Last week news broke that many of us [in Illinois] thought would never come: Mike Madigan has actually (finally) been indicted.
Immediately, elation set in among Madigan’s many, many foes. Boss Madigan is going down and his enablers will finally be held accountable at the ballot box.
But…is any of that statement true?
The day Madigan was indicted, I posted, “Mike Madigan: Guilty until proven guilty.” Point being, we all know Madigan is guilty. We’ve known it for years. Even in conversations I’ve had since with Democrats, apolitical people, members of the media, and even Madigan’s former precinct workers, everyone has echoed the same thing: he’s always been guilty.
But can the feds prove it? It reminds me of a line from the surprisingly good movie, Law Abiding Citizen: “It's not what you know, it's what you can prove in court.” While the indictment shows instances where Madigan wasn’t as careful as we all assumed, he still successfully led an “enterprise” for decades that many knew was corrupt and likely illegal yet couldn’t take down.
We don’t know if this was the feds reaching the conclusion of what they considered a wildly successful investigation proving Madigan’s guilt without a doubt—or their investigation culminating with much less proof than expected but they moved forward with an indictment anyhow to at least try to take Madigan down.
While we wait for the legal drama to unfold, it’s important we understand the political ramifications because many are misreading the tea leaves.
It’s true Madigan’s indictment is yet another drag for Illinois Democrats, and the negatives are piling up. But there are three very important things to keep in mind when strategizing for November:
Most importantly, this trial isn’t happening by November of this year.Heck, it might not happen by November of next year. The time from indictment to trial date for those in Madigan’s “inner circle” indicted in the ComEd bribery case (Mike McClain, Anne Pramaggiore, John Hooker, and Jay Doherty) was 22 months, and that trial date might be pushed back in light of this indictment. Those expecting the daily news to be nothing but negative coverage of Mike Madigan between now and November are going to be disappointed.
Another important thing to note is corruption doesn’t move votes in Illinois like it should. Despite polling consistently telling us Illinoisans are sick of corruption, when featured in campaigns the issue repeatedly has failed to win elections. It’s one of a handful of issues that polls well in standard support/oppose questions but drops like a rock in priority questions. Why? Because there’s no direct connection to people’s daily lives. As memorialized in “Boss,” voters in Chicago and much of Illinois care only that things are getting done to make their lives better, not how those things are accomplished. (I’m not saying that’s right…just saying that’s how it is.)
Finally, Mike Madigan isn’t on the ballot in 2022. I’m afraid Republican operatives will use this as an excuse to fall back on the mostly failed “Madigan! Madigan! Madigan!” strategy. This tactic works in specific instances where the Democratic candidate has low name recognition and direct dots can be connected showing they’ve worked with Madigan to make people’s lives worse: a prime example being Justice Thomas Kilbride in 2020. But the vast majority of the time, “your state rep is bad because Mike Madigan is bad” has failed miserably—voters would gladly vote against Madigan if given the chance, but guilt by association doesn’t stick.
A red wave is coming in November of 2022 because, for the first time in memory, Republicans dominate on every issue voters care about right now. In poll after poll over the past year, the top issues to Illinoisans have been crime, the economy, and inflation, three issues on which voters strongly favor Republicans. That’s where our focus needs to be. (Additionally, while voters have extremely short attention spans on national security issues, if Russian aggression continues as we approach November, that’ll be yet another top issue for voters that favors Republicans.)
With suburban voters and key demographics softening towards Republicans, the stars are aligning for Republicans in this election…as long as we don’t screw it up. And thinking the indictment of Mike Madigan last Wednesday was the key to us winning in November is exactly how we can screw it up.
Collin Corbett is Founder of Cor Strategies, based in Inverness, Illinois
Mitt Romney was supposed to win and I could name a lot more Republicans that didn’t win because they were just “but at least I am slightly better than the other guy”. We have big money spending on ads that talk conservative for people like Irwin and Sullivan that were never conservative in their actions, just so many Illinois Republican Governors of the past. The Republican brand name is mud in Illinois and deserves to be because of this track record.
Typical consultant that just talks in generalities. What can we do in Illinois about inflation other than cut the incredible local corruption that powers some, but not most of it? The real top issues in Illinois are election fraud and our horrible education system that is behind most of the crime and economic problems in Illinois. But consultants hate you to be specific—they just want simple TV and social media themes that generate 35% commissions for ads. Heaven help you if you spend money on mailings and grass roots that might help you get your ideas out.
Timely and informative article that needed to be reminded to all Republicans. This is Illinois. Thanks, Collin.
Agree with Grant – never have read a more vapid or shallow assessment of the Illinois electorate. What is the point of this column?
There should be an advertising disclaimer on this, as well as a disclosure of who Mr. Corbett is working for.
Feel free to submit your op-ed to Illinois Review, Mr. Noble. We look forward to sharing your expertise and your history of political victories with our Illinois conservative audience.
Likewise, John S. – Feel free to offer your opinion and expertise about Illinois politics to Illinois Review – simply compose and send to [email protected].
We encourage our readers to offer their solutions in addition to their criticisms.
Typical consultant that just talks in generalities….. Case in Point: I spoke with Gary Rabine’s Point man in Springfield, Illinois.
When asked, Will Gary Sign PRO-LIFE legislation if it comes to his desk? The Consultant said, “DON’T YOU SEE THE NEED TO BE AMBIGUOUS? Lol, So the Rabine Campaign says TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP, then when you get an answer like I did, I ask myself, WHAT was TRUMP EVER ambiguous about!?
Thank you for publishing Mr. Corbett’s column and asking for commenters with opposing views to offer their own solutions.
I remember a time when I, too, accused all political consultants of being what are now called “grifters”, and whenever a consultant submitted an op-ed, they were trolling for clients.
Given we’re in final days of petition filing for the 2022 primary, it seems a little late to be trolling for clients in 2022.
At least in the case of Mr. Corbett, his consulting firm is Illinois-based, compared with the out-of-state consultants helping many other candidates in Illinois in high profile races.
May voters discern passed the consultants and the consultants messaging and discern the truth of the candidates/clients themselves in 2022.