The last weekend of Illinois’ accelerated election campaign in 2022 began against a backdrop of intense guerrilla polarization as voters continued to be fed an increasing amount of anger-fueling political insults.

The disagreement on issues gave way to accusations of deliberately fueling divisions. Guerrilla ideologies have become more rigid as voters reward candidates for showing unwavering loyalty and rejecting pragmatism. Truth and institutions like the election process are under siege. Intimidation, threats and physical violence are becoming more common against those considered to be the enemy. This is a national template that has made it to Illinois.

“There is a decisive moment, a turning point,” President Joe Biden said in a speech a few days before he left for Illinois on Friday to support the suburban Democrats in Congress in the tightening races.

“There was anger in America before. There was already a division in America. But we’ve never abandoned the American experiment, and now we can’t do it, ”he said.

Biden’s speech on Wednesday followed the brutal att*ck on Paul Pelosi, husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was also delivered on the same day a Chicago man was arrested for threatening d*ath threats against state senator Darren Bailey of Xenia, a Republican contender for the governorate position.

“The violent rhetoric and divisions we observe in our country are unacceptable,” wrote Democrat Governor JB Pritzker on Twitter. “Hate of any form has no home in Illinois.”

In response, Bailey blamed the threat on the governor, who also received the threats. The Republican called it “exactly the product of JB Pritzker, you know, his divisions and his rhetoric.”

The governor’s campaign contained many lofty epithets, especially in the final televised debate between Pritzker and Bailey, in which they each called themselves “extremist.”

“Darren Bailey has surrounded himself with racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic people and organizations, including the prosecution of their chief Donald Trump,” Pritzker said.

The governor called Bailey a “threat to democracy” who “should not be allowed near the governor’s office.”

Bailey, in turn, said the problem was Pritzker, who “in his four years in office had led the state to division and hatred with racial ideas and ideologies.”

“That’s all Governor Pritzker can do, he ate with Donald Trump and (former GOP governor) Bruce Rauner and the Republicans. This man wants to divide us as a nation, ”said Bailey. “Divide, divide, divide. That’s all you can do.

Bailey, who was backed by Trump, continued the theme on Friday, highlighting Biden’s trip to the suburbs, saying: “The Pritzker-Biden agenda focuses on dividing the Americans and focusing on the polarization of national issues and fringe policies.”

Republican governorate and state senator Darren Bailey gives the thumbs up after speaking during the pre-campaign break at Abbington Distinctive Banquets on October 31, 2022 in Glen Ellyn.

While it may have reached new heights, the polarization revealed in campaigns, including the campaign for governor, predates Trump’s turbulent times, as the country’s political parties have lost their inner diversity in recent decades and politicians have clung to a stricter party ideology – in part because to survive potential underlying challenges.

“The Democratic Party had both the most conservative and the most liberal people until 1980. And to a lesser extent, it was the Republican Party, ”said Christopher Mooney, a political scientist. at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Within this structure, there were overlapping interests between the members of each party, which made trade-offs more achievable, Mooney said. But now, under the tough dictates of the party, compromise is seen as tantamount to political capitulation, leading politicians to take difficult positions, he said.

In addition, there are massive injections of money into campaigns that followed a 2010 US Supreme Court ruling equating political contributions to freedom of speech.

The dependence on the ultra-wealthy was particularly evident in Illinois, where Rauner, an equity investor, funded the Republican State Party and GOP legislative candidates during his short term in office, and was succeeded by Pritzker, the entrepreneur and billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, similarly financed the Democrats.

Bailey, a wealthy farmer, has benefited from an allied political action committee that is funded almost entirely by ultra-conservative mega-donator Richard Uihlein, billionaire founding office supply and packaging company Uline.

Relying on a handful of wealthy individuals has overturned traditional political fundraising.

“Both sides have been really decimated in terms of their structure and basic ability to raise money,” Mooney said.

Then came Trump, who developed a militant attitude towards any opposition, fueling concerns among voters about their motives, who had a controversial view of government institutions, and who presented himself as a political victim to appeal to those who felt neglected by the government. .

– Trump is not the cause of this. He took advantage of it. He armed the division and tightened it, ”Mooney said about the current state of politics. “He’s basically a showman and knows how to pull strings.”

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