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Doubek: Alienated Illinois voters show they are ready to rage

Voters cast their ballots at a fire station in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood on March 15, 2016. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Hello, it’s me

I was wondering if, after all these years, you’d like to meet

To go over everything

They say that time’s supposed to heal ya

But I ain’t done much healing

Hello, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood political observer.

I’m right here in Illinois, wondering what to make of that primary.

Seems like Adele’s mega-global hit lends itself to Illinois voters’ psyches these days.

OPINION

Follow @mdoubekRebootIL

Hello, it’s me …

Illinois voters said to the political ruling class involved in federal politics and in Cook County,

… I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

So, congratulations, Illinois voters, we showed up at the polls like never before. And we sent a loud message to the establishment.

There’s such a difference between us

And a million miles

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform reported 44.6 percent of us cast ballots last week. That’s 3.35 million out of 7.5 million eligible voters. And nearly a million of us cast ballots for Bernie Sanders, very nearly giving him a victory in Hillary Clinton’s home state. And nearly 550,000 of us gave our votes to Donald Trump in the GOP primary. Record numbers of voters participated in Cook County, too, giving Kim Foxx a 2-to-1 victory over establishment Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The pundits have been saying the nation is raging, and Illinois went along with the nation.

Hello from the other side

I must have called a thousand times …

What about within all of Illinois? Gov. Bruce Rauner lost a few high-profile primaries in which he was heavily involved. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan left him quite a message, but it seems Rauner isn’t checking his voicemail, having issued a statement the day after the primary that essentially said, “I’m not listening. Come back to work and give me what I want.”

Madigan, of course, believes his election victories mean Rauner and Republicans should bow to his dominance.

His message? “Over the last year, you will find the times that the governor and the Legislature were able to work together … is when the governor was willing to put aside his agenda that hurts middle-class families and work directly with the Legislature on the most important issue at hand.”

So, the Illinois observers and pundits again are saying it’s even more likely nothing gets done about Illinois public colleges and disabled and vulnerable Illinoisans who don’t get automatic or court-ordered funding until after the Nov. 8 general election.

Unfortunately, Rauner wasn’t on the ballot and most Illinoisans never will have a chance to send a direct message to Madigan, the premier political class ruler for most of the past three decades, who has led the overspending charge that drove Illinois taxpayers into debt calamity.

The only and best option we have now is to pressure our individual state representatives and senators to do their jobs. And to demand that Rauner and Madigan do theirs and find a compromise solution. Do. Your. Jobs. It’s not that difficult. Give up tort reform, governor. Allow a vote on term limits, Mr. Speaker. Let Democrats and Republicans together take credit for some type of property tax break and move on.

Why aren’t angry Illinoisans delivering that message to the ruling class within Illinois? Hello?! We should be ringing their phones off the hook, sending emails, carrying signs outside their district offices.

Our lives matter.

The political ruling class does respond when enough of us leave a strong, demanding message. And, as Rich Miller noted in a Crain’s column, Republican state Sen. Sam McCann’s win in central Illinois demonstrates you can defy your party’s leader, side with your constituents and win. We need to let our lawmakers know what we want.

A record 44.6 percent of eligible primary voters stopped their normal routines and sent quite a message. Nearly a million Illinoisans voted against the grain in the Democratic primary. Another 976,891 voted either for Trump or Ted Cruz, the anti-establishment Republican options. That’s more than a quarter of eligible Illinois voters jumping into a closed primary to say we are against the status quo. We’re angry.

You can find out who your state representatives and senators are with Reboot Illinois’ Sound Off tab at the top of the home page. In four mouse clicks, you can use that tool to send an email about the budget to them, Rauner, Madigan and the other legislative leaders. That’s just one way we can send a message we’re angry.

Hello from the outside

At least I can say that I’ve tried

Madeleine Doubek is chief operating officer of Reboot Illinois.

Follow Madeleine Doubek on Twitter: Follow @mdoubekRebootIL

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