the anti-Trump card hoping to oust longtime incumbents, many of them Democrats like 7-term Congressman Dan Lipinski, Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

President Trump pushing back against media lies that he removed the MLK bust from the White House. Photo courtesy of the Republican Party.

President Trump pushing back against media lies that he removed the MLK bust from the White House. Photo courtesy of the Republican Party and FOX News.

Lipinski, a strong conservative Democrat — “Reagan Democrat” — is being challenged by liberal newcomer Marie Newman who has all the backing of the far left in the Democratic party. Newman is throwing every anti-Trump issue at Lipinski, whose only mistake may have been his failure to take Newman’s candidacy more seriously sooner.

Lipinski has never been a favorite of the news media and has been viciously attacked in the past including by many columnists who focused on his physical features more than on the real issues.

Berrios is a Machine Democrat who controls an important Cook County office, accused of improperly assessing properties belonging to friends and cronies. But that kind of charge is a frequent flyer in Cook County’s mudslinging political campaign history. It’s nothing new and Berrios is fighting back against challenger Fritz Kaegi, who has the backing as the same far left liberal Democrats as Newman.

But those far-left liberal Democrats, like Jesus Garcia and his predecessor Congressman Luis Gutierrez have always been outspoken against the party’s political Machine and its conservatives.

Preckwinkle, a former Chicago Machine alderman, is focusing her campaign defense not be rebuffing her challenger, also a former Chicago Machine alderman Robert “Bob” Fioretti, but rather by attacking Trump, too. Preckwinkle is making the amazing claim that she has championed healthcare for Illinois’ residents, in the wake of Trumps attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act, introduced by former President and Illinois Democrat Barack Obama, often called “ObamaCare.”

Preckwinkle did nothing to provide healthcare to Illinois residents other than selfishly to her base constituency, protecting some healthcare services to the lower-income poor.

In truth, Preckwinkle is a a tax-and-spend bureaucrat who has failed to control the outrageous spending in Cook County. She campaigned on the promise of blocking her predecessor’s high tax plans, opposing a one cent sales tax hike for residents, and then flipping after her election, supporting the sales tax increase.

Sales taxes tend to burden higher income workers who have more money to spend, and has less impact on lower-income workers and those on welfare and government subsidies who make up her core inner-city base.

Preckwinkle also imposed an oppressive one cent per ounce sales tax on all soda pop and sweetened drink sales in Cook County, rather than trimming back her bloated administration and payroll. The tax slammed the mostly White residents in Chicago’s Northwest and Southwest Sides, and in the county’s predominantly White suburbs, and spared most of her constituents who rely on SNAP or federal food stamp benefits from paying the tax.

The soda tax was overturned when voters protested against her supporters in the county board, in a revolt led by Republican Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, against whom Preckwinkle has been fomenting racial protests among some Arab communities that she spent eight years in office ignoring.

Fioretti has vowed to put a halt to Preckwinkle’s tax-and-spend policies and to give suburbanites, who have been marginalized in the past by the county board’s Chicago-focused power base, an equal voice in county government and in services.

In the Lipinski-Newman battle, Clinton carried the 3rd Congressional District, but the district is traditionally conservative. In many of the regions in the district, Trump’s candidacy galvanized many first-time voters to reject the establishment, resulting in major changes in many local municipal elections like in Orland Park where a traditional 23-year incumbent Democrat, Dan McLaughlin, was ousted by the last minute candidacy of a total newcomer, Keith Pekau. More than 5,000 new voters went to the polls in Orland Park energized by the Trump-Clinton battle. But while many voted for Clinton, they ousted many longterm incumbents like McLaughlin.

The media has captured the Lipinski-Newman issues as being about Trump, including Trump’s crackdown n immigration, his conditional support of DACA (“Dreamers”), his opposition to ObamaCare, and his conservative values such as supporting anti-abortion issues. But the real issues are less eventful. Immigration and ObamaCare are not as important as security, fighting crime, and the economy which despite some major slumps continues to improve.

Most of Newman’s supporters are from outside of the 3rd District, like Garcia, Gutierrez and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, while Lipinski is relying on the support of the state and county’s traditional Democratic organization vote, which is not that easily neutralized. Lipinski’s advantages include his commitment to transportation in a district often ignored by state and county transportation improvements. The district has long been ignored by the state and county when it comes to transportation services, and Lipinski has been a lone and strong voice demanding more.

Abortion is an issue, but it is always an issue, including in the same district in each of the past 7 elections since Lipinski was elected in 2005.

It will be a tough battle, for sure.

In the governor’s race, the candidate’s are also all attacking Trump in the mix against their opponents. Chris Kennedy, who enjoys the same liberal base as Newman, and Daniel Biss, a north side state legislator, have made attacking Trump a cornerstone of their challenge to Democratic endorsed candidate J.B. Pritzker.

The winner of the March 20, 2018 Democratic primary race for governor will face-off with first term Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner who has been backed into a Trump corner, against his own best wishes.

Turnout will be the key. A high turnout will benefit the challengers. A low turnout will benefit the incumbents.

And when the news media starts predicting the winners, many voters have come to learn to take pause because the mainstream news media rarely gets it right. They have been bad at predictions for years, with the worst being the last national Trump-Clinton election.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.