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EDITORIAL: Jeanne Ives goes for the bully vote with her TV ad

An image of a man in a dress from a campaign ad for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives.

What’s the big deal?

It’s no big deal, we suppose, if you are not a transgender person. Or if you are not a person afraid to come out as transgender because you fear discrimination. Or if you do not happen to love somebody who is transgender — a son or daughter, perhaps, or a parent or a spouse. Or if you are not kind.


For such people, Jeanne Ives’ TV commercial mocking transgender people might be no big deal at all. Maybe they find it hilarious to present a transgender person as just a man in a dress.

The rest of us have to wonder why compassion comes so hard.

Ives is running for governor against Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary. She’s working the social conservative angle, attacking Rauner for actions he has taken on transgender rights, abortion rights, the Chicago Teachers Union and undocumented immigrants.

In her TV ad, she mocks it all. But her take on transgender people is particularly offensive, and not accurate.

“Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” the man in the dress says to Rauner in the ad, referring to a bill Rauner signed. The bill actually said nothing about transgender bathroom rights. Instead, it allowed transgender people to change their gender printed on birth certificates with a doctor’s approval.

Can this kind of stuff get you elected in a Republican primary? Who knows? Donald Trump won the White House by, in part, bashing undocumented immigrants, who are largely law-abiding, as a bunch of killers.

And taking the low road has won Ives another $2 million campaign donation from the conservative Lake Forest donor Dick Uihlein — the same enlightened guy who bankrolled creepy Judge Roy Moore’s campaign in Alabama.

“What’s the big deal?” Ives asked on Monday, responding to critics of the ad.

Nothing, if you’re going for the bully vote.

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