Democrat strategist Justin Horwitz said during an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday that the Democrats’ turn on former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who recently declared himself a “Trumpocrat,” will “backfire.”
Horwitz, who is from Illinois, said that many people outside of the state do not realize that Blagojevich was “an incredibly popular governor” and that the Democrats’ opposition to his commutation will “backfire.”
“Sen. Durbin, when Trump initially proposed giving a pardon or commuting Rod’s sentence earlier in the year, he said, yeah, Trump should commute the sentence,” Horwitz said, quoting Durbin, who previously called the sentence “outrageous.”
“What Blagojevich did is what we all know that goes on basically every day on Capitol Hill,” Horwitz said, explaining that the Democrats’ turn on the former governor will backfire due, in part, to the successes he saw during his term.
“What people don’t realize is that in Illinois this is going to backfire on Democrats because Rod Blagojevich is not only an incredibly talented and charismatic speaker, and now he’s going to be campaigning with the Republicans, but what he got done in Illinois,” he explained.
“Seniors and the disabled were riding the bus for free — over 275,000 people. He established the All Kids program, which gave over 400,000 kids health care, making Illinois the first state in the nation to provide affordable and comprehensive health care to all children. We have led the nation in providing preschool access for all three- and four-year-olds with his Preschool for All program. This was a very popular governor who got caught saying things that, frankly, other politicians do all the time, and it was unfortunate to see all the Democrats who were calling for the commutation of his sentence to immediately backtrack after President Trump did it.
While Horwitz, a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), emphasized that he is not a supporter of President Trump, he said it is important for people to “be able to at least acknowledge when he does things that are good.”
“And what he did here was a good thing. Rod deserves to be free,” he said.
“This man is extraordinarily charismatic, and for him to focus his efforts on criminal justice reform and helping the president with that effort could spell a lot of trouble for the Democrats,” he continued.
“And it’s just, you know, Obama would have pardoned Blagojevich, but he was concerned about his legacy and what it would bring up,” he said. “Obama was mingling with a lot of the same people.”
“Anytime anybody comes out to support the president, they’re going to get big pushback from the major networks,” Horwitz said of the backlash against Blagojevich. “And, again, I’m not a supporter of the president, but it’s kind of hard to blame Blagojevich for jumping on the train of the guy who let him out of prison.”
Horwitz added that “Republicans are making a strong play” at criminal justice reform, which could end up being a “real problem” for Democrats. Trump, he believes, is making a “very successful” play at courting minority voters this election cycle.