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IL Republicans suggest how to re-create the IL GOP



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CHICAGO – The Illinois Republican Party is in shambles. That's what Illinois GOP officials from the precinct level to the State Central Committee level are saying, anyway. A vast majority of those that were politically active a decade ago when the Tea Party Movement rose up have now returned to their homes, defeated and dismayed.

But the IL GOP website calls for people to "Join the Fight to Help Rebuild Illinois" – no mention of the IL GOP's need for new energy and enthusiasm.

The Illinois Republican Party recently released another e-mail survey, asking for input and donations. Results from a survey circulated earlier this year were not made public – and there's little hope among Republican grassroots that the current survey results will be made public either, and if they are, the results are sure to be doubted.

And for that matter, we're told, can anyone really trust any response from the IL GOP?

In an effort to hear from concerned Republicans and conservatives, Illinois Review asked for ideas about what the IL GOP should do to turn itself around and several thoughtful responses came in. In order to be as transparent as possible, we're going to publish these response verbatim as they came in.

First, Ron Brzoska's thoughts:

In response to your call for ideas that the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee could use, I am writing a list of ideas that I have had. Some I have even shared with SCC members, but since they are limiting public input (which is a mistake) and they need to hear our voices, here goes…

  1. Be open to new ideas. Talk to the people that do the volunteering, talk to the committeemen. Why do they help the Republican party? What are they looking for? What do they hear at events? What do they hear when they are knocking on doors? Don't rely on the limited reach of postcards and emailed surveys answering crafted questions. Listen to real experiences and ask follow up questions to get to the heart of the matter.
  2. Send the hacks home; hire professionals. Easier said than done, I know, given the sad state of ILGOP finances. There are too many people involved in campaigns that work on failed campaign after failed campaign. Why? It's still who you know and not what you know. They need real marketing professionals running the campaigns. They need people that understand that their base and the voters are customers and need to be treated as such.
  3. Bring about unity by having party officials staying out of primaries. Outside of allowing candidates such as ArthurJones carry the Republican label, DO NOT take sides in a primary. Do not have official endorsements during a primary. They are meaningless to the general public and create resentment within the party. The resentment even happens when the primaries are tame and don't have dirty tricks. The leadership creates an atmosphere of an upper and lower class within the Republican party.
  4. Work on new messaging. Blaming Madigan is old. No one cares. Blaming JB {Pritzker] is going to become just as old quickly. Most Illinoisans are dissatisfied. Very dissatisfied. The Republican Party has to show the voters how our policies will make Illinois worth staying for. Give voters something to vote for instead of asking them to vote against boogeymen.
  5. Stop being scared of Trump. This is probably the hardest thing for them to do, but they need to do it. When the party seems to ghost the president and seems to have a difficult time promoting the administration's accomplishments, it's hard to have a confident and hard working organization. The message that I hear from the average guy on the street that may have center-right leanings is "people are ashamed to admit that they are republicans." I've heard this many times from a wide variety of people. The ILGOP doesn't need to behave like Sean Hannity, but it does need to stop treating our president (that is carrying out many of the policies that we say we advocate for) like an embarrassment.

Good luck on the search for other ideas. Maybe we will get lucky and the ILGOP will steal some. Like Ronald Reagan said "There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit."

And from Steve Alban:

You asked……here is my two cents…..

Illinois Republicans will never be successful until they do two things. And I might add they are not very good at mirroring the Democrats.

One: The Illinois Republicans need to define themselves.

What do the Republicans stand for? Who is a Republican? Let me say this a different way…. Why do the Republicans in Illinois allow the Democrats to define them? Every year it is the same thing. The Democrats define the Republicans and the GOP loses more than it gains. 

For that matter, the Republicans need to identify and define what a Democrat is and how that impacts every citizen of Illinois. This needs to be a collective message tailored for each candidate and for a single, united platform. Turn the definition of who the Dems are into a platform for programs to mitigate what the Dems have done to this State. 

More about that another time…..

Two: The Illinois Republicans are terrible at messaging. The message does not reach the voters in this State. The media and the Dems act in unison. Still, Republicans do what the media and the Dems suggest, every time.  Why? The current way has been going on for 30 years. We let the editorial board ask pointed questions designed against the Republican traditional message. Why do we do that? Same for TV. 

Republicans need to share their values and message to younger people, as young as high schoolers. State wide there should be a grass roots movement for basic values Republicans care for. The Dems begin in those schools.

Again, more later…..


  • Define ourselves
  • Define the Democrats.
  • Turn the definitions into a platform
  • Message the platform and programs from high schools to senior homes all across the state

The Illinois GOP is a reactive mess. We need a proactive and aggressive action team. Without all of this well, yawn…. nothing shall change.

This is just the beginning of this discussion … feel free to offer your ideas at [email protected] There's more to come.


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  1. I agree with Ron’s third point. In 2009, when I ran for state rep., in the 17th District, I thought that the state party would be neutral, before the primary. Then-Chairman Pat Brady endorsed my liberal primary opponent.
    The general assembly should pass a bill that would state that Cook Co. primary voters would vote for precinct committeemen, like the voters of Illinois’ other 101 counties. That might cause more Republicans (including many conservatives) to walk precincts for primary candidates, if they’re running for precinct committeemen and giving information about themselves.

