A couple of weeks before being sworn into office as Governor of Illinois earlier today, Republican Bruce Rauner and his ultra-wealthy political allies put $20 million of their own money, half of that coming from the new governor himself, towards an attempt at buying themselves an unstated political agenda that, more than likely, will benefit Rauner and his fellow rich people, if anyone at all, and screw over poor, working-class, and middle-class Illinoisans in more ways than one.
Aside from the fact that he’s trying to buy his own political agenda, there’s two major flaws with Rauner’s plan to buy a political agenda: he has given very few specifics on what his agenda will consist of, and he’s alienated Democratic allies that he would need in order to get his agenda enacted into law.
The first major flaw with Rauner’s scheme is that he’s given only a few generalizations of what his state budget proposal and other items of his agenda will look like. Regarding the state budget, Rauner has gone into very little detail on what his budget proposal will look like. During the gubernatorial campaign last year, Rauner refused to give even a general idea of what kind of budget he’d propose if elected governor. Additionally, Rauner campaigned on general platitudes of “shake up Springfield” and mostly ran against Democrats as a “candidate of no” throughout the campaign. I have a strong suspicion that Rauner is hiding a far-right political agenda that will alienate both Democrats and Republicans.
The second major flaw with Rauner’s scheme is that he’s alienated the Democratic allies in the General Assembly that he’d need in order to get whatever his agenda is enacted into law. Since Democrats have a narrow supermajority in the Illinois Senate and a slim supermajority in the Illinois House, Rauner would need a coalition of every or nearly every Republican state legislator and enough Democratic state legislators to get majority support for his agenda in both houses of the General Assembly, meaning that Rauner has very little, if any, room to alienate people. As it turns out, Rauner’s scheme has already alienated the kind of Democrats he’d need to get his agenda passed. Jack Franks, a Democratic state representative from Marengo who represents a state house district that, if I recall correctly, voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, blasted Rauner for trying to buy a political agenda, saying that many Democrats fell for Rauner’s vows to work with them until him and his rich buddies threw down $20 million to try to buy a political agenda. Since Franks is from a conservative constituency and was a vocal critic of the previous Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, on many issues, Franks is the kind of state legislator that Rauner would need on his side in order to get whatever his agenda is enacted.
I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Bruce Rauner’s first term as governor ends up being his last, since Rauner appears to have already made too many political enemies by trying to buy a secret political agenda with his money and the money of his ultra-rich pals.