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Most Illinois Democrats, whether they’re on Capitol Hill or in the State Capitol, apparently fear the prospect of having to face a primary challenge from the right more than they do a primary challenge from the left.
Indeed, most of the Democrats in the Illinois delegation in the U.S. House voted against an amendment that would have prohibited the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting data from innocent American citizens. Even two of the most liberal Illinois Democrats in Congress, Jan Schakowsky and Robin Kelly, voted against the amendment, presumably out of fear that loyal soldiers to President Obama and/or Senator Durbin would attempt primary challenges against them.
One of the main reasons why the marriage equality bill that passed the Illinois Senate never even made it to a vote in the Illinois House was because many Democrats in the state house were afraid of having to face primary challenges from anti-equality Democrats if they voted for marriage equality.
Why do Illinois Democrats have a tendency to fear the prospect of a primary challenge from the right more than they do a primary challenge from the left?
For the life of me, I am absolutely dumbfounded at seeing one Illinois Democrat after another thinking that the Democratic primary electorate in their constituency is full of center-right types, when, in most cases, it’s actually full of people who are to the ideological left of President Obama. The only area of Illinois where progressives are a minority of the Democratic primary electorate is the “Little Egypt” region of Southern Illinois, where 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney probably had the support of a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in the general election.
If progressives made a serious effort to organize against the Democratic machine and fight for control of the Democratic Party of Illinois, Illinois Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the General Assembly would probably vote to support progressive ideals more often.