Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Gorman is the centrist we need

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By Ray Hanania

Most people in Cook County laugh when they hear the words “local Republicans.” That’s because the Republican organization in Cook County and in Illinois is a mess.

Many Democrats I know shrug their shoulders and ask, “Who cares?” It’s more of a statement of fact than a question. The few Republicans who do exist have given up on Cook County, as violence rages through its heart in Chicago and spreads to the suburbs.

Republicans in the collar counties are fleeing, writing off the county because it’s easier to do that. They blame all of the county problems on one person–Mike Madigan–but fail to recognize it is shared.

We need someone to fill that void. Cook County needs a voice to challenge the growing power of the new Machine.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

I’m not talking about the Machine that the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley founded; which, despite controversies and privileges, provided services and safety to residents.

Today, the county Democrats are influenced by some worthless players, like Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who can’t suppress crime.

There was one bright spot when veteran Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced hoaxster and liar Jussie Smollett to 150 days in the Cook County Jail, even as Foxx and others defended their friend and tried to claim he was the victim of racism.

In most cases, however, criminals are released and given slaps on their gun-toting hands or slip through the system because people like Lightfoot have no idea how to stop crime.

Something must be done to change this crime-driven, corrupt dynamic. One answer is to elect some Republicans who can add a sane counter voice to the failed policies.

As I have written before, Cook County is on the verge of losing its Republican presence on the County Board. It’s not like the Cook County Board can, by itself, change anything. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle works hard to do what’s right. But the weight of the system makes it impossible to do anything. And the deep divide, the polarization that exists in this country, makes it even more difficult.

What the country needs is a new party. Not a third party, but a centrist party. Both Republicans and Democrats are being held hostage by small groups of extremists silencing the majority. A centrist party might free them.

Revitalizing the Cook County GOP is easier than revitalizing the national GOP.

Most Cook County voters are Democrats. But more than half are conservative Democrats, whom some might call Reagan Democrats. They support a mix of ideas from both sides because they put their interests above the interests of either party.

Republicans need to re-elect Liz Gorman, a centrist, to the 17th Cook County District, which cuts through the largest segment of the suburbs. She was a strong voice for taxpayers when she was on the board, and more importantly, she knew how to get Democrats to embrace many of her ideas.

It sounds like nothing, but when Todd Stroger introduced it and the Democratic controlled board passed the one-cent sales tax increase, Gorman (a Republican) convinced most of those Democrats to join her effort to repeal it. It was repealed. Her efforts also led to the blocking of the soda pop tax.

We can’t save America from the mess we are in. We don’t have a good choice in either party. President Donald Trump was unable to achieve anything because he couldn’t get past his pettiness. He would unleash nuclear rage on his critics, rather than fight for what was needed.

In contrast, his successor, President Joe Biden, isn’t tough enough. He ignores the pettiness, but he just doesn’t have it.

Neither can bring the country together. Both fuel the partisan divide which makes this country weak in the face of growing Russian aggression.

Somewhere in the middle, we must build a new political movement of centrists. These would be liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats who put their needs about the selfish ideology of the political parties.

Electing Gorman to the Cook County Board before the GOP vanishes is a good start. She knows how to bring everyone together, something we need to overcome, especially because of rising taxes, costs and crime.

As taxpayers, we must put our interests first, above the interests of those political leaders who put themselves above the rest of us.

I know most voters see this, but can’t get out of the extreme polarization on the national or local level.

Gorman can put the focus back on stopping rising taxation and rising crime. She will take the focus off of partisan politics.

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

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