Let’s take a look at headlines from just one day in December.

If you want to see how Governor Bruce Rauner's mind works, you should skim through the vast trove of e-mails from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's private account that a Better Government Association lawsuit finally forced into public view last week. 

“This will be the most expensive race of our lifetime,” a Republican friend assured me last week about the apparently-already-begun 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

If Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker pulls the trigger and decides to run, we can expect that significant campaign spending could begin as early as next month – on both sides. And if last week is any indication, this is gonna be one nasty contest.

Top folks in the governor’s office said they didn’t quite understand last week why the Senate Democrats and the spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan were so upset with them about canceling last Thursday’s leaders meeting to discuss ending the long Statehouse impasse and finishing up a budget.

As Senate President John Cullerton sees it, Governor Bruce Rauner “needed an excuse” to veto a bill last week that would’ve given the Chicago Public Schools $215 million for its June 30 pension payment. And Cullerton believes he turned out to be that excuse.

There’s been a lot of spin from the Illinois House Democrats about how Tuesday’s losses were not that big a deal. Don’t believe it.

Democratic House candidate John Bartman was appointed to the ballot in July when Representative Jack Franks (D-Marengo) dropped out of the race to run for McHenry County Board chair. Bartman is not getting help from the House Democrats, who appear to have all but conceded.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is reportedly mulling whether to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed eight years ago by the Chicago Urban League. The suit essentially claims that Illinois’ education-funding system violates minority students’ rights because a disproportionate number of those kids reside in areas with the lowest property wealth and also attend schools with majority-minority enrollment. They’re basically getting shafted by the state, so they sued.

Since his inauguration, Governor Bruce Rauner has consciously aped Washington, DC’s notoriously noxious battle to “win” the daily media spin cycle. Rauner has a set base of talking points based on tried and true poll-tested topics, and he rarely if ever deviates.

Republicans have been saying behind the scenes that they have put four Democratic state Senators “on the bubble”: Tom Cullerton in DuPage County, Melinda Bush in Lake County, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant in Will County, and Gary Forby in southern Illinois.

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