Thursday, November 8, 2012

Microcosm of a Romney Loss – Obama Won In Republican Chicago-suburban DuPage County, & Abortion Looms Large

DuPage County sits west of Chicago’s Cook, and is historically Republican with mostly middle to upper middle class suburbs.  It is often the Illinois county with the highest Republican raw vote totals in the state.  And in November 2012 Obama won there in what should have been Romney territory.  Yes, Romney’s national vote was almost that of Obama’s, but his weakness in a typically Republican suburb of a large northern city serves as a microcosm of why he lost.

DuPage County voters historically have been fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  And, like the rest of America, has changing demographics – Democrat-voting emigrants from Chicago and Cook County are moving in,  attracted by the more successful Republican-run communities (yet after they arrive they continue to vote for the same Democrat party responsible for the mess from which they’ve fled (link) – go figure that one.

In Illinois in 2012, a weak, liberal Democrat incumbent governor was challenged by a fiscally conservative Republican, a state senator and an experienced campaigner with a warm persona.  He was, though, pro-life.  Then, as now, Illinois was a financial mess, and voters in DuPage County strongly backed the two Republican candidates running for the state financial control offices – controller and treasurer.  The Republican candidate for controller, Judy Barr Topinka, was a well-known politician strongly liberal on social issues.  She pulled the highest Republican vote total in DuPage County and won the state election.  But Republicans in DuPage County split their vote.  The pro-life Republican candidate for governor, Bill Brady, received about 25,000 votes less than Topinka in the county, but lost statewide by only about 19,000 votes (link).  Had Republican voters in DuPage County given Brady as much support as they gave Topinka, Brady would have been elected.  One big difference between Brady and Topinka – abortion, an issue neither would be able to significantly impact in the positions they were running for.

And there have been downstream results.  With control of both state legislative chambers and the governorship, Democrats redrew the state Congressional map to strongly favor their side.  Under the new map, four incumbent Illinois Republican Congressmen just lost (Biggert, Schilling, Dold, and Walsh).  

The national economy is a mess, and Romney ran almost entirely on that issue.  It wasn’t enough.  Obama countered with a scare campaign about abortion and birth control pills.  Enough people must still blame Bush for the economy and must fear Republicans on social issues – even in DuPage County.

For years Illinois Republicans have been ravaged by an internecine war over abortion and social issues.  Some Illinois Republicans have savaged moderately pro-choice Republican candidates, only to repeatedly hand victory to  Democrats who are radical on the issue.  Republican anti-abortion zealots have compromised their party’s electoral success, ceding political dominance in the state to the Illinois Democrat party which supports and protects late term abortions, partial birth abortions, and infanticide after live birth botched abortions (link).  Rigid anti-abortion Illinois social conservatives have fought fiscal conservatives over the morning-after pill and have gotten legal infanticide instead.  Time for them to wake up to reality of what they have sown, form a coalition with fiscal, non-social conservatives, and win some elections.    

John M Greco

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