George Will | Illinois: The effect of one-party rule

Democracy can be cruel because elections deprive the demos of the delight of alibis and the comfort of complaining. Illinois voters have used many elections to make theirs the worst-governed state, with about $100 billion in unfunded public pension promises and $6.7 billion in unpaid bills. The state is a stark illustration of the effect of prolonged one-party rule, conducted by politicians subservient to government employees unions.

A new Gallup poll shows that Illinois has the highest percentage — 50 percent — of residents who want to leave their state. If Illinois voters reelect Gov. Pat Quinn, they will reject Bruce Rauner, who vows to change the state’s fundamental affliction — its political culture.

The state’s strongest civic tradition is of governors going to jail. Four of the last nine have done so. Lt. Gov. Quinn ascended to the governorship in 2009 because Gov. Rod Blagojevich, of fragrant memory, tried to sell the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated. In 2010, Quinn defeated a downstate social conservative by 32,000 votes out of 3.7 million cast. Quinn’s job approval today is about 35?percent.

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