In his highly watched War Room podcast, Steve Bannon made two exceptions to his “donors are morons” comment that I wrote about last fall. It was good to hear about these exceptions.
During the recent contest for the Republican National Committee Chairmanship, both “mega donors” Richard Uihlein and Bernie Marcus signed a letter calling for a change in the RNC’s leadership. It was time, they said, for Ronna Romney McDaniel to leave and make way for new blood.
While that was also welcome news, Richard Uihlein’s desire for change in Illinois politics seems to be absent. Completely. He has funded the same old players in the Land of Lincoln for many years. These people have made no progress even as they have personally profited handsomely.
Republicans hold no statewide state-level offices, neither U.S. Senate seat, are diminishing as a percentage of the U.S. Congressional delegation, and are in super minorities in both the state house and the state senate.
Yet—and let this sink in—Richard Uihlein continues to write checks and has spent a combined hundreds of millions of his dollars and has won nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I’ve known Bernie Marcus’ name for a long time, and once, many years ago, had the opportunity to meet Dick Uihlein—albeit briefly. The impression he made on me is what you’d expect from someone wildly successful in business: bright, with a quick wit.
But the men he has used as his political gatekeepers, to say the least, are not deserving of that position. I have been in meetings with these gatekeepers where even the simplest of concepts were presented—and those guys were not able to grasp them. Or, and this might be just as likely, they weren’t able to figure out a way for them to financially profit from what was presented. The result is that the vast majority of the political work that needs to get done remains undone in Illinois Republican/conservative/and MAGA politics.
Marcus and Uihlein rightly called for change at the national level—they did not get it but at least they understood it was needed. The fact is we won the U.S. House nationally. On the contrary, here in Illinois, near complete failure has been the result for going on twenty years. Richard Uihlein isn’t to blame. What he has donated over the past many years has been more than enough to actually put in place what is needed to start winning. The blame lies with the recipients of his generosity.
So, what’s the solution? Dick Uihlein is simply listening to and donating to the wrong people in Illinois politics. Illinois cannot be turned purple and then red by the same people who have wasted so much of Uihlein’s money. They have proven beyond doubt they have no idea how to win.
Image credit: Marcus–Atlanta Jewish Times; Uihlein–adapted from YouTube/New York Times.