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Cross-posted from Blue Downstate

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.

Originally posted to Aaron Camp on DailyKos on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Land of Lincoln Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:41:06 AM PDT

  •  Is there a history of primaries from the right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    You're correct. This doesn't exactly make sense. We don't really have these problems in California.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:44:11 AM PDT

    •  The only two instances that I know of... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      ...have been in U.S. House races in West Virginia (2010, 1st District) and Oklahoma (1994, 2nd District).

      The only Democrat that I know of who is running for re-election in 2014 who could realistically be primaried from the right happens to be our state's incumbent governor, Pat Quinn, however, that's over a single issue (pension reform), and, if Bill Daley wins the primary and then wins the general election, he'll probably be primaried from the left in 2018.

      My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

      by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:51:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  start with primary challenges from the left (2+ / 0-)

    even if they never win, they will start making an impact

    •  Primaries from the left do happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betterdemsonly, Stude Dude, aaraujo

      but the don't get the funding nor the support from the Democratic establishment.

      A great example is the primary race between Christine Cegelis and Tammy Duckworth

      *My answer to your post and the diarists question.

      •  Neither Cegelis nor Duckworth... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aaraujo

        ...were incumbents in that race. That was an open-seat race for Congress (6th District of Illinois, 2006).

        There's been many instances of the most centrist candidate winning a Democratic primary for a race against a Republican incumbent or an open-seat race, although it's extremely rare for an incumbent Democrat to lose a primary from the right.

        My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

        by DownstateDemocrat on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point stands (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfangus
          but they don't get the funding nor the support from the Democratic establishment.
        •  All Cegelis did was work tirelessly to turn DuPage (4+ / 0-)

          County blue.  All elected Democrats in the county owe their positions to the tireless organized she did.  She built an infrastructure during her two runs for Congress.

          So in 2006, Rahm Emmanuel, Dick Durbin, Rod Blagojevich, and Barack Obama decided to drop in a carpetbagger who did not even live in the district instead of running her against Republican Mark Kirk who represented the slightly Democratic tenth district.

          I suggest that you take a look at a recent diary of mine and take a close look at the comments of a delver rootnose who is a long time progressive organizer and occasional blogger from that area.  This comment will give you a taste.

          Then take a look through the archives at Prairie State Blue and seen what damage and vitriol are on the public pages.  I live down by Peoria, and long time Democrats still discuss the fallout from that primary.

          "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

          by Illinibeatle on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:07:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's not primaries from the right, it's the fear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson, Stude Dude

    of the Republican propaganda.  It's the whole "tax and spend liberal" attack they're afraid of.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:06:44 AM PDT

  •  Maybe they are thinking about general? Or are (0+ / 0-)

    simply worried about campaign contributions? Also, you're trying to create some sort of grand theory based on one vote. I'm sure if you picked another vote you could have created a very different theory.

  •  Maybe The Left Should Give Them Something To (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    worry about.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 10:35:54 AM PDT

  •  A legacy of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DownstateDemocrat

    the '80s, where some Larouchers wound up on the ticket to statewide office?

    Probaby the best example of a successful challenge from the left was Mosely Braun versus Alan Dixon in '92.  Except for 4 years of Sen. Obama, that seat's been cursed with mediocrity.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:14:16 AM PDT

    •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DownstateDemocrat

      It really is amazing how far the country has moved to the right on economic issues the past few decades. I mean, heck, Obamacare was a Republican idea 20 years ago. Now, it's viewed as being of the left!

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