The Rockford Files

We Are All Socialists Now

Rockford has long been a Republican city, which is not surprising considering that industry—at least through the 1980’s and, to a lesser extent, even now—has formed the basis of her economy.  Today, however, Rockford is becoming increasingly Democratic.  I do not necessarily mean that Democrats have begun to dominate city politics.  Even though the mayorship is in its third decade of Democratic control, the city council is still fairly evenly divided, and the last two Democratic mayors, John McNamara and Charles Box, often acted like Republicans—at least in terms of their unabashed support for developers and development.  (Our current mayor, Doug Scott, has more traditional Democratic concerns, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  For instance, he seems more focused on Rockford’s struggling downtown than on her “thriving” East State Street corridor of big-box stores and chain restaurants.)

Nor am I referring to Rockfordians voting for Democratic candidates for state office, a phenomenon that had more to do, in this election, with current Republican Governor George Ryan’s complete betrayal of his constituency than with party identity.  In an election dominated by the Republican Party nationwide, the states of the Upper Midwest—particularly Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin—have returned to Democratic control, and national Republican strategists...

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