Darren Bailey Should Not Be Governor

Bailey’s politics and past statements make him a horrible choice for Illinois

Darren Bailey smiling against a brick building. | Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The race for the governorship is in full swing, and the candidates, current Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Darren Bailey, are now readying to make their case to the people of Illinois. But with the new race, it is increasingly evident that Darren Bailey is not fit to serve in government. Throughout his time in politics and government, Bailey has proven himself entirely inadequate and irresponsible when in power. Through his rhetoric and prejudiced beliefs, Darren Bailey has weaponized the fires of hatred and ignorance within the public sphere.

Right off the bat, we must acknowledge the severity of Bailey’s beliefs on abortion. According to Pew Research Center, abortion rights have risen to the highest since 1995, with 61% of Americans supporting a woman’s right to choose whether or not to get an abortion in “all or most cases.” Despite that, Darren Baily is an avid opponent of abortion and advocates for a near-total ban on abortion, with only the mother’s life being an acceptable justification for a woman getting an abortion. That position alone makes Bailey’s candidacy radically opposed to the needs of women in Illinois.

Views on Abortion, 1995–2022. Source: Pew Research Center

Nor are his comments just talk. During his time in the Illinois House, he opposed the Reproductive Health Act and readily voted against it. The act, which was created in response to the death of Roe v. Wade, would repeal anti-abortion legislation that was on the books but remained inactive thanks to the late Roe ruling and required private insurance companies to support abortion access.

Bailey’s anti-abortion advocacy has also played into his antisemitic and far-right politics. Reporters uncovered a video of Bailey during his election campaign for the House in which he argued that abortion is worse than the holocaust. In the said video, Bailey said:

“I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day, and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever…The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life lost with abortion since its legalization.” Those remarks inevitably caused a backlash against him with the Anti-Defamation League, with the organization’s Midwest director, David Goldenberg, calling him out for the remarks, saying they were “shameful” and “unacceptable” and warning that the remarks do “an incredible disservice to the millions of Jews and others who were killed at the hands of the Nazis.”

-Darren Bailey, 2017

Governor Pritzker, a Jewish man himself, was even blunter. Through his campaign press secretary, Eliza Glezer, Pritzker’s campaign denounced the statements, saying, “Darren Bailey’s disgusting assertion that a woman determining her own reproductive future is worse than the Nazis’ genocide of six million Jews is offensive to Illinoisans everywhere…With violent antisemitism on the rise and in the wake of a massacre against the predominately Jewish Highland Park, Bailey must answer for his hateful comments.” According to Pew Research Center, it is especially horrific to make those comments when considering that American Jewish people generally support reproductive rights.

Jewish Opinion on abortion. Source: Pew Research Center

It is worth noting that Bailey may not have intended to have those views come off as antisemitism. He released a statement suggesting that it was merely about the life of the unborn — but at the same time, he never apologized for his statements. Whatever his intentions, the result of his ignorant statements is the abuse of the memory of all those who lost their lives in that horrid genocide.

Nor is that the first time Bailey made horrid and prejudicial comments about groups that don’t conform to his norms. Unearthed comments reported by the Daily Herald and Crain’s Chicago Business show that Bailey referred to Islam as “not a religion of peace,” a long-abused talking point by anti-Muslim zealots on the right. Moreover, he referred to a CPS decision to allow trans kids to go to the bathroom according to their gender identity as “sickness.”

While this article may seem like a rap sheet of all of this candidate’s worst takes, it is important to remember that Bailey is running for the highest executive office in the state. His policy statements, whether official or otherwise, reflect what his administration would be like if it were not for the Democratic control of the legislature. I could go on and on about his comments on Chicago and how he keeps calling it a hellhole, exposing a whole other facet of prejudice to deal with, but that is an issue for another article. If Illinois is to have a functioning government, it must avoid sending a far-right politico to the governor’s mansion. The people of Illinois should send Bailey packing.

Originally published September 26th, 2022, at https://uisobserver.com.


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