Because Senate control is at issue, insufficient attention has been paid to 2014’s most important election, which is in the worst-governed state. Illinois incumbent governor is Pat Quinn, a compliant time-server who floated up from lieutenant governor when Rod Blagojevich became the fourth of the previous nine governors to be imprisoned. The state has high unemployment, low growth and more than $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. If voters ratify the state’s trajectory by reelecting Quinn, he will accelerate the downward spiral by continuing policies that have produced it, beginning by making “temporary” tax increases permanent. Republicans will win if their candidate, businessowner Bruce Rauner, wins and delivers, among other things, a campaign to term-limit the state legislators who, collaborating with government employee unions, buy job permanence using money looted from taxpayers.
Republicans also will win if Quinn wins, thereby making Illinois a scary example to the nation of the terrible toll taken by the “blue model” of governance. Although U.S. law allows a one-party city like Detroit to go bankrupt, there is no provision for state bankruptcies. Hence a Quinn victory would provide, perhaps within his next term, hair-raising excitement for the states’ masochistic electorate as lenders recoil from America’s Argentina.