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Di Leo: A Much Easier Decision Than It Looks

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Candidate debate stage
 
By John F. Di Leo – 
 
We watch Dr. Mehmet Oz on television, and we feel that we have a decision to make.  In his long career in the public eye, why didn’t he talk about more of these issues before? Why did he first start talking about politics only when he became a candidate himself?  Is he really ready to be the best senator we can get?
 
We watch Herschel Walker on television and we feel that we have a decision to make.  If this story is a lie, how did his own son fall for it? And if it’s true, why wasn’t the campaign prepared with a more organized response when it surfaced? Is he really ready to be the best senator we can get?
 
We watch Darren Bailey on television, and we feel that we have a decision to make.  He’d been a local politician – a school board member, then state rep, then state legislator – for a long time, but he was downstate; he’s pretty new to the big leagues of big city news coverage. Is he really ready to be the best governor Illinois can get?

We ask these questions of ourselves all the time, about every single candidate who catches our attention. 
 
And we’re not alone; we all ask ourselves these questions about qualification and perfection, about readiness and well-roundedness.  Republicans and Democrats alike, from the 24/7 news junkies to the folks who never really start paying close attention until a month before a general election.
 
Are they fair questions?  Sure. And in a primary, as we try to pick the best choice for our party, they’re helpful.
 
But by the time the general election rolls around… none of this really matters at all.
 
We don’t want to admit it.  We were raised on civics classes in grammar school, and on the cartoon “I’m Just A Bill” from SchoolHouse Rock on TV.  We see state and federal legislative hearings as we flip through the channels.  
 
So we believe – as an article of faith – that it really matters which individual person is sitting in that seat.
 
It certainly mattered once.  And we should all hope that someday, it will matter again.  
 
But it doesn’t today.
 
Today, the most important thing – by a factor of five, or fifty, or maybe a hundred – is whether the politician has an R or a D after his name.  That’s all.
 
That certainly wasn’t the plan.  Our Founding Fathers were on record opposing the concept of political parties. The Framers of the Constitution took great care to ensure that the concept of “factions” wasn’t built into our system at all.  But four years into the first administration, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison embarked on a recruitment tour, and before you knew it, these fledgling United States were steeped in a partisanship from which we’ve never escaped.
 
Nearly every bill today passes on a party-line vote. And if that’s not enough to stress the problem, virtually all the power – ALL – in both the state and federal legislatures is held by the party that holds the majority.
 
If the Democrats win the majority of the House or Senate – or, heaven forfend, both – then the Democrats can not only make sure that most of their bills pass and most of the Republican bills fail, but it’s even worse: that majority can ensure that their opposition’s bills can never even come up for debate in the chamber.  Republicans propose tax cutting bills, spending reduction bills, regulatory reforms… and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have the power to ensure that they never see the light of day.
 
“What’s that?” you ask!  “But the press didn’t report that!”  The mainstream media didn’t say the Republicans proposed this bill or that one, offered this solution or that one.  Why not?  Because it never got out of committee.  It never got the benefit of a committee hearing, let alone a vote.  And the Democratic Party’s allies in the newsmedia can happily say, “we didn’t bury the story; there was no story to bury! That bill died in committee!”
 
That’s the plan.
 
Everything today is partisan… by design.
 
You might not expect it to be the same in the executive branch, but it is.  
 
A governor or president appoints hundreds, even thousands, of people, as department chiefs and deputies, as agency directors and personnel managers, as policy promulgators and enforcers.  Who will he or she pick to fill these roles?  Elect a Democrat, and he will appoint Democrats up and down the roster.  Elect a Republican, and he will appoint Republicans.
 
But surely there are differences between them, from man to man, aren’t there?  A matter of degree, a matter of attitude, at least?
 
Once, sure.  But today? Very little.
 
When we say our nation has become incredibly partisan, that is true, but it’s not about the mean-spiritedness and personality clashes that the pop culture would have us believe.
 
The fact is, today’s Democrats are remarkably, historically united – due to successfully purging their party of all dissent – along a certain shockingly-radical agenda.  No matter which Democrat you elect or appoint, he or she is sure to support virtually unlimited levels of taxation, of bureaucratic power, of government expansion. Every Democrat will support unrestricted importation of illegal alien foreigners,  taxpayer-funded transsexual surgery, abortion-on-demand without parental consent all the way up to the moment of birth.  
 
