Editorial: Advice for Democrats in Campaign 2018

Four years ago, when Bruce Rauner ran as a Republican for governor on a theme of shaking up Springfield, his message resonated so much that a state that leans to the left elected him.

That Illinois' state government is still a mess - or perhaps even more so - has less to do with Rauner's message than it does with his failure to deliver on it.

For all of the enthusiasm Rauner brought and still brings to his vision, he has so far lacked a pragmatic strategy to get even a small part of his agenda enacted.

But make no mistake. Rauner's inability to work the gears of government should not discount the public's frustration with the status quo.

People are tired.

They're tired of the vested interests, tired of the corruption, tired of kicking the can down the road rather than addressing the state's problems and uncapping Illinois' great potential.

People and businesses are leaving the state in droves and the rush to the exits is directly linked to Springfield's failed policies and intransigence.

Even those in Springfield recognize these frustrations. In a stunning repudiation of their powerlessness and the status quo, a long line of state legislators have thrown their hands up and either resigned or chosen not to run for re-election.

So now, it's the middle of October and Campaign 2018 is about to start heating up in Illinois, where we're 154 days away from the March 20 primary.

A sizable group of Democrats have jumped in for the chance to take on Rauner (or perhaps a Republican alternative to him since he's recently succeeded in angering the conservative wing).

State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston; Madison County Regional School Supt. Bob Daiber of Marine; Violence Interrupters founder Tio Hardiman of Chicago; Chris Kennedy, former president of Merchandise Mart and chair of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees; entrepreneur Alex Paterakis of Long Grove; and J.B. Pritzker, co-founder and managing partner of the Pritzker Group.

They've begun squaring off in candidates forums, including one the Daily Herald is hosting Wednesday morning at Victoria in the Park in Mount Prospect.

As they make the rounds, here is our advice:

Eschew cliches and reflexive political rhetoric.

The people have been sending a message. Hear it.

Talk less like traditional Democrats and more like problem solvers.

Tell us, in concrete terms, how you're going to make state government work again.

How are you going to renew a spirit of collaboration across the aisle?

Don't just tell us what your vision is for Illinois. Tell us how you're going to get it done.

Give us hope for the future.

7 Democrats running for governor will focus on business issues at forum in Mount Prospect

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