By Adam Schalke
After enduring a particularly bitter and drawn out election season, voters across Illinois had a chance to let their voices be heard with the Illinois primary election on March 15. For those unfamiliar with the finer details of elections and civics, primary elections are what determine the nominees for political parties. Whoever wins enough primary elections eventually goes on to become the nominee of their party in November during the general election.
On the presidential level, Bernie Sanders narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton, while Republican candidate Donald Trump scored a comfortable win against his opponents.
In the statewide races, however, results were much more favorable for Democrats. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, one of the subjects of widespread protest following the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, lost her renomination bid to challenger Kim Foxx by a hefty margin.
Many candidates backed by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner also took on huge losses in their renomination bids against candidates endorsed by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Anti-Rauner candidates, including Madigan himself, won virtually every major race in the state, solidifying the state Democratic Party’s position against the Governor’s policies.
“I think it was a bad day for Rauner, but do I think the losses will change his attitude or positions? Probably not,” said political science professor Paul Green in regards to the state office races.
Professor Green also expressed a lack of surprise over Hillary Clinton’s wins in Illinois and other states on Tuesday.
“People say she’s not a good campaigner, but in 2008, even when she was losing to Obama, she kept on fighting, and even though she lost she ultimately won more votes than him. If that doesn’t show toughness and strategy, I don’t know what does,” Green said.
Although she is not a resident of Illinois, Roosevelt student Sara Chappell-Dick was enthusiastic about voting in her native Ohio’s primary elections, also held on Tuesday, by means of an absentee ballot, and encouraged her fellow students in the Prairie State to do the same.
In response to voter apathy, Chappell-Dick cited the need to remind people of needing to change the system as her motivator.
“Our democracy as it currently stands is incredibly rigged against those of us who don’t have several billion dollars to throw at our candidate. But the truth is, that will not change unless we elect people who will make it change, and that takes everyone,” she said. “It’s really your only hope to bring that power back to the people.”