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Op-Ed: IL GOP Chairman Don Tracy: New Boss Same as the Old Boss?

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Jennifer Nevins comments on WTTW

By Jennifer Nevins - 

Like many conservatives in this begotten state, I set aside my flaming outrage over the Presidential election to raise my glass to the news that Tim Schneider was finally abdicating his shopworn throne. He was getting out of Dodge. He was heading for the hills. He was leaving on the next RINO train smoking. Bottoms Up!

Several weeks later, his successor was chosen and I threw the glass in the sink.

Why?  Because nothing much is likely to change, that’s why. The State Central Committee switched out the record on the turntable, but the one they replaced it with has the same tempo and lyrics. Tim Schneider and Don Tracy share some of the same views on the same issues that caused the IL GOP to crater its support among its base-which is largely conservative and pro-Trump despite what Pat Brady and other political irrelevants think. From their shared reluctance to clean out the underbrush in the ranks, to their bleating about the need to have “ a big tent”  to their “ arm’s length” support of the most popular Republican President in recent history, Schneider and Tracy don’t seem to have much daylight between them.

In 2015, Schneider refused to so much as comment on the first ever censure of a sitting Illinois Republican Senator, Mark Kirk. Prior to being censured, Kirk had a history of publicly lambasting a sitting Republican President, and during the time of censure had joined forces with the Obama Administration to fund Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars. In 2019, Schneider refused to rebuke Senate Candidate Peggy Hubbard for a whole host of offenses including illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition in a school building and expletive laced racist Facebook rants.  

For his part, Don Tracy is strongly opposed to the censure of Adam Kinzinger-a longtime Republican pain in everybody- knows -what who is now creating a PAC to “ counter pro Trump sentiments” in the Republican Party, in addition to his outrageous support for an unconstitutional impeachment. Tracy explains his opposition to the censure as being rooted in his desire to “avoid fostering divisions in the Party.”  Pro tip: you cannot unite the Party by failing to restrain the people who are most responsible for dividing it.

In the aftermath of the thoroughly corrupted 2020 election, Tim Schneider refused to state his views on whether the results were skewed by fraud. He did not advocate for any auditing of votes in neighboring swing states and perhaps more incredibly, he did not call for an investigation into any of the numerous voting irregularities that affected several Illinois state and federal races. Unlike stalwart conservative Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward ( who actually takes her job as head of her state’s Party seriously) , he took a pass on the entire shebang.

Voting fraud doesn’t appear to be on Don Tracy’s mind either. He recently gave an interview wherein he stated that President Trump “ lost.”  After winning 18 out of 19 bellwether counties, Ohio and Florida, and ALL of the swing states until counting was jointly stopped on one bogus pretext or another, “lost” is not the right term to use. Frankly, we need a chairman who avoids terms such as “ cheated “ and “ stolen” like a fish needs a bicycle. If Tracy truly doesn’t understand that this election was a shameless con job, then perhaps he is too naive to be in the position he is in.  On the other hand, if he believes that Biden is illegitimate-but is reluctant to say it-then perhaps he is too cowardly to be in the position he is in.  It is one or the other, and neither one is good.

Tracy and Schneider also share some of the same supporters. To be fair, Tracy does have the support of conservatives such as Darin LaHood. However, anti-Trump Rodney Davis and Biden supporter Jim Durkin both gave their enthusiastic endorsements. And while the former is suspect, to say that the latter is cause for concern is a BIG LEAGUE understatement.

I know well the criticisms I will get from making these pointed observations. I will say, however, that while  I have lobbed quite a bit of criticism here, I also sincerely wish Don Tracy all  the luck in the world. I do not envy him the monumental task of righting a ship that is keeled over with a massive hole in its hull. My assumptions that  the new leadership will be a retread of the old leadership is perhaps not altogether fair. But I will say this without a shred of reservation: we have a history of terrible leadership from our GOP chairmen (certainly predating Tim Schneider) and I won’t apologize for seeing  echoes of the past in the present. 

Every person reading this knows what an epic mess we find ourselves in-both nationally and at the state level. But the answer to that predicament is not milquetoast platitudes and sops to faux unity at the expense of honesty and a willingness to get to the root of that predicament. This is the time for bold leadership What I am doing is urging each one of us who still cares about what happens in this state to not abdicate our responsibilities to be involved in in what happens at the state level in our Party. Too many of us stayed silent during Schneider’s poor management over the course of three disastrous election cycles. Too many of us shrugged it off when local candidates we supported received zero help from the Illinois GOP. Too many of us tolerated the fact that our hard working, deserving President was not properly supported. Too many of us thought that since our voices were not valued, it was better to remain quiet. 

 It is  up to US to hold our new Party Chairman -and the rest of the GOP leadership-accountable. If Don Tracy throws off the destructive mindsets of past chairmen and commits to re-engaging the conservative base, then I will gladly apologize for being a vocal skeptic.

Look, our time as Illinois conservatives in NOW. In 21 months, the Harris regime will have this nation-and this state-in such a complete and utter Marxist mess that all voters to the right of De Blasio will be very willing to consider true conservative candidates. 2022 will be our best ( and likely last) chance to primary poor representatives of the Republican Party and to run candidates in districts previously thought not worth bothering with. The “ big tent” Tracy calls for will happen naturally as a result of terrible Democrat policy. It doesn’t need to happen by courting Trump detractors and political shape shifters.

Mr. Tracy, out with the old. In with the new. 

9 COMMENTS

  1. We need to shake up IL just like Trump shook up the country and made it better! Too bad this state can’t pick a winning, ambitiously Conservative GOP leader to save its life, but each county sure can turn itself around and right its ship and that’s what we must do. County by county start flipping seats with better candidates! We need Make America Great Leadership! RINOs don’t work for We the People.

  2. The alternative was Mark Shaw, a supreme Rino I know all too well here in Lake County. Neither Shaw or Schneider were raising any money and at least Tracy can throw in some of his family’s money. Tracy is not the problem in the Illinois Republican party. It is the primary voters who keep returning the same bums to Springfield who put in “leadership” far worse than Tracy and who should get rid of Darrin Lahood and Rodney Davis, not just Kinzinger. Anybody who didn’t stand up against the stolen election on January 6th needs to go. And while we are at it, elect county clerks and county board members who demand to count elections by hand in the precinct in front of election observers. Too many Downstate “Republican” counties are for sale to the highest bidder.

  3. Shake up the Illinois GOP? That happened years ago, leaving a trail of lost elections and total Democratic dominance. Last statewide GOP victor in an election was in 2014, and after the Democrats chewed up Bruce Rauner, traitor RINOs within the GOP cheered his defeat to ultra liberal, incompetent Governor Pritzker.
    And in the face of those election slaughters our message is more of the same? Breathtaking insanity is failure on steroids.
    Tracy got elected with 52% of the weighted vote against someone who got 48%? His opponent’s track record of turning Lake County solidly blue in the past 6 years was worthy of 48% of the vote for statewide chair?
    Insane. Kinzinger has a point. The true RINOs aren’t called Tracy.
    The Illinois GOP had little to nothing to do with the recall vote against a Democratic Supreme Court Justice and little to nothing to do with the successful defeat of the “Fair Tax” of the current ultra liberal governor.
    And Nevins wants more of the same? Insane.

  4. Jenny, honey. You said, “Unlike stalwart conservative Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward ( who actually takes her job as head of her state’s Party seriously).”
    Two Democratic Senators and a slate of Joe Biden electors tells me otherwise. I know you live in a safe bubble where Trump is still President. Just stay there, and never vote or be active again. You’ll be happier that way.

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