Whenever you see a statement from the Democratic Party of Illinois, you can be supremely confident that House Speaker Michael Madigan – the party’s longtime chair – approves of the sentiment.

And the same goes for the Illinois Republican Party and Governor Bruce Rauner, who accounts for 95 percent of the party’s total fundraising since January 1. No way will that party deliberately say anything that is contrary to the governor’s wishes.

Governor Bruce Rauner said last week that he has never spoken with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel or any legislators about a much-anticipated proposal to toughen penalties for gun crimes.

You might think that months of bipartisan cooperation on numerous criminal-justice-reform bills would make that particular topic off-limits for campaigns this year.

You’d be wrong.

An organization controlled by Governor Bruce Rauner has spent a million dollars in a little over a week on a new television ad promoting legislative term limits. And that’s just for starters.

Is Illinois the next state to deal with “voter suppression”? Maybe, depending how you look at it.

“Do you think he knows what he’s doing?” asked a top Republican last week about House Speaker Michael Madigan’s high-profile role at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

To understand the effect that Governor Bruce Rauner has had on the Illinois Republican Party, you need to go back a few years.

Right off the bat, I should say that I think the so-called “stopgap budget” signed into law on June 30 was a good idea. People and organizations that rely on state government desperately needed a break from the all-out legislative war between the two ideologically entrenched parties.

Governor Bruce Rauner has been touring Illinois to talk about his new “messaging.” He’s quite excited about his “messaging” plans, telling one reporter that if he could do anything differently about his tenure so far, it would be to improve the way he gets his message out to voters.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan rose to give his customary year-end speech after the chamber had concluded its legislative business last week and pointed his finger right at Governor Bruce Rauner.

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