It pays to be a bit opportunistic in politics, a view that Gov. Pat Quinn clearly shares after his quick condemning of the recent Supreme Court ruling, in which it was decided that corporations could deny covering contraceptives based on religious beliefs.
Quinn is not alone in using the ruling as a platform, as several democrats have begun using the controversial decision as ammunition against their Republican counterparts.
In truth, the reactions on both sides have been a bit extreme, though the political repercussions are very real.
Democrats and liberals alike have essentially labeled the decision the latest entry in a Republican crusade against women. While such a reaction is perhaps easy to understand, that is likely not the case. Likewise, Republicans have been dancing in the streets and see the decision as the precursor to the end of Obamacare. Again, not likely either.
Indeed, while the case is frustrating on a moral level, it is not the end of contraceptives for women that some have concluded. Women denied contraceptives from their employer will still be able to obtain them for free through an alternative route provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Fortunately, that won’t be necessary for most as there are not many corporations expected to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Of course, that does not excuse the decision. Health care is a form of compensation, just like wages. To dictate how an employee uses that compensation, especially in this case in which it negatively affects numerous women, is wrong.
Besides, the decision also supports the many misunderstandings surrounding contraceptives, and completely ignores the health benefits to them as well.
Also disturbing is how the decision represents yet another case in which corporations are continuously given more power by the government.
Now it seems that the individuals behind a corporation can dictate their personal beliefs while simultaneously being shielded from personal liability under the banner of their corporation. Corporate owners have essentially learned that they can choose when they want to be treated as an individual or a corporation and they are starting to exploit that.
All these implications aside, perhaps the most significant impact this Supreme Court decision will have is on elections across the country, especially the upcoming governor race in Illinois. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Republicans who are celebrating this ruling to soon be regretting it.
It is no secret that President Obama’s approval ratings are record lows, spelling what could be a huge November for Republicans. However, Republican support over the Supreme Court’s ruling will likely fuel the growing disconnect between women voters and the GOP. Throw in an pre-existing lack of minority support, and it is possible that many elections will be closer than what was initially predicted.
For that reason, the Illinois governor race just got much more intriguing. Quinn has already made it clear where his stance is and it will be interesting to see just what Rauner does in response.
Does he try to sway women voters by condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling or does he stick by his party? It may not be enough to stay neutral on what will likely be a critical issue this fall, given that many women already feel alienated from the Republican Party.
Ultimately, the fallout of the Supreme Courts ruling with Hobby Lobby will likely have the most impact on elections.
While there are certainly several misgivings and conversations surrounding the issue, it is not to the extremes that some may believe.
It is very possible though that this ruling could have a significant effect on just who gets elected governor of Illinois.
Nick Ulferts is a senior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.