The Impact Of The Illinois Election Where You Live

Nov 8, 2018

Rural Sangamon County
Credit Randy von Liski/flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The votes have been counted and we’ve seen who won in Illinois.  We know Democrats added to their grip on the Chicago area and Republicans held on in much of central and southern Illinois.  

What did we learn about the division of political support in the state?  

"This was an election about the base," Professor John Jackson said.  He's with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in Carbondale.  "The base was all (President Trump) cared about.  You can look at all the places he visited."

Among those places, southern Illinois to stump for Republican Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro, who won re-election.    

"Southern Illinois used to be a strong hold for Democrats and now it's a tremendous stronghold for the Republicans.  Mike Bost rode Trump's coattails. Bost owes a lot to the President," Jackson said. 

As for politcs overall, Jackson sees the divide growing.  "The parties have moved further to the left in the case of the Democrats and further to the right in the case of the Republicans."

And when it comes to state politics, with Republican representation in areas outside of Chicago, the question is will they have any input on issues like the budget?

"I think in this end of the state, particularly deep southern Illinois,  we're going to have difficulty finding anyone on the Republican side who will have access and much clout, and I think that will generally be true to a lesser extent in central Illinois," said Jackson.  But he also said he's hopeful that some advisors to new governor J.B. Pritzker will let him know about the issues facing the areas outside of Chicago.  He points out former State Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg and former Congressman and Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard have worked with Pritzker.  

Still, with the rural population declining, Jackson adds that trend is also working against central and southern Illinois.

"We're going to lose one member of the (U.S.) House and perhaps two. Southern Illinois districts are going to have to geographically get much, much bigger. I expect to see (after the 2020 census) Mike Bost having to be thrown against (Rodney) Davis or (John) Shimkus, or Shimkus against Davis, all of those are possible scenarios."