Editorial: Billionaire pols could use a little farm team training

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J.B Pritzker is considering a run for Illinois governor. | Sun-Times file photo

Follow @csteditorialsIn politics, there used to be farm teams.

If you planned to run for governor some day, you might start out by running for the Chicago City Council. You could learn to hit a curve ball before moving up.

But now very wealthy men — they all seem to be men — with no previous experience in elective office are pushing right to the top. People like Bruce Rauner, Donald Trump, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker, self-funded and self-impressed, are running for governor or senator or president or whatever and often winning. Because money often wins.

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But because they have never played even a summer or two of Triple-A ball, hacking away on a local school board or village board, they are prone to the kind of mental errors that could have been avoided with a little seasoning.

We’re thinking here, first of all, of major league wannabee J.B. Pritzker, the Chicago billionaire who’s contemplating a run for governor. On Thursday morning, Pritzker woke up and could not resist an overwhelming desire to tweet out: “As a protest against Trump’s rescinding protections for trans kids, everyone should use the other gender’s bathroom today!”

This did not go over well. Conservatives, choosing to take his suggestion literally, warned they would beat up any man who tried to enter a woman’s bathroom. And liberals said Pritzker entirely missed the point. As state Rep. Will Guzzardi tweeted in response, “No disrespect” but “we just want to let kids use their own gender’s bathroom.”

Pritzker later clarified that he was just being flip to make a point. But a more experienced politician would have known that flip doesn’t play with the public. And you have to learn when not to swing.

Maybe Pritzker will learn. They often do.

Will Kennedy still run into elevators when reporters ask him annoying questions? Time will tell. But Rauner doesn’t talk as much anymore like an arrogant CEO.

And who knows, if Trump strikes out enough, maybe even he will learn.

Well, no, we don’t actually believe that. Our best scouts say Trump is not coachable.

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