Two years before former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn lost to Bruce Rauner it was becoming obvious that Quinn had created the conditions for his own defeat.
Remember the day at the State Fair when AFSCME members chased the Governor off the Fairgrounds?
Although they might not have agreed on much, both Quinn and Speaker Michael Madigan agreed on the plan to go after public employee pensions. In addition, Quinn had established his anti-union bona fides when in 2012 he became the first Illinois governor ever to unilaterally terminate a union contract.
But the state’s public employee union leadership, the two state teacher unions included, ignored the anger of the rank-and-file and of their retired members and retired non-members and doubled down on Quinn.
First they backed a Republican challenger to Bruce Rauner in the form of Kirk Dillard, the Illinois co-chairman of the anti-union American Legislative Exchange Council.
It was ALEC legislation that led to the wide-spread enactment of Stand-Your-Ground legislation across the country.
We know what happened with that: The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
Dillard was badly defeated in the Republican primary in spite of union support.
After flushing millions of campaign dollars down the toilet in Dillard’s losing effort to stop Rauner, the state union leadership spent more millions of PAC dollars to try to save the pathetic Quinn.
Yet tens of thousands of our own union members refused to listen to our union leaders and left the governor’s line empty, choosing none of the above rather than choosing between Quinn or Rauner.
Bruce Rauner and the chaos he has created is part of the lasting legacy of Pat Quinn and the failure of state union leadership to provide a working family, progressive alternative early enough to be effective.
Now they are forced to rely on Michael Madigan as their leader in the fight against Rauner.
Does any union member feel confident counting on Madigan as their leader?
In about two years the race to replace Bruce Rauner will be full on.
Will this be a case of here we go again?
Have the state’s union leaders learned nothing from their previous failure to organize far enough ahead to prevent another Rauner disaster?
Nothing I’m seeing suggests that they have.