From Cleveland: Republican from across Illinois came to Cleveland and the Republican National Convention, to hear the leaders of their party layout the case for a Republican victory in November.
But with the coming nomination of Donald Trump, an outsider until this year to the very party he is now about to lead, a number of the leading members of the Republican Party of Illinois, are skipping this convention, cautious of the impact of a Trump candidacy could have on their political health in Illinois. Not coming to Cleveland, are Gov Rauner, Comptroller Leslie Munger, nor US Senator Mark Kirk. Both Sen Kirk and Comptroller Munger are on the ballot this November.
But the Illinois Republican leaders are not alone. Despite the fact the Republicans choose to bring their national convention to Cleveland, neither Ohio Gov John Kasich (R), nor US Senator Rob Portman (R) are attending the convention.
But the fear of political repercussions is not a concern to Congressman Rodney Davis, who told us the key issues for Republicans remain the economy, national security, and having a Republican President to make the appointments to the US Supreme Court.
Rep Davis said Hillary Clinton would continue the war on coal, and the loss of jobs that has resulted within the coal industry, affecting parts of his district that extends into Southern Illinois.
Whether Donald Trump can run as successfully in the general election, as he did in beating established politicians in the primary, remains to be seen. But a long shot beat an establishment president in 1992, running on the simple phrase, “Its the economy stupid.”
That phrase lead Bill Clinton into the White House, by reminding voters the economy under George H.W. Bush was not working for them. Americans are now mired in the ninth year of a slow-growth economy, which leaves middle class families unable to keep pace with rising costs, and many younger workers unable to launch their own financial futures. So the economy, may be the best asset Donald Trump has going for him in this election.
Just last Friday, the Commerce Department lowered its GDP projections for economic growth for this year from what had already been a lackluster 2.7% growth rate, to now a paltry 2.2% increase in the economy. That slow growth means that under the 8 years of Barack Obama, the US economy will never have grown more than more than 2.4%.
And highly regarded political analyst, Michael Barone, told the Illinois Channel in an interview we will air later, that every terrorist attack, and every police shooting also works to Donald Trump’s favor, as voters become increasingly concerned about security issues, which fits into the themes of the Trump campaign.
So for Illinois Republicans attending the convention, and longing for a return of their party to the White House, the fact that their state’s political leaders are missing in Cleveland, may be disappointing, but many of the Illinois delegates here are attending their very first national convention. And the excitement level remains high, as they hear the themes of the fall campaign being delivered from the podium, by the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Sheriff David Clarke and others.
Then too, the chance for Illinoisans to rub shoulders with political all-stars, remains one of the exciting aspects for those who are political junkies, and spend much of their lives following politics.
While this promises to be a very tight national election, the mood of many Illinoisans her remains upbeat.