By Josh Ross
If the surprising and unanticipated results of the 2016 election should have taught us anything here in Macoupin County, it’s very simply that there is no more business as usual for us Dems. We have been fortunate for decades here in Macoupin County. We have been viewed throughout the state as a bastion of Democratic Party success and strength. We are viewed as a strong hold of the party in downstate Illinois. The Republican Party in Macoupin County has not won election to a county wide office in a generation. Unfortunately, success breeds complacency and complacency leads to failure. For too long, we have had the luxury of being able to bask in our perennial success. Election cycle after election cycle we have put forth strong candidates who have been carried to office in Carlinville. All that changed on November 8, 2016. Despite some very strong candidates, there was not one opposed race above the county level that went favorably for the Dems. If we want to be more honest with ourselves, if one looks at the numbers, this has been coming for quite some time. In all honesty, we didn’t work hard enough. We didn’t take things seriously enough. We didn’t mobilize with the urgency that was necessary and we paid the price. Fortunately, our county offices that were on the ballot were unopposed but do not fool yourself for one minute, those days are over.
You see, we’re not the only ones who can look at numbers. If you think for one moment that our friends from the other party are not licking their chops and rounding up solid candidates to challenge every county office in future elections, you are mistaken. Our Republican friends have recently had a shake-up in leadership and their new chairman is a hard worker. He’s said publically that he wants more feet on the ground, wants more contested elections at every level. This is a sounding of the alarm for us Dems as much as it is a rallying cry for Republicans. 2016 showed that we can no longer take anything for granted, that we can no longer just assume that our friends, neighbors and families will vote the right way, that we can no longer be complacent and assume that we will win simply because we’re Democrats in Macoupin County and that’s just what we do. I hope that everyone understands that elections in 2018 start now. We cannot sit back and assume that an 11th hour push will get us over the hump. Planning and organizing needs to be happening now. The Republican Party in Macoupin County is no longer our perennial punching bag, it is and will be a formidable foe and if we choose to ignore them, we do so at our own peril.