With the recent Chicago Tribune revelations regarding Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Democratic Party must once again confront jailed former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s poisonous legacy. This time, the party needs to show it has and is willing to sever ties. Should 2018 repeat 2014, the party must ask more of its candidates.
Yes, there are certain benefits for the party in potentially supporting a Pritzker candidacy. One obvious benefit includes his vast wealth. This is especially important in countering multi-millionaire Gov. Rauner's self-funded re-election campaign. But is financial wealth all that needs to be considered in countering the Rauner machine?
As a party, we need candidates who are not only capable of drawing financial support, but who also have the moral compass to hold the ethical high ground. Pritzker's perceived improprieties may be just that — perceived — but he should’ve had the foresight to question what his conversations would look like.
Democrats must take the lead in Illinois again after four years of Rauner's political posturing, but we can't if we compromise values for an opportune financial arrangement. There are plenty of candidates who are a better fit for the executive mansion and plenty of time to find them; the leadership of the Illinois Democratic Party need only open their eyes and raise their standards.
I don’t yet know who I will be voting come 2018, but I won't be making the same mistake I made in 2014. I hope the party won't either.
Alexander Ewers, Normal