Adventures in Trumpism and Local Politics

Note: This article includes language and images taken from social media posts that may offend some readers, particularly those who have common sense.

Local elections typically aren’t the place for partisan ugliness. After all, the candidates on the ballot are people who live in our neighborhoods and whose kids go to school with ours.

But in 2021, local Republicans are working straight from the MAGA playbook, using lies, misdirection, and even some racist fearmongering to fire up the conservative base. The question is, will it work?

“Our full support”

What makes us say local Republicans are still riding the Trump bandwagon? They’ve said it themselves.

On January 23—a few days after Joe Biden took office—the Dundee Township Republicans declared their full support for Trump, apparently not bothered by the fact that he’d incited an attack on the US Capitol aimed at overthrowing our democracy.

A quick look at the group’s Facebook page reveals a steady stream of similar pro-Trump posts, including (as recently as mid-March) continued support for Trump’s election fraud claims. There’s also plenty of ranting against Adam Kinzinger and other Republicans who dared stand up to their beloved leader, and even some posts that show a QAnon influence:

An “independent” Trumpist

Lately, the main recipient of the Dundee Republicans’ support, other than Donald Trump, has been Arin Thrower, who’s running for township supervisor, though (for unclear reasons) as an independent rather than a Republican.

Thrower’s campaign demonstrates that (a) she does not understand the job of township supervisor, (b) she’s trying to confuse voters about it, or (c) all of the above. She’s fixated on accusing current Supervisor Trish Glees of raising taxes, even though voters—not elected officials—are the only ones who can change a township tax levy.

Thrower has also pledged to cut Township services, even those that don’t rely on tax revenue. It doesn’t make sense, unless you consider that Thrower already has a full time job with Lake County and apparently isn’t planning to leave it. But by cutting staff and services, she could reduce her township side hustle to part time, and get paid for sabotaging the services she was supposed to administer.

Another interesting tidbit from the Thrower campaign: if elected Township Supervisor, she’s going to repeal Illinois’ new bail reform law:

Setting aside the fact that bail reform is an important step toward social justice, it has literally zero to do with township government. Thrower’s mention of it might actually be funny, if it weren’t an obvious attempt to confuse voters and play on the racist fears other reform opponents have worked to create.

Taking aim at the school board

Township elections aren’t the Republicans’ only focus. School board races, even though they’re technically nonpartisan (meaning candidates aren’t associated with political parties on the ballot) have become intensely political this year. 

Republicans are backing a slate of three candidates for the Community Unit School District 300 board, hoping to win votes by appealing to anti-mask, pandemic-denial sentiment among the Republican base. 

We’ve seen enough of that already, and with any luck, the pandemic will be mostly in the past when the next school year begins. So rather than draw attention to the tired messaging on that issue, we’ll close by highlighting a (formerly) public tweet from one of the Republican-backed D300 candidates that truly speaks for itself…

Yes, these are the people the Republican Party wants to put in positions of public trust in 2021. If you want your schools, villages, and township services in more trustworthy hands, there’s exactly one thing you can do about it: