Identity Politics Already Mars the Race for Ira’s Seat

The first candidate to announce he’ll run against Ira Silverstein for the 8th District Senate seat couldn’t wait to also announce that he’s running as an Asian-American “…to bring more diversity .” He added that the district has “the highest concentration of Asian-Americans in the state.”  He says he wants to be “a progressive voice,” but then claims the ethnic-pride vote. Some progress.

This is a bad start to a long race.  The primary is only four months away (March), and then it will be a very long eight months until the November 2018 election. Let’s not forget that the Republicans have a chance in this district, too.

Ram Villivalam  may talk about Illinois needing a “new generation”  of politicians but youth won’t matter if they practice the same old politics. Diversity is meaningless if the end game remains the same. Political consultants have so divided this country into competing special interest groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, and grievance that we’ve lost sight of and interest in the common good.

The religious candidates have yet to weigh in, but they’ll no doubt be announcing soon, too. Then there are representatives of all the other ethnic groups in the district. Not everybody will have the money to support a campaign, and the big bucks go to the early candidates. If he’s already announced, you can bet he’s got the backing. And it took only a week.

He’s never held office before.. Perhaps Mr. Villivalam should consider testing his appeal in a more diverse district, where his ideas might count for more than his ethnicity.

Identity politics should have no place in this race. Illinois has enough problems..

3 thoughts on “Identity Politics Already Mars the Race for Ira’s Seat

  1. From Natasha Korecki’s Illinois Playbook at Politico: ” The 8th district has the highest concentration of Asian Americans in the state of Illinois. As an Asian American, it’s time we elect the first Asian American state senator.”

    That kind of appeal to ethnic solidarity is a key reason why the 8th Senatorial District has been such a laggard, and why its representation in the General Assembly senate has been so lackluster. Sen. Silverstein has faced little or no opposition since he took over in 1999, and his predecessor, Howie Carroll, owned the senate seat since 1973. That’s 44 years of one-party representation backed by ethnic and religious solidarity.

    Now we’re being asked to elect a different candidate because of HIS ethnic background?


    • I absolutely agree. The focus should be on electing the best candidate for the entire district, not for the majority ethnic or religious group. There was a pro-Vallivalam post on Facebook that I saw this morning saying it’s time we elect “our own representatives.” Shouldn’t “our own” include everybody?


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