Five candidates will enter the theatre in turn.
The first candidate is a 54 year old white man from a famous political family. He wears a suit with slightly baggy trousers and a tie in London Overground orange. He starts by introducing his daughter, who is in the audience, and he hopes that all of his children will decide to keep living in Illinois when they grow up. He complains that the state funds its schools through local property taxes rather than a progressive income tax. He believes this may have something to do with corrupt elected officials who also work as property tax appeals lawyers, and attacks the notorious machine politics of the state.
The second candidate is a 52 year old white man who has a estimated net worth of $3.5 billion. He does not wear a suit, because he is really rich, and really rich people do not need to wear suits. He does, however, have highly polished brown shoes. He also supports a progressive income tax, has ‘put out a plan’ for expanding healthcare and makes a supportive passing reference to a $15 minimum wage. He also says “I’ve worked harder than anyone else on…” multiple times. An audience member asks a detailed question about the backlog in processing rape kits. The candidate is awaiting the results of a commission on the issue.
The third candidate is a 40 year old white man and former mathematician at the University of Chicago. He wears a suit with a pale pink tie and does not have many prepared remarks, deferring instead to audience questions. He does, however, also support a progressive income tax. He does not support lowering the age at which teenagers should be tried as adults for property crimes, nor does he support term limits for ordinary legislators. His speech pattern drifts in and out of emphasis, as if he has been told to practice slowing down at key moments. Occasionally he responds to an injustice with a trio of synonyms (“it is unconscionable… it is immoral… it is wrong”). He is helpful in providing unflattering background notes on the second candidate.
We do not stay for the final two candidates, and nor does most of the audience. It is difficult to judge which candidate would be best for the role of Governor, given that the actual job has very little to do with public speaking abilities. On the walk home, Randi convinces me that her rank ordering is probably right. The primaries are in March, followed by the general election in November. I will watch with interest.
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