Despite what outsiders may understandably think, only about two counties in Illinois are reliable Democrats. A few counties are quite purple, but the vast majority of counties (but not overall population) tend to be quite Republican. The Czar lives in one of the most Republican counties by far, as does the Mandarin; in fact, the Mandarin and Czar often compete on how Republican their counties are.
Normally, on an election day, the Czar can expect to see a position up for vote, with one Republican candidate listed and no Democrat at all running. Just one name with a box. Mandarin sees something like this, too.
Our upcoming March election, however, is considerably different. No, there are no Democratic candidates runningbut the number of Republican candidates competing for the same spot is obvious. Three or even four candidates are running for the same job, even if that job is for some bizarre county deputy something or other. Dozens of names are on signs along the roadways, all with little elephants.
And not just in our counties; the Czar found himself in a very purple county the other day, and was dazzled by the elephant symbols on campaign signs...and we spotted one Democrat runningyou could tell, because his sign and no symbol at all, and did not mention anywhere any party affiliation. Since then, the Czar has spotted many Democratic candidates signs and billboards, all leaving off any party affiliation. You can guess the reason.
Here in Muscovy, we have a choice between an incumbent Republican state senator and a Republican challengerthe problem is that they are both really good guys. The Czar is picking the challenger, though; know why? Because the challenger is new, and saying he is a fiscal hawk. The incumbent, who has been a good senator, only started touting his fiscal prowess in the last election. Sorry: the Czar will now take a natural-born over a born-again fiscal candidate. Time for the incumbents to leave.
Olympia Snowe understands this and is retiring before she is drummed out. Even on the Democratic side, Dennis Kucinich is finally being summoned back to his homeworld; even he was soundly defeated by a challenger. Barney Frank is giving up any hope of re-election as well, and is stepping away. We need more and more career politicians to recognize this fact.
In very very blue Cook County, a well-known and long unopposed Democrat is facing not only three GOP candidates (although one is a white supremacist whom the GOP has estranged itself; the Czar would prefer not to count him), but a Democratic challenger as well.
And the story is repeating all over the place.
Although the media is doing its best to depress Americans with their election choices, the facts are embarrasing to that narrative: Congress is getting reformed whether they want it or not. It will take time, but the amount of folks challenging incumbents is a welcome sign.
And the number of signs is even more welcome, especially to the many Americans who understandbly resign themselves into thinking that the System is broken and cannot be fixed. With all the challengers from both parties, you have reason to hope. Turns out, we can make de facto term limits.
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