#896: The 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Race (Or “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!”)

March 2nd, 2018

Welcome dear friends and hear now the story ‘a
A far-away land known as Gubernatoria
Where the grickle-grass grows and Whos have elocution
And each problem comes with a slogan solution.

There are Grinches and Sneeches, and Loraxi aplenty,
Enough to appease the Seuss cognoscenti.
But the land has a creature foul ’nuff to make eyes well
More than the other brain-kids of Ted Geisel.

Some were nice, some were stupid. Some possibly evil.
They’ve left our fair land in financial upheaval.
With the ship of state torn foremast to mizzen,
This “Governor” creature is oft found in prison.

Each four years we pick which creature we want
In a process half civics, half juvenile taunt.
The candidates fill mailbox and YouTube with smears.
Oh god this campaign’s aged me 8,000 years.

But in the race these good folks are running,
It’s not actual foes their blast ads are shunning.
Rauner fights against Blago, J.B. ‘gainst Trump/Pence.
Ives fights against women, trans folks and good sense.

Kennedy’s… fine, Biss might have a shot.
But there are others in-race who simply do not.
Daiber and Hardiman cling like barnicles (infraclass Cirripedia)
And there’s a guy named Bob Marshall, I read on Wikipedia.

But this race has much more powerful denizens:
Hamiltons, Lincolns and of course the Benjamins.
If wealth is a sin, this race is an obscenity.
One of the poor folks is a frickin’ Kennedy!

Rich is to a Pritzker as handsome’s to Nate Fillion.
J.B. has a net worth of three point four billion.
Rauner’s $500 mil is not to sneer at, man.
Last time a Bruce was this rich, he was Batman.

Donor caps ensure democracy sits unplundered.
A company can’t give more than eleven thousand, one hundred.
Five point six thou tops out individual savers
To make sure they don’t buy residual favors.

But you can skip donor caps in a nifty way.
Just give your campaign two-fifty K.
Give yourself quarter-million, donors can give much more.
Campaign finance reform is just for the poor.

Kennedy, Pritzker and Rauner self-gave deep, so the caps get a miss.
For all in the race — Hardiman, Marshall, Daiber, Ives, Biss.
The reasoning’s so millionaires can’t buy themselves races
But it just opens all to conflicts and disgraces.

When Ken Griffin gave twenty-two million to Bruce,
Rauner’s own fifty mil was Kenny’s excuse.
But it opened up Ives to Super PAC man Dick Uihlein.
For 2.5 million, she’ll latch to him like a buoy line.

Call it Fat Cat in the Hat, the Billionaire Battle Book,
No Seussian term can our goose uncook.
Wockets share pockets our candidates are deep in
As the rich-poor divide seems to steepen and steepen.

As the race funds move past reason and restraint,
I’ll never like this — call me Sam-I-Ain’t.
But I have a secret, one I’ll tell only you.
Luckily, folks, this story’s not true.

Gubernatoria’s fiction, a gift I bestow for
The birthday of Seuss — March 2, 1904.
There’s no grickle-grass or crooked election
In which money, not justice, cements our selection.

There’s no finance law you can buy your way past.
That would be evil. That just wouldn’t last.
A system this broken, we shouldn’t trust. Shant we?
Illinois’ not like this. I mean…

It just can’t be.

More on the finance law exemption

You can find in subsection h if you still don’t believe me

This is part of a series of poems about campaign finances. I’m not kidding.

What's this?

You are currently reading #896: The 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Race (Or “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!”) by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.