Turn on any TV in Illinois and you’ll see ads from a slew of candidates for state attorney general who are vowing to battle a notorious tyrant, a racist fear-monger whom they view as a threat to democracy itself.
They’re talking about Donald Trump.
In the state’s first primary election of the Trump era, the president has turned the race to be Illinois’ top lawyer upside down, with the traditional focus on consumer protection, law enforcement and legislation taking a backseat to promises to fight tooth-and-nail against Trump.
The eight Democrats running for the party nomination in this solidly Democratic state have tapped Trump as the boogeyman in campaign material, debates and TV ads, promising to serve as the tip of the spear in a war against the White House.
“Sharon Fairley’s been taking on bullies and bigots her whole life,” says a narrator in one typical ad featuring Trump’s photo, “so she’ll stand up to Trump’s attacks on women, immigrants and people of color.”
In laying out his own case for the job, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti — who doubles as a cable news pundit on the subject of Trump — has framed his candidacy as a way to “stop Donald Trump in his tracks.”
“When he tries to undermine our health care or roll back environmental standards, my answer as attorney general will be: ‘See you in court, Mr. President,” Mariotti said in a video launching his bid. “If you’re angry as I am about a president who is disgracing our nation, please join our campaign for attorney general.”