I remember when things got down to the wire in the 2010 election. In the Democratic Primary, I had wanted Dan Hynes. He lost in a heartbreaking election with no turnout and I was disappointed that teachers who should have known better had stayed away in droves. At the last House of Delegates meeting before the election, a Chicago Teachers Union with very mixed feelings about Quinn who had already pushed through an attack on our pensions, had a very close vote to endorse him.
I pushed for us to endorse Quinn despite not believing he was a very good Governor. I was scared of Brady getting in and when we saw what Scott Walker was able to do in Wisconsin, I think the movement of the teachers union and other organized labor to Quinn saved us from having a string of right to work states from Wisconsin to Indiana. Some of my friends wanted to support any third party candidate. However, a teacher who is gay, posted on a mailing list that I am on that she didn’t have that luxury. She wanted to marry her long term partner and Quinn was her best chance of that happening. In the end, supporting Quinn was a good move.
Things changed when Quinn chose Paul Vallas as his lieutenant Governor. Even though they run separately in the primary, choosing an out of state Republican with a track record of education reform failures as his running mate was a slap in the face to the Chicago Teachers Union. When local pundits analyzed it, they all said “well, who else are they going to vote for?” We have other choices besides Rauner and Quinn and I want to go through them point by point.
Rauner – I believe he’d be like Emanuel, but worse. However, the Governor has less control over us than the mayor does. Also, it may be easier to fight a Republican Governor than a Democrat. Voting for him is not an option
Voting for a more moderate Republican – There are none. Senator Kirk has refused to endorse any of the candidates because he doesn’t think any our moderate enough for the state. I think he knows.
Vote for third party – If you want to get behind a third party, that’s great. I understand the desire to say a pox on both of your houses. However, with so much at stake, I don’t see why I should give up a vote in order for the green party to go from 5% to 7% of the vote. If the greens or any other party can run a quality candidate with a chance, I definitely would be for supporting them, but that’s a huge “if”.
Run our own candidate – To what end? Do we want to play spoiler? There probably isn’t enough time to really be credible a year from now. Also, with limited resources should teachers be putting all of them here?
Vote for Mickey Mouse – The inability to find an actual candidate probably has as much to do with your unwillingness to be informed as it does with the quality of the candidates.
Endorse Pat Quinn – I think that ship has sailed.
So what do we do? I think we need to continue to advocate for our issues. We should fight for a fair tax, for pensions that we can live with, for an elected school board, and for more funding for our schools. We should get involved in the elections where we can make a difference and where there are candidates who have championed our issues or are willing to do so, we give them our full support.
In the race for Governor, we play the game. Maybe we do endorse Quinn, maybe we don’t. However, we don’t throw our resources into this election. I will probably not take a Democratic primary ballot and will instead vote for Rauner’s closest challenger int he GOP primary. We can vote for Quinn, we can choose not to, but I do think we need to get political. We need to advocate for our issues and for those who champion them and let the race for Governor take care of itself.