Durbin: Campaign is for the birds

Durbin: Campaign is for the birds

URBANA — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he's concerned about the direction of the United States because of the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump.

In Champaign-Urbana for a series of events Monday, the 19-year Democratic senator from Springfield said the 2016 campaign has "broken down all of the basic guideposts for what's allowable in campaigns, what's permissible.

"What Trump has done recently, perhaps worse than anything else he said, is the suggestion that he would put (Hillary Clinton) in jail and that it's a rigged election. Those two things, in the view of the rest of the world, are such a dramatic departure from what America has stood for. Putting your opponent in jail is commonplace in dictatorships."

He noted that Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, is considered the last dictator in Europe.

"After he was elected with 98 percent of the vote, he had all 12 of his opponents arrested and placed in jail," Durbin said. "I spent years raising hell with him and he ended up releasing them. But that's what a dictator does.

"And this notion of rigged elections, that comes through in every fledging democracy that tries an election and then the loser says that it was stolen. That's what he is doing.

"I don't think we can put this back in the bottle when it's over," Durbin said of the presidential campaign. "What it's done is not only given license to these people who support him and have extreme views, but it is also in their heart of hearts what they always knew."

The campaign has created a political atmosphere that he said he has not seen in his 40 years in electoral politics.

"I drive a beat-up old Ford pickup truck around Springfield. It has my bumper sticker on it and (President) Obama's bumper sticker," Durbin recounted. "I'm driving around the other day and I'm looking back in the mirror and I'm thinking, 'This guy is going to get in a wreck. He's driving like crazy.' Then he gets close enough to me where he rolls down his window and gives me the finger and shouts.

"I'm thinking that I've been doing this a long time and I've never had that before. I just sense that there is a coarseness and an anger that is invading politics. I don't know we get beyond it. I don't know how the Republicans get beyond it or the country gets beyond it. I believe Hillary will win, but she has to figure out a way to govern. They haven't left much ground to be called common."

Durbin said he believes Democrats have a better than 50-50 chance of regaining control of the Senate after the election, but that the polling isn't convincing.

"Even if Hillary is pulling away in a state we don't see in some of these (Senate) races. The obvious question is who will vote?" Durbin said.

In some ways, he said, this is like the landslide Goldwater election of 1964. In that race, the Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, Charles Percy, declined to say if he would vote for Barry Goldwater. The current governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, hasn't said whether he would vote for Trump.

"So now we're going through a similar thing this year," Durbin said. "What happened that year was the bottom dropped out on the Republican vote. We started electing Democrats everywhere. It didn't last long. So the question is: Will the Republicans, if they don't want to vote for Trump, vote? Nobody knows the answer."

Durbin also said he is not interested in challenging Rauner in 2018.

"I'm where I want to be. In the Senate is where I want to be. I have no ambitions to run for any other office," he said.

Sections (2):News, Local
Tags (1):Election 2016

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787 wrote on October 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

Dick... maybe it is because you are as divisive as anyone out there right now.  You and Harry Reid are at the top of the pile.

Of course, you don't think that you're the problem at all.   Of course not.  It's called denial, and you've been in it for decades now.

capt80 wrote on October 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

Hey Dick,

I don't suppose it ever occurred to you that the guy who gave you the finger just found out that his ObamaCare premiums will be going up 40 to 50% next year??

Nah, I didn't think so....

Rocky7 wrote on October 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Senator Durbin, with all due respect, you should ask yourelf "What have I, Dick Durbin, done to increase the divisiveness and coarseness in US politics and how can I fix it?"  Perhaps you are part of the problem rather than the solution.

Common Sense wrote on October 18, 2016 at 1:10 pm

What I wanted to say has already been said by others.


Littlle Dick:  People like YOU are the problem. That man's finger expressed the viewpoint of a whole lot of people.

BruckJr wrote on October 18, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Springfield?  Is this doof claiming to be from Springfield?

goldilocks wrote on October 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Every monologue or interview that has originated from Mr. Durbin's mouth has always been feelgood, soft, and completely phony.  His explanations of issues are digustingly twisted to make his constituency seem correct and totally authoritarian.


DogParty wrote on October 19, 2016 at 7:10 am

Project Veritas......James  O'Keefe..... Wikileaks, DICK!!!

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Based on the previous comments, Senator Durbin seems correct in saying that there is little common ground left between the two parties.  What bothers me the most are the hidden items in Congressional Legislation that is needed for the common good.  The Zika Virus funding was held up due to fighting against some of hidden items in the funding.  The Lead Removal in communities has the same problems.

People are people regardless of their political association.  Environmental disasters, diseases, water, and so many other things effect all people.  This Republican versus Democrat madness is nothing more than the Cards versus the Cubs attitude although it seems worse.

Nikita Kruscheav stated in the 1950's that America would destroy itself.  His predication maybe right based on America today.    

STM wrote on October 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

This one-sided comment section sounds like a right-wing lemon party

Liz wrote on October 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Well lets hear your comments STM. 

Liz wrote on October 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm

We live in the State of Illinois that is broke and corrupt.  The Democratic party has been in charge for way too long.  How about Madigan?  Dick Durbin, you are the party that created this mess we are in and now you want to blame someone else.  The American people are sick and tired of the lies  that politicians vomit out of their mouths just to keep their power.  It is not all just the democrats, the republicans recoil anytime they are challenged.  That is why so many have backed Donald Trump, he has no fingure prints on the mess we have, he is just a private citizen.   When our media has the power to help pick our next president it's  wrong.  Our media is so biased no one hears the truth, I think that is referred to as A State run media, kind of like China, Russia, and most of the middle east.  Our country is far to great to have a bunch of left wing, selfish, arrogant, idiotic democratic party screw us over any more.  Oh and healthcare, its a joke, my premiums have done nothing but go up in price since the obummer law was put into place.  So Mr. Durbin, you deserve much more than someone giving you the fingure.  Karma will eventually get you what you truly deserve and that is not keeping your job.  Maybe it's time for you and all the other career politicians that only think of themselves, to get back into the real world.   Since you all voted for obummer care you should be forced to use that as an employee of the government and pay the premiums, not the tax payers.  For a party that is supposed to be the party for the poor, what about Chicago and Detroit, what have you done for the poor in those communities.  You ought to be ashamed of yourself. .