Reject the Trump-Rauner agenda on Tuesday

As a high school English teacher, I've taught my students to read carefully, think critically, and write persuasively. They learn that arguments must be based on good evidence, convincingly explained.
 
Governor Bruce Rauner seems to believe this concept doesn't apply to him.
 
While dodging reporters' questions about why he is still one of the few Republican leaders to support Donald Trump after his racist comments and boastful admission of sexual assault, Rauner deflected and said he's focused on governing, an unconvincing claim given Illinois still doesn't have a budget under his watch.
 
"This is the silly season. I don't pay any attention," Rauner crowed.
 
He also stated that he's "not too involved in local races."
 
As any of my freshmen could prove in a few paragraphs, the evidence shows that this is laughably false.
 
The Governor and two billionaire friends have spent nearly $50 million to advance his unpopular political agenda in the state House and Senate. Some of this money has been filtered through various channels to fund GOP candidates or fake newspapers with biased articles mailed directly to voters. This propaganda is currently under state and federal investigation.
 
$50 million. And we're supposed to accept that Rauner is "not too involved in local races"?
 
That's an easy claim to debunk, but the bigger question for Rauner is why not admit to the obvious?
 
Why say you're not invested in politics when you clearly are? What's the real motive of the Governor in the Carhartt Halloween costume?
 
The answer can be found in his own words. Rauner said Scott Walker of Wisconsin was his role model and his primary focus would be limiting the voice of teachers (though he prefers to call us "union bosses.")
 
He later told an editorial board that "crisis creates leverage to change ... and we've got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change." And lo and behold, by tying a variety of irresponsible proposals to budget negotiations, he created that very crisis.
 
Rauner has demonstrated that until he gets his way, he will continue to block funding for low-income students, breast cancer patients, children with autism, and our colleges and universities (resulting in higher tuition and lower enrollment). The list goes on.
 
The good news is that Illinois voters are smarter than Rauner thinks.
 
When the Governor attempted to push so-called "right-to-work" zones through dozens of city councils and county boards, his Turnaround Agenda failed miserably. Recent polling shows low approval ratings for the Governor across the state. And many of his hand-picked candidates aren't gaining the momentum he hoped his money would buy.
 
These Rauner picks - like Sara Jimenez, Avery Bourne, Norine Hammond, and Reggie Phillips - are loyal allies of the Governor. They've repeatedly voted against bills to fund higher education and tuition grants for low-income families, creating economic uncertainty in our communities and for students trying to pursue their college dreams. And, incredibly,they've opposed asking the wealthiest Illinoisans merely to pay their fair share to better fund our schools.
 
As we approach Election Day, I'd ask my fellow citizens to do what my students do every day: think critically. Be skeptical of these Illinois Republicans' empty claims. The evidence shows convincingly that despite what they say, they support the Trump-Rauner agenda and are willing to make life harder for everyday working families.
 
Let's reject this bleak vision as we head to the polls.