Even if an individual Democrat legislative candidate says he opposes any of these things, he will still vote for the Democratic majority, the Democratic spending bill, the Democratic policy that implements it.  What good does it do for a single congressman to say he would restrict abortion after the fifth month, if he then votes for his party’s omnibus bill that mandates unrestricted abortion-on-demand?
 
The Republican Party of today is nowhere near as united, but in a way, it cannot be. As the Democratic Party has ejected every politician who is insufficiently “intersectionalist,” the big tent of the Republican Party has had to grow big indeed, to hold everyone else.  But that’s still sufficient for us, as the voters, because even if the Republicans aren’t as clear, as sharp, as philosophically pure as some would want, at least the Republicans stand in opposition to the Democrats.
 
And knowing what the Democrats stand for today, frankly, that’s enough.
 
So… can we analyze each candidate, issue by issue, to see if he or she is worthy? Can we agonize over every bit of opposition research, every apparent contradiction, every dalliance or news interview or business dealing from ten or twenty years ago?  Sure we can, if we want to.
 
But we should also remind ourselves that, in the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter.
 
Because what matters today, most of all, is whether this representative or senator will vote to empower a Republican or a Democrat as speaker or majority leader.  What matters is whether this governor will appoint Republicans or Democrats to serve as his agency heads.
 
Nothing else really matters.  Oh, you may want it to matter; you may tell yourself that this guy’s ability or inability to work the mic in a senate hearing will really matter in the grand scheme of things (dirty little secret: more than half of their musings are written for them by partisan staff anyway).  But in the final analysis, everything else pales in comparison to the question of whether a Republican or a Democrat holds that office.
 
Now, there are downsides to this fact.  It means we need to admit that the broad government of wise individual thinkers that our Founders designed for us is gone.  Unavailable. Unachievable, at least for now.  It is sad.  It’s a loss of innocence.
 
But there is an upside too.  When you acknowledge reality, when you really take off the rose-colored glasses and see things as they really are, everything gets easier.  There’s no longer any need to agonize over whether Dr Oz and Herschel Walker have read every bill, whether downstate Darren Bailey will ever conquer his southern accent and be able to order a Chicago pizza like a native.  
 
We can focus on what matters.  
 
We can see – with clear eyes – that J.B. Pritzker’s policies – of spending federal covid money on buying off local governments,  of throwing open the prison gates and flooding the streets of Chicago with violent criminals, of driving out employers right and left by further sops to the shop stewards like Amendment 1 – are simply lethal to the state of Illinois.  It doesn’t matter whether the Republican we nominated was the strongest or best we could have chosen; what matters is that he’s certain to be better than the Democrat.
 
And by the same token, in our fifty state legislatures as in our nation’s capital, we can stop analyzing the Republican nominees to death and we can take a serious look at the psychotic, mathematically-challenged, history-denying marxists that the Democrats keep nominating.   Tammy Duckworth, John Fetterman, Mandela Barnes, and Rafael Warnock have all held a succession of elected and appointed jobs and been awful at every single one of them.  The Democratic Party is now doing its best to populate the US Senate with people who endorse radical crackpot psychiatry, who worship at the climate cult of Greta Thunberg and Al Gore, whose first and foremost goal is to stand against the Constitution of the United States, line by line and hour by hour.
 
And about individual stories about a specific candidate?  The mainstream media controls every story – whose side of the story gets out, whether witnesses or whistleblowers look credible or not, whether the candidate’s own response or defense is covered fairly or presented with prejudice.  As long as a campaign is about the specific candidates themselves, the Democrats will always win the news cycle, because the press and the pop culture are on their side.
 
It’s time we recognize this, and act accordingly.
 
It’s a hard truth, but it is reality. When we admit to the truth, a path forward becomes clear, and a light appears at the end of that tunnel.
 
There was a time, long ago, when ticket-splitting made sense.  
 
That time is long past, if we want our nation to survive and heal.
 
Copyright 2022 John F Di Leo
 
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, and former president of the Ethnic American Council, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.  

 A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

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