Frequent readers of The Alestle will know that my personal political views definitely lean to the left. Some also may know I study political science. I have found that sometimes, the most agreeable opinions start as jokes. 

While doomscrolling on Twitter like usual, I came across the account Socialists for Pritzker. The account had started as something simple: a joke account. J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, is a billionaire thanks to his family’s money in the hotel industry. The idea of socialists supporting someone like that is absurd.

But as I saw more of the account and as I started to think more critically about Pritzker’s possibilities as a presidential candidate, I saw some professional journalists were thinking the same thing, like David Weigel of the Washington Post. It caused me to look back at Pritzker’s (short, for now) history as governor of Illinois.

In his first year as governor, he legalized recreational marijuana and, just as importantly, expunged 70,000 criminal records of non-violent marijuana-related offenses. But the most important part of that decision, in my opinion, was the Restore, Reinvest and Renew grant program, which is meant to help start dispensaries in what Pritzker called “communities most disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.” Pritzker also laid out legislation in his first year to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 per hour. He did all of this and made sure it all continued during the COVID-19 pandemic’s start, which began in the U.S. in Chicago.

Around this time, I realized if Pritzker was to actually run for president against the incumbent President Joe Biden, I would fully support Pritzker. According to some news outlets, I’m not alone in my distaste for Biden. Some people, even members of the Democratic party, are wanting a different candidate to back in 2024. However, there are some realities that need to be faced.

Illinois did legalize marijuana under Pritzker as governor, but it was not all his doing. The state legalized it and expunged the records through a bill passed through the state congress. Pritzker did make the decision to sign it into action as soon as he could, but giving him full credit for it is not entirely accurate. There is a concern that if Pritzker were to become the president, he would be stuck behind the U.S. Congress, which has famously not been doing much.

But there are some hopeful truths to push us into the 2024 Presidential Election. First, many Democrats have expressed a desire for a different candidate than Biden. Second, even if Pritzker himself was not fully responsible for the more progressive legislation in Illinois, he still has openly supported and backed a lot of progressive causes. A great example of this is how quickly he pushed Illinois to protect reproductive rights and the right to abortions following the infamous recent Supreme Court decision.

When President Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election against Donald Trump, many Americans breathed a sigh of relief. But just because Biden is no Trump does not make him a perfect president. If you are like me and want something more progressive than another four years of Biden, then in 2024, vote for Pritzker. After all, according to a recent quote from Pritzker, the dream may become a reality.

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