  2. – Stop making non-compete deals with Democrats in the Chicagoland area.
    – Run candidates in EVERY race, more GOP candidates bring out more GOP voters.
    – New marketing effort, new people and and new, younger, exciting candidates with new – yet Conservative – ideas and perspectives.
    – Stop the perennial losing candidates from running and embarrassing the party.
    – Good idea to search for motivated high school and college students. We should always looking for rebels and being a member of the GOP
    in today’s school environment is definitely rebellious. Embrace the Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk (Illinois boy) and Candice Owens-type
    and style of young and upcoming stars who don’t defend, they attack issues and double-standards.
    – Support the President, don’t pretend he doesn’t exist, he’s a fighter and we’ve been waiting for a fighter for DECADES. He is fighting
    for what we SHOULD all believe as Republicans.
    – Embrace and encourage diversity and explain why limited government, hard work and being entrepreneurial is a much better solution than
    government regulation, handouts and government picking winners and losers. Free Markets and how to take advantage of them.
    – Vocally support family formation with policies that support marriage, having children, owning a home, school choice, limited government.
    – Ask Pat Brady to retire to Minnesota, before January 1, 2020.

  3. So many great comments by all those who responded and the posters on this site.
    It will come to nothing. The ILL GOP does not really care.They will continue their suicidal path no matter how many intelligent and thoughtful suggestions are made.
    In addition, as I have state many times before, the demographics of this increasingly 3rd world population based state will doom the Republicans. Just like California which used to be a swing state.

  4. To me, the biggest problem has long been that the GOP collects money in bulk, then dilutes its value by spending it in small chunks with different campaigns.
    To make up a number – imagine the GOP has a million dollars. If they split it up, they can spend $50,000 each on 20 targeted state rep and state senate races. This might help those 20 candidates; it does nothing for any other Republican in that cycle.
    By contrast, remember the broad “Vote Republican – for a Change!” type of advertising campaigns in 1980, 1984, and to a lesser extent, 1994.
    If we spend that whole million bucks on a nice big ad buy across a media market like Chicagoland, we help all our legislative candidates, our county board and county and state constitutional officers candidates, and every other candidate with an R after his name across the media market…. heck, it even helps Republicans across the state line in NW Indiana and SE Wisconsin!
    One of the things that keeps good people from running for office is the fact that, if it’s not a good swing or GOP base district, people feel like sacrificial lambs; they don’t get anything from the party, and they even get charged by the party if they hope to be included in a sample ballot mailing!
    We need to build the brand.
    Billboards, radio commercials, internet commercials, direct mail… the party should support the slate, not just a few targeted candidates.

  5. Here is a rebellious idea. Let us start the NEW ILLINOIS GOP. Draw away members who share our values, welcome in Republicans who are fed up with the existing GOP and then lets run roughshod over the old group until they look like road kill. That is the only way it’s going to change. The old leadership that continues to block and divert our efforts are not going to leave what power they hold. It has to be taken from them.

  6. The disgraceful Democrat hate and lie attacks against Trump and other Republicans these past three years should be great ammunition for a “VOTE REPUBLICAN…FOR A CHANGE” campaign.
    Never has the voting public been so exposed to what today’s Democrat (Socialist) Party has become. Time to take advantage of it.

  7. Republicans still win in southern Illinois. Down here they do not run away from President Trump. Thirty years ago this was Democrat country- coal mines, small farms, small business. People voted Democrat because their parents were Democrats. But they have woken up; they now know who is on their side. And it is not the Chicago machine, Obama, or Hillary.

  8. We sound like a cry baby Party to me. How can we unite when Jeanne Ives demands Tim Schneider resign every where she speaks. Tim Schneider does not like what he hears when people tell him what she says. Pat Brady is a liberal that conservatives will never accept. Does this sound good so far? We need to stop all of this crap and unite under a sensible platform where no one gets everything. We need to open our tent up and welcome new people. We do not have to support a gay platform! But welcoming gays to our party is not a bad thing. We need to listen to views on abortion. We do not need to change our pro- like position, but respect other women’s points of view. This does not seem like too much to give up, perhaps we might even gain some voters. Stop the fighting!!!!

  9. First you need a leader who can bring people together who has the knowledge or is a quick learner of who is who in Illinois politics. I am not that person, a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way. We then need to reach out to communities we’ve ignored as ‘lost to the Democrats’ and especially to our youth. We need to reach out to the Candace Owens to help us. We’ve spent almost 3 years of watching Trump – lets emulate that spirit of fighting back.
    Then, let’s look at the current GOP compact. Is that our core beliefs? If so, we keep and use it. Or we retool what needs to be retooled. Then we go after candidates. Lets help those that are just as fed up as we are and hold our values. Lets have some base line rules as to how we are going to support our candidates. Last, let’s bring in people from the old party who have been fighting for our base.
    I had not really thought this through until you asked so I’m sure there is a lot more than this.