Yesterday, I wrote about some of the bright spots emerging from Tuesday’s election in both my own state of Missouri and our next-door neighbor, Illinois. As noted therein, Republicans flipped two state House seats (though need at least two more to overcome the Madigan/Democrat super-majority.)
One other development coming out of Tuesday: Nonbinding resolutions by several Illinois counties to kiss Chicago goodbye and form their own, separate state.
Several counties in Illinois on Tuesday passed nonbinding resolutions by wide margins to create a new state, separate from Chicago and Cook County.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 5, 2020
Now, again, those are nonbinding resolutions—basically, they’re little more than a temperature check for the degree of enthusiasm for such an inarguably drastic action. Nevertheless, as the Washington Examiner reports, twenty-four (24!) counties approved these measures. (There are 102 counties in Illinois, so that comes out to 23.5% of counties in the state.) Per the Examiner:
In Clay County, nearly 80 percent of voters approved the question. Nearly 73 percent of Shelby County voters approved, while 63 percent of Christian County voters did so and in Crawford County, nearly 76 percent of the voters said yes.
Of course, the move has its opponents.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said downstate Illinois needs Chicago.
“I think the benefits of Chicago outweighs the negatives of the entire state,” Ford said.
What sort of benefits? Rep. Ford added an interesting observation:
“The people in downstate Illinois, in rural parts of Illinois, believe it or not as I’ve said, they benefit from the crime that happens in Chicago because they have the prisons that they’re able to have jobs and an economy based on the crime that’s happening in Chicago,” Ford said.
That’s right, folks. Chicago is doing you a favor by having all that crime! Hey – thanks, Windy City! (I had to read that Ford quote three times to make sure I’d actually gotten it right.)
Rep. Ford’s persuasive argument notwithstanding, the road to separate statehood is no easy feat, and I wouldn’t expect to see a serious move toward it anytime soon. Not only would the move need to be approved by the state legislature (which, you’ll recall, is held by a Democrat super-majority—and I don’t expect many Democrats to get behind this effort), but also by the U.S. Congress. As it stands right now, that body looks to maintain a split between the Democrats and Republicans until at least 2022.
Of course, the state of “New Illinois” would carry with it two additional senators (likely Republican). As my RedState colleague Robert Hahn noted to me, this might serve as an offset to new statehood grants for D.C. and/or Puerto Rico. The trick there is the process noted above. A Congress that would approve statehood for D.C. or Puerto Rico likely isn’t a Congress that would approve statehood for “New Illinois.” (And vice-versa.)
Either way, it’s interesting to see the voters’ response to these measures. Obviously, there are quite a few Illinoisans who are fed up with the dominance of Chicago (and, to some extent, Springfield.)